HEA opens new scholarships, extends deadline

The Homer Electric Association announced in a March 9 press release its new scholarship programs and extended the application deadline for all scholarships to April 3.

HEA, which was founded in 1947, annually awards scholarships to students in each of its districts. The scholarships are named after influential employees and a community member who have impacted the cooperative or the Kenai Peninsula in a meaningful way, according to the press release.

HEA’s 2023 scholarships honor Sandra Ghormley, the Hatfield men and James “Hobo Jim” Varsos.

The Sandra Ghormley Academic Excellence Scholarship is available for students who excel academically and shine a light in their community, according to the release. Ghormley worked for HEA for 18 years as the manager of member services.

“Sandra embodied the cooperative spirit through her dedication to the membership with a smile, her forward thinking and innovative mentality, and her larger-than-life personality. She was passionate about mentoring and was an inspiration to all,” the release states.

The Hatfield Memorial Scholarship for the Trades is available for students pursuing a trade, vocation or apprenticeship program. The award is named in honor of three HEA linemen — Fred Hatfield and his sons, Frank Hatfield and John Hatfield — who served as linemen at HEA for a combined 23 years, according to the HEA release.

“The Hatfield linemen took calls at all hours of the day and night, rushing out in the rain, snow, sleet and sunshine to make sure the lights stayed on for their community,” the release said. “It has been said that linemen show up anywhere, anytime, in any storm and the Hatfield men exemplified this proud legacy as linemen at HEA.”

The Hobo Jim Returning Student Scholarship honors a community member who has had a meaningful and lasting impact on the Kenai Peninsula, according to the release. This year’s Returning Student Scholarship honors Alaska folk singer-songwriter James Varsos, known by the stage name Hobo Jim. Varsos played frequently at small venues across the Kenai Peninsula and Alaska until his death in 2021.

“Hobo Jim’s music captured the essence of the Alaskan pioneering spirit that has come to define the Kenai Peninsula,” HEA said in the release.

The HEA Board of Directors recently expanded HEA’s scholarship policy to include a more diverse student population, the release said.

Under HEA’s updated scholarship policy, HEA will fund trade or apprenticeship scholarships in addition to continuing to award traditional academic scholarships, and scholarships for adults wishing to continue their education. Winners will be selected based on the merits of the applicant and a demonstration that the applicant is committed to their school and community.

The deadline for submitting all HEA scholarship applications has been extended to 5 p.m., Monday, April 3. Applicants can apply online at https://www.homerelectric.com/my-cooperative/community-outreach/scholarships/. Submissions can also be made by mail or via personal delivery to the Homer or Kenai offices. For more information, please contact Keriann Baker at 907-435-7734 or prteam@homerelectric.com.