Vincent Bennett, Jr.
Vincent Bennett, who passed away suddenly on September 19, 2013, was a Manager for Cisco Systems in Iselin, N.J. for 15 years, and an integral member of First Responders Children’s Foundation’s inaugural Hero Awards Gala Committee. The Gala was near and dear to Vince’s heart as he came from a family of first responders. He was a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association and an associate member of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police. In Vince’s memory, the scholarship named for him will honor one exceptional freshman each year with a four year award.
Vince’s “Rules for Life” were:
- Do the right thing
- Often, less is more
- Don’t advertise – deliver
- Enjoy life to its fullest
- Laugh often
- Be grateful
The Vincent Bennett, Jr. Memorial scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming freshman who is the child of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. This award recognizes financial need, academic achievement, and the candidate must show a strong commitment to service in the community. A declared major is not required, but preference will be given to eligible candidates who are majoring in engineering.
The scholarship is a $20,000 award over a four year period ($5,000 per year). The awardee must maintain all academic eligibility requirements during the four years of the award. The submission deadline is July 1 for the academic year beginning in the Fall.
The applicant must the child of a first responder (biological, adopted, or step-child).
An applicant who is the child of a deceased first responder, must have been conceived prior to the death or total and permanent disability of the eligible first responder.
An applicant who is an adopted child must have been adopted by the eligible first responder prior to, or the adoption process must have begun prior to, the date of the death or total and permanent disability.
An applicant who is a stepchild must have been listed as a dependent on the eligible first responder’s federal and state income tax returns in the income tax years immediately prior to the death or total and permanent disability.
Candidates must be pursuing their first Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree, or Certificate at any accredited college, university or technical/vocational institution in the United States that participates in the federal financial aid programs offered through the U.S. Department of Education.
Candidate must be enrolled as a full-time student during the entire academic year.
Candidate must maintain a 2.7 out of a 4.0 grade point average, or the equivalent as documented by the Office of the Registrar at the academic institution.
Candidate must be making satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of their program as defined and documented by the academic institution.
Candidate must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States attending school in the United States.
Current First Responders Children’s Foundation officers and employees, and members of their immediate families are not eligible to apply.
Disbursement of Funds
Annual awards will be sent directly to the appropriate office of the recipient’s school by way of a check made payable to the school on behalf of the scholarship recipient. The annual award will be distributed in two (2) equal payments – one for the fall semester and one for the spring semester. Disbursement of spring semester payment is contingent upon official verification from the academic institution that the student has maintained the required GPA and is enrolled full-time for the spring semester.
To receive the second award disbursement, it is the scholarship recipient’s responsibility to submit an official academic transcript (or other official verification from the academic institution) no later than January 15th to the First Responders Children’s Foundation offices verifying GPA for the semester just completed as well as official proof of full-time enrollment for the current or upcoming semester. Spring payments cannot be made until such verification has been received by the Foundation.