When Darrell Stark passed away in February 2016, he left behind a legacy of love and commitment to others that his family and friends decided to celebrate in a permanent way. Thus was born the Darrell D. and Julia Stark Scholarship for veterans choosing to attend Middlesex Community College.
As a young man with no formal education past the eighth grade, Darrell fought for his country in WWII and spent 3½ years as a Japanese prisoner of war. Upon his return, Darrell was offered opportunities from others—including the Department of Veterans Affairs—and he decided to take advantage of them. This included a chance to further his education and find a rewarding career through the State Department of Corrections. He and his wife of 68 years, Julia, also served their community through public service and volunteer work.
Darrell had an ongoing struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder from the time he came back from the war until the day he died, but he did not let it define him. He struggled with these war experiences mentally and emotionally until someone at the VA suggested he join a newly formed therapy group. Once Darrell began to open up, he never stopped. In time, his life took on a new purpose as he shared his experiences with struggling veterans to encourage them, including those who were incarcerated. He began to do public speaking engagements and visited schools to educate students about history in ways they could never learn about in a book. Later in life, Darrell was fortunate enough to document his story in his book “My Journey as I Remember.”
Because Darrell and his wife focused on gratitude and giving back as a way to overcome hardship, his family and friends believe that this endowed scholarship for student veterans with a desire to start/finish their education, financial need, and the desire to overcome hardship in their own lives would be a fitting tribute.
The fund has recently reached the endowed level of $10,000 and, as it grows over time, will support a veteran’s education up to $4,000. For this year, the Stark family would like to award a first gift of $500 to celebrate Darrell and Julia’s memory. For more information on how to apply, please contact Cheryl Dumont-Smith at 860.343.5869 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Peter Galgano at 860.343.5797 (email@example.com).