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Vecellio Family Foundation Tops $2 Million In College Scholarships

Giving back to the community is not just a cliche at the Vecellio Group. Various sponsorships are in place, many through its non-profit arm, the Vecellio Family Foundation.

Established in 1973, the Foundation’s charitable outreaches include multiple college scholarship programs that to date have awarded more than $2 million in assistance to 249 students, mostly from selected high schools in West Virginia, where Vecellio & Grogan was formed.

Ten $10,000 scholarships — worth $2,500 per year for four years, in care of the selected college or university — were awarded in 2005alone.

“We’re proud to give back to the communities where our company’s roots were formed,” said Leo Vecellio, Jr. “College scholarships are one way we are able to do this.”

Independent review boards administer the scholarships, choosing recipients from selected West Virginia schools, a West Virginia conservation program, and from among dependents of Vecellio Group employees.

Cristina Palenzuela

Cristina Palenzuela

In 2005, two employee dependent scholarships were awarded. One went to Cristina Palenzuela, daughter of Eduardo Palenzuela, Terminal Manager of South Florida Materials Corp. (a Vecellio & Grogan division). The other went to Rachel Lynn Stevens, daughter of James “Jimmy the Blade” Stevens, a Shaper (Specialized Dozer Operator) with Ranger Golf (a Ranger Construction division).

Cristina Palenzuela graduated from Royal Palm Beach High School in Royal Palm Beach, FL. Her accomplishments included Student of the Month, Best All-Round Student, Art Student of the Month and Year, Highest AP Spanish GPA Award, and Operation Uplink recognition. Cristina is attending the University of Central Florida with a planned major in Pharmacy.

Rachel Stevens

Rachel Stevens

Rachel Stevens graduated from Red Bluff Union High School in Red Bluff, CA, with accomplishments including the Honor Roll, CNA, First Aid and CPR. She is attending Shasta College in Redding, CA, with a planned major in Nursing.

Eight additional scholarships were awarded through the Foundation’s West Virginia programs.

Brandon K. Lilly of Cool Ridge, representing Shady Spring High School, was selected for a Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship, named to honor V&G’s late co-founder.

Liberty High School graduate Candace Clay of Glen Daniel also received a Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship.

At Woodrow Wilson High School, three students received scholarships: Anna Christine Fedders of Beckley, with a Rick Vecellio Memorial Scholarship, named to honor the late brother of Leo Vecellio, Jr.;  Bethany Theresa Jennings of Beckley, who earned a Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship; and Joshua Ryan Weitzman of Beckley, who received an Al Janutolo Memorial Scholarship, named for a long-time V&G employee.

A Leo A. Vecellio, Sr., Memorial Scholarship also was awarded to Brittany Lilly of Beckley, a graduate of Independence High School.

In McDowell County, Lisa Stacy of Paynesville was awarded a Dr. Dante Castrodale Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Leo A. Vecellio, Sr.’s brother-in-law, who served as a physician in the area for many years.

The Rick Vecellio Memorial Conservation Scholarship/ Youth Conservation Award went to Allison Clare Echols of Gap Mills.