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story.lead_photo.caption Photo submitted Pictured at the scholarship presentation were BVGC Scholarship Committee member Virginia Halman (left), scholarship recipient William Samuels, BVGC Scholarship Committee members Marilyn Russell and Judi Shannon, BVGC president Judy Jeffrey, and scholarship recipient Garrett Toelle.

The Bella Vista Garden Club awarded $4,000 scholarships to two students studying horticulture at the University of Arkansas during their monthly meeting last Wednesday. The meeting was held at the Bella Vista Community Church on Lancashire Blvd. in Bella Vista.

Scholarship recipients were Garrett Toelle and William Tell Samuels. Their mothers, Carolyn Toelle from Lubbock, Texas, and Nellie Myers from West Fork, were in attendance at the meeting when scholarships were awarded to their sons by Marilyn Russell, BVGC scholarship committee member. Also in attendance were Wayne Mackay, University of Arkansas Horticulture Department head and Shannon Mason, recruitment and special projects coordinator.

Mackay spoke to the Garden Club members expressing his appreciation for the club's generosity. The $4,000 scholarships are the largest ever awarded since the Dorothy Wallace Scholarship Program was developed in honor of a past president of the BVGC. The garden club raises money for scholarships through its spring and fall plant sales, annual benefit card party and the bi-annual garden party.

Before introducing the scholarship recipients, Marilyn Russell said the club had always hoped it would find veterans who wanted to set a new course for their lives through the pursuit of a career in the field of horticulture. Through Shannon Mason's assistance, two very deserving veterans were selected to receive these scholarships.

Garrett Toelle served as a corporal in the United States Marine Corps. He completed two tours of duty in Iraq, serving as fire-team leader, squad leader, tool room NCO and equipment driver. He drove thousands of miles in combat zones, hauling equipment valued in the millions of dollars. He was also responsible for the safety of troops. Garrett first became interested in horticulture after watching his mother tending to her garden many hours weekly. He volunteers at Tri Cycle Farms in Fayetteville and will graduate at the end of the fall semester.

William Samuels, at the age of 20, volunteered to deploy to the Taliban-occupied Helmond Province of Afghanistan area with the 806th Engineer Division of the United States Army. His military occupational specialty was as a combat engineer. He traveled the routes used by U.S. forces and allies in an armored vehicle to locate and dispose of improvised explosive devices. He suffered many injuries as a result of the detonation of IEDs. During his recovery period, William discovered the therapeutic benefits of cultivation. He is currently building a greenhouse on his property with the goal of growing organic vegetables and has plans for a free farmers market to benefit veterans and their families. He also hopes to develop a community garden and therapy program for other combat veterans.

General News on 10/10/2018

Print Headline: Bella Vista Garden Club awards scholarships to two veterans

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