News & Events
The Rex & Ken Forgotten Heroes Pride of Scotts Scholarship
A generous gift from Francis Max Smith of Portage has created a new scholarship fund to honor the lives of two Scotts men who died in World War II. Click here to watch his story.
These scholarships, administered through the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency Foundation, were awarded to nine Climax-Scotts Community Schools students last week. The recipients are: Stephanie Ashley, Georgie Braithwaite, Margaret Brown, Kirk Gibson, Annalisa Lodes, Kyle Millward, Farrah Scears, Megan Smith, and Mitchell Vosburg, all at Climax-Scotts Community Schools.
A special reception from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 23, at Pride of Scotts Community Center, 8450 36th Street, in the village of Scotts, will honor the donor. The public is welcome to attend.
Mr. Smith grew up in Scotts and graduated from Scotts High School in 1942. He and his younger brother, Rex, and his best friend, Ken Snyder, all volunteered to serve their country during World War II. Mr. Smith is the only one who returned. Rex Smith was killed by enemy sniper fire at the age of 18, four months before Ken Snyder was killed in action. He was 19.
Max Smith went on to graduate from Northwestern University’s Naval Radio School and served during World War II in the U.S. Navy, achieving the rank of Petty Officer and working as a radio operator in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked for the Kalamazoo State Hospital for 40 years and later managed real estate properties. He and his wife had three children.
In creating this fund, Mr. Smith expressed a desire to create a lasting tribute to two valiant young men who gave everything for their country and yet no gravestones or monuments mark a resting place since their bodies were never returned. “These boys who lost their lives before they could even vote are worthy of our thoughts,” he said.
The scholarship is intended to help Climax-Scotts students who have a genuine interest in furthering their education and giving back as productive members of society.
Mr. Smith’s gift in memory of Rex Smith and Ken Snyder, two “forgotten heroes” of Scotts, will ensure these men are forgotten no more.