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Roelfsemas create scholarships

Published: Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 4:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 10:54 a.m. CDT

OGLESBY — John and Cheryl Roelfsema of Marseilles have established a pair of Illinois Valley Community College Foundation scholarships to memorialize Cheryl’s father and sister.

The Bud Connelly Scholarship will provide $2,000 for tuition and books to a student for the 2017-18 academic year. Connelly, Roelfsema’s father, died in 2010 at age 93.

Before joining the Army, Connelly worked in the lumber camps of northern Minnesota, on harvest crews in North Dakota and in sawmills in eastern Oregon. In World War II, he sustained serious head and leg injuries and earned a purple heart while serving on an anti-tank unit.

Following his discharge in 1945, Connelly returned to Minnesota where he worked in the woods until 1968. He then moved to Oregon and operated B & M Logging from 1974 to 1988.

“My father was a disabled World War II veteran, but that did not stop him from a 50-plus-year career as a timber feller. He was also a farmer and an excellent horseman,” said Roelfsema, IVCC vice president for business services and finance.

A second award, the Sharon O’Brien Scholarship, will provide $1,000 for tuition and books to an IVCC single parent this fall.

O’Brien died in September at age 76 in Eugene, Ore. The top student in her 1958 Williams, Minn., high school class, O’Brien raised two children in Minneapolis before moving to Oregon in 1968.

“My sister worked for 30 years as a business manager in the Oregon public school system,” said Roelfsema. “Though she was valedictorian of her high school class, she never had the opportunity to attend college.”

The deadline to apply for the Connelly and O’Brien awards and all other IVCC Foundation scholarships is Feb. 10. Students are also required to have their FAFSA submitted online by that date. For information, call Donna Swiskoski at 815-224-0551.

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