When Tim Burns was campaigning for a seat on the Hollister City Council, one promise he made and kept was to establish a scholarship for graduating seniors in honor of former councilman Marty Richman, who died in March 2020.
“I had tremendous respect for Marty,” he said. “I thought a memorial scholarship would be an appropriate way to remember and honor him.”
The first four Marty Richman Scholarships were awarded to San Benito High School seniors Magaly de Rio ($600), Angelina Lara ($600), Careyla Acosta ($550) and Daniela Contreras ($500).
Former Hollister Councilman Victor Gomez and Krystal Lomanto, superintendent of education in San Benito County, presented the four scholarships during the Latin American Citizens (LULAC) graduation walk on June 5. Burns spoke at the ceremony.
Burns told BenitoLink after he was elected, he reached out to Richman’s widow, Joyce, for her approval to create the scholarship.
“She approved and I then embarked to create a non-profit for the scholarship so others could donate and receive the benefits of donating,” he said. “I discovered that creating a non-profit was more complicated and costly than I anticipated.”
He learned that the League of LULAC offered scholarships and he contacted San Benito County LULAC founder Mickie Luna. She agreed to administer the scholarship and the Marty Richman Memorial Scholarship was established.
“I made an initial contribution and members in our community contributed, as well,” Burns said. “We were able to provide modest scholarships to four students this year. Next year’s fund will be significantly larger, and I look forward to seeing more students benefit from the scholarship fund.”
“I am elated that Mr. Burns founded the Marty Richman Memorial Scholarship and LULAC is hosting it,” Joyce Richman said. “Education has always been important to Marty and helping young people to pursue that goal would have made him happy.”
Luna told BenitoLink that she, too, admired Richman and wanted to help establish the scholarship in his name.
“We had had a total of nine scholarship applications and the scholarship committee selected four applications,” she said. The committee is made up of three former council members: herself, Carol Lenoir, and Victor Gomez.
All the applicants filled out an application that included their financial need, GPA, a letter of recommendation, and a personal statement. Each applicant was scored for their answers, their community service/school activities and the neatness and completeness of their application. The four applicants with the highest scores were awarded the scholarships.
“We hope to continue the scholarship and if persons want to donate toward the next scholarship phase, they can do this on PayPal for which we only provide the link when persons contact us directly,” Luna said. “We hope that maybe we can include some college students in the next round.”
She told BenitoLink that LULAC worked with Mary Andrade, a college and career center specialist at San Benito High School Career Center, to set up the scholarship.
Marty Richman was born in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the Air Force, then transitioned to the Army, from which he retired in 1984 as a warrant officer (CW4).
According to the scholarship packet, Marty loved this community and spent many hours researching and writing about this city. It also states he had a passion for freedom of speech and his community and that he was known for protecting the First Amendment and often reminded residents of this being the foundation for many of America’s most cherished values.
It goes on to say Marty encouraged young people to remain in school and supported organizations such as San Benito County LULAC in assuring education opportunities were diverse and equal. it states he was elected to the Hollister City Council in 2018 and contributed to the betterment of this city and its residents with the important message of becoming involved with decision making.
“Marty honored us as a tireless fighter, a person of honor, a champion for the people,” according to the packet.
Luna told BenitoLink that because of how quickly the scholarship was set up it was only offered to San Benito High School seniors. She said Burns will need to decide if it should be offered to students from other schools in 2022.
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