Memorial scholarship honors Senior Master Sgt. Texie C. Taylor, USAF
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Foundation has added yet another scholarship opportunity benefiting Cherokee students through a newly established endowment created by Kerry and Deborah Bowers, of Henderson, Nevada.
The endowment was created through CNF’s “Leave a Legacy” matching program to honor the late Senior Master Sgt. Texie C. Taylor and her service with the United States Air Force.
Taylor enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1967, when she joined the distinguished ranks of the WAF (Women in the Air Force). She was assigned to the 631st Combat Support Squadron at Don Muang, Royal Thailand Air Force Base and was publicly heralded as the first WAF assigned to Thailand during the Vietnam War.
Her long and distinguished military career includes service with the Air Force Reserve and the Federal Civil Service. In addition to her extensive military training, she also completed two Associate of Arts degrees and two Associate of Applied Science degrees.
“I first met Texie over 35 years ago when we were both working with the U.S. Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada,” said Kerry Bowers. “It was there that she first revealed to me her affection for America’s Native peoples, and, as I would learn later, she often shared the blessings of her labors with various American Indian educational organizations throughout the United States.”
Taylor retired honorably from the Air Force in 2000 after a combined 27 years of both active duty and reserve service.
Included among her distinguished military awards are the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device, the Good Conduct Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Following her death in September 2017, Taylor was buried with full military honors at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.
“About 10 years ago, Texie confided in me her concerns for the disposition of her estate upon her passing, especially since she had no descendants. Recalling her great love for our nation’s Native people, I recommended this memorial scholarship supporting Cherokee youth, and she was absolutely thrilled,” said Kerry Bowers. “My wife, Deb, and I are extremely honored to be a part of continuing Texie’s legacy of endearing love and support to Native youth.”
The endowment will support one scholarship each year to a junior or senior undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, nursing, engineering or mathematics. The funds are payable to the college or university of the student’s choice. Applicants must be citizens of the Cherokee Nation.
“This program was created for this exact purpose,” said Janice Randall, executive director of Cherokee Nation Foundation. “Not only are we furthering our ability to help Cherokee youth reach their full potential, but we are also helping family and friends preserve a legacy of someone they love and respect. It’s a way of tying the past to the future, and we are continually thankful for the opportunity to be involved.”
The Cherokee Nation Foundation launched the “Leave a Legacy” matching program in 2016, allocating $100,000 to match gifts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 on a first-come, first-served basis.
In September of 2017, CNF reached its program goal and the board voted unanimously to continue matching qualifying donations beyond the $100,000, as funds allow.
Limited funding remains, and those interested in establishing an endowment are encouraged to contact Janice Randall at (918) 207-0950 or [email protected]