Since 1994, the Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund (CPOSF) has given opportunities to non-uniformed spouses and dependent children of active, reserve, retired and deceased chief petty officers in the U.S. Navy. The CPOSF has had the honor of offering scholarships to further the education of applicants and is 100 percent supported by charitable donations and volunteers.
One of the original founders of the CPOSF, Duane Bushey, chairman of the CPOSF and the 7th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), said he remembers how everything first began. It all started with the commissioning of the USS Chief (MCM 14). Bushey was walking past the pentagon with a former Sailor when they asked him “Do you remember your first chief?” Bushey said, “Absolutely, I’m still affected today by the things he taught me.”
Bushey’s wife became the sponsor for the commissioning and he attended the first meeting to see how they could get involved in fundraising. During the meeting he said, “What is the name of the ship? It’s the USS Chief. Let’s go out and ask every chief to donate one dollar. We can ask every Chiefs Mess for $100 and we can give them a plaque made from the wood of a ship.”
He was told it wouldn’t happen, that they couldn’t raise that much money in such a short amount of time. They persisted anyways and six weeks later raised more than enough money needed.
During the ceremony over 750 chiefs went to the commissioning of the Chief. The turnout was so successful that afterwards they decided to start a scholarship fund. In the first year the CPOSF gave two $500 scholarships. Now, in 2019, the CPOSF is up to about $110,000 worth of scholarships each year.
“We’re proud that we’ve awarded over $1,360,000 to qualified candidates since 1998,” said, John Benwell, an active coordinator for the CPOSF and the Hampton Roads CPOSF (HRCPOSF) Golf Tournament. “The Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund provides major opportunities for service members and the civilian community at its’ fundraising events. It has great leadership and comradery with the common goal of assisting chief petty officer families with college expenses.”
Each year the CPOSF holds several fundraising events to raise money for scholarships. Some examples are the Best of the Mess Event, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Walker Legacy Ride, and the HRCPOSF Golf Tournament.
“We are a non-profit that funds for a need,” said Joe Schnurbusch, president of the CPOSF and deputy director of the Norfolk Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society. “At the end of the day we’re all trying to help someone go to school and have more opportunities.”
Fundraising events such as the HRCPOSF Golf Tournament showcase the generosity of the sponsors, donors and players. Last year, the golf tournament had a success of 70 players and raised $7,000. The 14th annual HRCPOSF Golf Tournament is slated for June 28th and it will be held at the Eagle Haven Golf Course on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.
“Right now, we are limited because of the amount of money that comes in,” said Bushey. “We would appreciate an increase in donations, so that any applicant that is qualified can be funded and supported with a better education. We can’t reach that goal without help. If every chief on active duty in the United States Navy took out an allotment and was given $5 a month, think about how much money there would be for the Chief Petty Officer Scholarship Fund.”
For more information about the CPOSF or to make a donation, go to https://www.cposf.org. For more information on registering for the HRCPOSF Golf Tournament, go to https://cposfnorfolk.wixsite.com/golf.