Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) student Thomas Beck is the first FDTC recipient of the Veteran Scholarships Forever that is available only to service veterans who are taking Continuing Education courses. The scholarship is awarded through the FDTC Educational Foundation.
The North Carolina native has served in the Army and Coast Guard and is taking evening Welding Classes through the College’s Continuing Education Division.
Beck said he’s using his welding certification to restore a classic cars. “I’ve always had a passion for automobiles,” Beck said. “I bought my first car at 15-years old with money I had saved.”
Beck is very proud of his military service saying he comes from a long line of veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War. Beck said, “Every male in my family back to the Revolutionary War has served in the military. Every single male member of my family. We’re a very happy family to serve our country. We’re very proud to be Americans. I myself am proud to be to not only be American but to also be Cherokee Indian.”
Beck said he stumbled upon the scholarship while walking through the college’s 100 Building and spoke to Max Welch, Director, Veterans and Career Services. Mr. Welch is also a veteran who retired as a Command Sergeant Major from the Army.
“I came in one day just to check into the Welding Program and see how much it would cost,” Beck said. “To go to the Registrar’s Office, you have to walk by the Veteran’s Affairs Office. I walked in, and the Command Sergeant Major (Max Welch) asked me about my service. He asked me if I’d be interested, and I stumbled into it, and I’m very happy that I did.”
For more information on the FDTC Educational Foundation, please contact Jill Lewis, Foundation Vice President, at Jill.Lewis@fdtc.edu or 843-661-8003. Max Welch, Director of Veterans and Career Services at FDTC, can be reached by emailing Max.Welch@fdtc.edu or calling 843-661-2706.