Former scholarship recipient pays back the generosity


Stephen McKown is a engineer with the United Space Alliance.



The Cape Canaveral Chapter of Military Officers Association of America, or MOAACC, received a very pleasant surprise when Stephen McKown donated a gift to help the next generation of MOAACC scholarship recipients.

It was McKown’s way to pay it forward while celebrating the generosity he had received as a MOAACC scholarship winner in 2006.

“It was a great feeling receiving that award and a real honor to myself and my parents, both veterans, and a big confidence booster to continue on despite the challenges involved, not to mention a great help in the burden of paying for college tuition,” wrote McKown.

McKown earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida in 2009 and was hired as an engineer with the United Space Alliance. When he had the unexpected opportunity to become a donor, he quickly contacted MOAACC to help.

McKown told donor coordinator Courtney Yelle he also wanted to honor his two grandfathers, Robert R. Head and Jack D. McKown, through the gift. Both were veterans of military service.

The scholarship program began modestly enough with one $1,000 grant awarded in 1984. Since that time, the Cape Canaveral Chapter of MOAA has awarded 243 scholarship grants to descendants of military personnel. The gifts, totaling $630,000, were made possible entirely through individual donations.

“It has always been funded by members or funds of members,” said Yelle, a retired U.S. Navy commander.

In July of this year, the Chapter will again grant 10 scholarships, each $3,500, to students entering or already in the junior or senior year of college or entering or in the first year of graduate school. The program is open to residents of Brevard County.

“Any student who has had a family member in the military is eligible,” Yelle said.

Philanthropy plays an important part in MOAACC, which in addition to the scholarship program, supports the Good Deeds Foundation, Operation Warm Heart, ROTC and veterans’ organizations.

“We like to say that MOAACC is built on three pillars: legislative liaison, camaraderie and philanthropy,” Yelle said.

One of the largest MOAA chapters in the country, the Cape Canaveral Chapter has been active since 1958. The organization includes retired, former and active duty military from all uniformed services, as well as spouses and surviving spouses.

The deadline to apply for a MOAACC scholarship is June 15. For more information, go to and select “Scholarship” at the top bar of the homepage. For questions, call 321-576-5370.