Mike Warren was a conscientious, smart, selfless man whose life was cut short by the Vietnam War.
Fifty years after his death in a helicopter crash at 24, a new scholarship fund in his honor has been established at the Moline Foundation by fellow members of the Moline High School Class of 1962.
“Mike was just such a neat guy; he was loved by everyone in the class,” Lana Jacobs, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, said. “He was a very caring individual, active in a lot different things. When he was killed in Vietnam, it was quite a shock to all of us.”
A engineering graduate of Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Warren enlisted in the Marine Corps in May 1967, and began his tour of duty in Vietnam on Oct. 10, 1967. After serving six months, he continued his service out of country, and volunteered to return to South Vietnam, Jacobs said, noting he was taking a buddy's place.
Warren died as a result of a non-combat helicopter crash on April 25, 1968, in Quang Tri, South Vietnam. He is interred at the Rock Island National Cemetery, Arsenal Island, and his name is on a monument at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia, near Quantico.
“We're hoping to help engineering students, male or female," Jacobs said. "Our goal is to reach between $5,000 and $10,000.”
An anonymous donor from the Moline High School class has offered to match every dollar donated, she noted.
Warren also is the only member of the Class of '62 whose name is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
“I think it's heartwarming that they are doing this for students from Moline High School, but also in memory of someone who served their country they cared about,” said Jennifer von Kaenel, the Moline Foundation's director of development.
After his death, Warren's parents wrote Harrington asking about his life the last few months. He collected pictures of Mike and many members of their Marine company wrote notes. “We mailed our large manila love letter to the Warrens. A few weeks later they wrote back, 'Thank you all so much for your kind words and pictures. It will always be so important to us that Mike had so many friends,'” Harrington wrote.
The new scholarship will offer $500 to a graduating Moline senior, preferably one who plans to major in engineering. Applicants must have been involved in at least one service-oriented activity or organization in school, community or place of worship.
DOnations may be made by PayPal on the home page of molinefoundation.org. For more information on scholarships, visit molinefoundation.org/Page/Apply_for_Available_Scholarships.aspx?nt=1153.