MOACC Awards First Lt. Col. Sylvester Merritt Scholarship

By  //  August 15, 2014

Military Officers Association of America

Ryan Garwood, left, received the first named Sylvester Merritt MOACC scholarship from Mrs. Cozette Merritt. Looking on at right is Ernie Joy of the Military Officers Association of America, Cape Canaveral Chapter. (Image for

BREVARD COUNTY • PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – The 31st annual Military Officers Association of America Cape Canaveral Chapter (MOACC) Scholarship awards luncheon was recently held at The Tides at Patrick Air Force Base.

Lt. Col. Sylvester Merritt
Lt. Col. Sylvester Merritt

The honor of having this first permanent scholarship named in one’s honor posthumously went to Lt. Col. Sylvester Merritt, U.S. Army Ret., who passed away this April while serving as Chairman of the MOAACC Scholarship Corporation.

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Scholarship Fund was established in 1948 to provide educational assistance for children of military families. It is based on one of the association’s founding principles that “education is the cornerstone of a strong democracy.”

It is supported by donations and bequests from MOAA members, chapters, corporations, and others.

In 1984 the first MOAACC Scholarship was presented for $1,000. Since then, thanks to the vision and leadership of MG Maury Kendell, BG’s William Hall and Gordon Masterson, Col. Robert Kronebusch, Col. Erwin Hamm, Lt. Col. Les Merritt, Mrs. Roslyn Bates and many others, along with thousands of member donations effective to date this chapter has presented 212 college scholarships worth $532,000.

MOAA_seal-180Traditionally, donors who contribute large sums are recognized in one of two ways. For single donations of $10,000 or more, a permanent named scholarship is established and presented annually.

For single donations of $1,000 or more, a single distinguished donor scholarship is presented in the name of the donor at the next awards luncheon.

This year we are most fortunate to present two new permanent named scholarships and eight distinguished donor scholarships.

Military Officers Association Cape Canaveral Chapter Committed To CharityRelated Story:
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Beginning this year, the first of a new class of permanent named scholarships was established with the spontaneous and incredibly generous donations of many individuals including one by the Chapter in memory of a member who made enormous contributions to the scholarship program and to the Chapter.


In June within days of his 95th birthday, longtime member Lt. Col. Bob Clark USAF Ret. established a permanent named scholarship in his family’s honor. Clark has supported the scholarship program since it’s inception, having served on the first selection committee.

Ten individual scholarships of $3,000 each were awarded to extraordinary students selected from a very competitive group of applicants. Each is determined to fulfill her or his educational dreams and become a leader in their chosen field.


• Brett Alcorn: Mechanical Engineering – Villanova
• Shelby Davidson: Journalism – University of Florida
• Ryan Garwood: Political Science – Florida State University
• Lt. Christopher Gostel: Masters of Business – University of North Carolina
• Chad Harris: Biochemistry – University of North Florida
• Kathleen Hayes: Nursing- University of Central Florida
• Michael Justice: Supply Management – Old Dominion University
• Cassandra Mall: Physical Education – University of Florida
• Cassidy Peterson: Management – Florida Gulf Coast University
• Joanna Reeg: Animal Sciences – University of Florida

BELOW VIDEO: With more than 1,400 members, the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America is the largest – and the most active – of 400 similar chapters nationwide.