A group of Waco residents is raising money for a scholarship fund in memory of the four federal agents who died in the Feb. 28 Mount Carmel shootout.
The Community ATF Memorial Scholarship Fund Steering Committee hopes to raise $20,000 to help four criminal justice students pay for tuition, books and fees for one year at McLennan Community College, committee chairperson Pamela Brewer said at a Friday news conference.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents Steven D. Willis, Robert J. Williams, Conway LeBleu and Todd McKeehan were killed in the raid of the Branch Davidian compound after a shootout erupted between agents and members of the cult.
Agents were trying to serve an arrest warrant on cult leader Vernon Howell for illegal possession of firearms.
Brewer said the scholarships will be a “lasting tribute to these courageous men.”
“The agents’ families will know their loved ones will not be forgotten in McLennan County,” she said.
News of the scholarship fund touched LeBleu’s older sister, Marsha Delaney.
“He would have thought that was great,” she said by telephone from Lake Charles, La.
The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce has established a bank account for the fund.
Tony DeNardi, ATF resident agent in charge, thanked the committee for its tribute to the agents, expressing gratitude on behalf of the agents’ families.
“The support we have received from the city of Waco has been outstanding,” he said.
If enough money is raised, the scholarship could be awarded by this fall, Brewer said.
The committee has not yet determined criteria for scholarship applicants. But Paul Marable, chairman of the MCC college foundation board, said the college will study scholarship programs already in place to determine the qualifications.
The committee consists of 25 community members. The chamber is helping it establish the fund, chamber of commerce spokesperson Scott Salmans said.
To make a donation, call the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce at 752-5551 or send a check to “Attention ATF Scholarship”, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, P. O. Box 1220, Waco 76703.