Scholarship Recipients

Brandon Hennessey – 2014/2015 Recipient

Major: Mechanical Engineering, B.S.
Minor: Software Engineering
Parent Line of Duty Death: Greg Hennessey, Engineer – Orange County Fire Authority
Final Alarm: 1/20/14
Brandon was already attending college toward a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering when he received the news of the loss of his father in early 2014.

He continues to be a committed student through it all, having achieved the Dean’s List each quarter since his enrollment in September of 2012. In addition to his academics, Brandon also participates in the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Drama Club on campus.

Brandon is an Eagle Scout and volunteered at The Children’s Theatre near his home. He is researching an internship this summer in his field of interest and is looking forward to using his education to solve real-world problems.

Alexander Youngstrom – 2013/2014/2015 Recipient

Proposed Major: Biblical Studies
Parent Line of Duty Death: Kenyon Youngstrom, Officer – CHP
End of Watch: 9/5/12
Alex comes from a large, close-knit family and experienced the sudden loss of his father as a painful shock that affected him, his mother and siblings with equal pain. Officer Kenyon Youngstrom’s death was felt throughout the entire bay area with anger and disbelief towards this unexpected and senseless loss. A simple traffic stop turned into a terrible nightmare for the officer, his partner, family and community alike.

In the aftermath, Alex has been able to forge ahead. With a background in extracurricular activities like being the President of Rodriguez Speech and Debate Team and Captain of the Speech Team, Alex plans to achieve a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from the Master’s College in Southern California. His life-goal is to become a pastor or seminary teacher.

Austin Van Wormer – 2013/2014 Recipient

Double Major: Physics and Computer Science
Parent Line of Duty Death: Rob Van Wormer, Battalion Chief – Cal Fire
Final Alarm: 10/27/12
Though Austin only recently suffered the loss of his father, a Battalion Chief with Cal Fire, he has committed himself to continuing his education and furthering his goals academically. To underscore this point, he won the Mathematics & Verbal Talent Award from Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. He currently attends Columbia College with a mission of transferring to the University of California at Irvine.

Austin has been a model of community service, participating in the Tuolumne County Leadership program, working over 500 hours of volunteer service at the Sonora Regional Medical Center and winning Silver and Gold service awards from Presidents’ Bush and Obama for ‘Service & Civic Participation.’ His aspirations are commendable and we wish him the best of luck.

Dalton Van Wormer – 2016 Recipient

Proposed Major: Undeclared
Parent Line of Duty Death: Rob Van Wormer, Battalion Chief – Cal Fire
Final Alarm: 10/27/12
Since suffering the loss of his father, a Battalion Chief with Cal Fire, in 2012, Dalton was able to persevere in finishing his high school education. He is currently working for a commercial plumbing company and starting community college in the Fall of 2016.

Though he has not yet declared a major, he wants to focus on completing his general education requirements before starting on bachelor’s program.

Dalton enjoys photography, dirt bikes and his Ford pickup truck. His older brother, Austin, was also a Fallen Heroes scholarship recipient back in 2014. We wish them both the best in their future careers.

Robert Hopman – 2013/2014 Recipient

Proposed Major: Fire Ecology & Management
Parent Line of Duty Death: William Hopman, Captain – Quincy Vol. Fire Dept.
Final Alarm: 1/11/11
The only son of a widowed mother, Robert Hopman was an active member of his high school and community, alike. He was proprietor of the ‘code blue team’ of his high school, which is designated to be first responders to any medical crisis on campus. Robert’s career ‘plan of action’ is to participate in ROTC while attending the University of Idaho and, upon graduation, go on to be an Officer in the U.S. Marines for the next 8 years. He will then focus on a career in firefighting, having majored in Fire Ecology & Management in college.

Robert’s mother not only lost her husband to a sudden line of duty death, but is also suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, diagnosed when she was 20. Through her steady decline in health and mobility since his father’s death, Robert has been tasked with not only being her caregiver, but shaping himself into the intelligent, committed and honor role student that he’s become. He states, in his own words, “I ask for this scholarship, knowing the needs of many others out there…that you may choose wisely and appropriate efficiently.”

Melissa Oliver – 2015/2016 Recipient

Major: Criminal Justice
Minor: Psychology
Parent Line of Duty Death: Danny Oliver, Sheriff’s Deputy – Sacramento County
End of Watch: 10/24/14
Melissa’s life goals took a considerable turn when her father was shot and killed during a suspicious vehicle investigation in 2014. She had a prior start with college in 2009 and, following the loss of her father, made the decision to return to school.

She is now committed to following in her father’s footsteps by completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and, continuing on to becoming a police officer. In Melissa’s own words regarding her father, “He helped families feel safer in the community… and I want to continue his legacy by ensuring that change and protection to communities is upheld.”

We thank you, Melissa, for your commitment to serve your community and wish you the best in this new start toward your future goals.

Brandon Robinson – 2016 Recipient

Proposed Major: Business
Parent Line of Duty Death: Steven Robinson, Pilot – Los Angeles Fire Dept.
Final Alarm: 8/9/15
In the summer of 2015, Brandon woke to discover his father’s lifeless body in their home. He had passed away due to complications from a previous injury in the line of duty. Every since then, Brandon vowed to finish strong in school and continue to college.

He feels that this scholarship is a way for him to continue with what he had promised his father. His dad used to show him how the stock market works and said one day “You like computers and numbers…why don’t you get an economics, marketing, and business degree and then get your license as a stockbroker?” To this day, Brandon has taken this path to heart. “Being a stockbroker for me not only is a very real dream for myself…but also a way to educate myself and put to work what my father has left me.”

His plan is to first attend Moorpark Junior College, then transfer to a four year university after refining his career path further. Good luck, Brandon, and we hope you succeed in your chosen profession.

Ashton Lunger – 2016 Recipient

Major: Community Health/Public Health
Parent Line of Duty Death: Scott Lunger, Sergeant – Hayward Police
End of Watch: 7/22/15
When Ashton was hit by the sudden loss of her father in that fatal shooting in July of 2015, she lost her best friend and ‘go-to person’ for the stress and hardships life can hand to a person. She never imagined a life without him.

She began a ‘Special Grad Program’ at the University of Nevada in the Fall of 2016. Very conscientious of the cost and difficulty this can put on her mother, Ashton is seeking out scholarships to help ease this burden. “I want to prove that my dad and I had a plan that I am going to stick to.” Ashton hopes to transfer to a master’s program in California where she will finish her MBA.

She looks forward to finish her dream education and making her father and mother proud.

Saralyn Lunger – 2016 Recipient

Proposed Major: Communications
Parent Line of Duty Death: Scott Lunger, Sergeant – Hayward Police
End of Watch: 7/22/15
When her father was shot during a traffic stop less than a year ago, Saralyn, her older sister Ashton and her mother were struck by the grief of that sudden loss. In addition to dealing with that pain, some financial realities also became apparent.

Saralyn continues to attend U.C. Santa Barbara, though she worries about the financial hardship to her mother. She is interested in pursuing a career with the police department because she was impressed and inspired by the work that her father did. “In a time where there is negativity associated with the career that my father gave his life for, I hope that I can pursue a career in Public Relations and use it to help shed light on the real men and women behind the badge… bridging the gap in community and police relations.”

Thank you, Saralyn, and we wish you and your family all the best.