A 1999 graduate of Allen D. Nease High School, Josh was a student at UNF for three years when he decided to leave school and enlist in the Marines. He chose the Marines because of their elite status and, specifically, chose infantry as his specialty knowing he would probably go to Iraq. Tragically on October 21, 2006, ten days before he was due to return home to Camp Lejune, North Carolina, he was killed in action in the Anbar Province of Iraq.
He loved the Marine Corps, his family and his country. An only child, Josh truly believed he was fighting over there so that his mother and others could be safe over here. He felt that fighting terrorism in Iraq would prevent having to fight it here.
In December 2006, Josh’s mother and uncle, Amy Vazquez and David Tillis, established the Marine Corporal Joshua C. Watkins Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of North Florida to honor Joshua’s sacrifice and aid returning veterans in continuing their education, as Josh had planned to do. Beginning in the Fall semester of 2007, scholarships will be available for active duty, reserve or honorably discharged military personnel enrolled full time at UNF, with preference given to Marines.
Today, through the generosity of others, notably the PGA Tour, and Ponte Vedra residents Robert and Monica Jacoby, the endowment has grown to over $226,000. An endowed scholarship exists in perpetuity, making this an excellent opportunity to honor a local hero and show support for our local military personnel to whom we owe our continued freedom.
The Marine Corporal Joshua C. Watkins Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund reached the point where it is eligible for a 50% State matching grant. This is an extraordinary opportunity to leverage your gift and make a difference in your community.
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