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Celebrating 70 Years of Service

News & Updates

Gulf Winds Cares Foundation Provides $25,000 in Scholarship Funding

May 24, 2024

The Gulf Winds CARES Foundation awarded $25,000 in scholarships this year to five outstanding students: Kenna Alverson, Edward Bridges, Garrett Hogan, William Kroger, and John Pinette. Each student received $5,000 to continue pursuing their dreams and passions.

Gulf Winds received 66 applications for the Scholarship Program, designed to support students with their higher education goals. Eligible applicants are members of Gulf Winds Credit Union or are the children or grandchildren of members. Applications are reviewed by a committee consisting of Credit Union employees that evaluate each applicant’s academic achievements, community involvement, personal essay, letters of recommendation and financial need.

New this Year: Trade School Scholarship

This year, the Foundation introduced a new scholarship reserved for a student pursuing a trade career. This scholarship is dedicated to the memorial of Rex Burt. Burt, the Facilities Manager for Gulf Winds for more than 17 years, set the standard and always was ready to lend a helping hand. Gulf Winds honors his legacy by telling his story through the scholarship established to provide financial assistance to students pursuing a trade school education.

Our Impact

Since 2007, Gulf Winds has proudly granted $272,500 in scholarships to 70 students pursuing higher education.


Meet the 2024 Scholarship Recipients

Garrett Hogan

Garrett, from Crawfordville, Florida, is a high school senior set to attend Northwest Lineman College backed by the Rex Burt Trade School Scholarship. With accolades for his positive attitude and a dedication to volunteering with organizations like Ability First and Second Harvest, Garrett is already making a difference. 

Inspired by his father, a veteran in the power industry, Garrett aims to follow him as a lineman. Garrett is motivated by the opportunity to serve his community, especially during Florida’s unpredictable weather, and looks forward to making a tangible impact through infrastructure development. Outside of his academic pursuits, he enjoys staying active through workouts, sports, and fishing.

Edward Bridges

Edward, from Brewton, Alabama, attended T.R. Miller High School while dual enrolled at Coastal Alabama Community College and had remarkable success. A true polymath, he excelled in academics, sports, and community service. His commitment extended to clubs including the Spanish Club and National Honor Society, where he served as treasurer. Awards like the Swim Sportsmanship Award and AP Biology Personal Achievement Award recognized his dedication. 

Driven through the personal experience of being hurt in a car accident, Edward found his passion for biomedical engineering during physical therapy. Heading to Auburn University this Fall, Edward aims to innovate prosthetic technology with a vision to bring these advancements back to his hometown.

Kenna Alverson

Kenna, a proud native of Atmore, Alabama, stands on the brink of graduation from Flomaton High School and Coastal Alabama Community College. As class President, she has shown dedication to her school and community through activities like the BETA Club and Leo Club. Recognized as a 4-year Academic All-Star, she also represented Flomaton on the Southern Pine Youth Tour. 

Despite initially doubting herself to pursue a career in the medical field, Kenna was inspired by her mother's resilience and support which has led her to pursue a degree in the medical field as a pediatric radiologist at the University of Alabama. Moreover, Kenna’s goal is to create a nurturing environment in hospitals, making a tangible difference in children’s lives.

“I want to work each day in hopes of having an impact on the kids around me.”

William Koger

William Koger, a resident of Pace, Florida, is on the cusp of graduating from Pace High School. Driven by a yearning for knowledge, Koger embarked on a dual enrollment journey with Pensacola State College and subsequently the University of West Florida. Known for his dedication to community and school, he has served as a peer tutor and excelled in the band, earning Pace’s Concert Band Highest Honors. Active in clubs like BETA and Biotech, he also loves cooking Italian food, inspired by Anthony Bourdain.

Now, William’s focus shifts to biomedical engineering at the University of Florida, driven by a passion to revolutionize healthcare. His goal is to develop personalized solutions to enhance patient care globally, leaving a lasting impact on healthcare through innovation and research.

John Pinette

John Pinette, the Micah Williams Memorial Scholarship recipient, is from Pensacola, Florida, and now resides in Central Florida, to pursue a Kinesiology Degree at the University of Central Florida (UCF). With a passion for fitness, he’s immersed himself in personal training and coaching. At UCF, he’s active in the Baseball and Golf Clubs and participates in research in the exercise physiology, intervention, and collaboration (EPIC) lab and the Musculoskeletal Laboratories. Pinette’s academic prowess is evident with consistent recognition on the UCF President’s Honor Roll and a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Reflecting on his career trajectory, Pinette acknowledges that physical therapy initially was not his obvious choice. However, his perspective shifted when he began coaching CrossFit at his local gym and witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of movement on individuals’ lives.