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Longtime scholarship fund in Milwaukee honors Dr. King

By Carole Meekins,


MILWAUKEE — Every dollar goes to a scholar. That's the tagline of a scholarship fund that's almost 50 years old and inspired by one of the most famous leaders in the world.

The Martin Luther King Scholarships Milwaukee has given almost a half million dollars to students going to college since it was formed in 1976.

It was founded by a group of ministers, including Pastor Joe Ellwanger, a well-known justice crusader.

"We wrestled with the question, how can we make sure the powerful legacy of Dr. King is understood and appreciated by the generations coming along."

Keeping Dr. King's legacy alive is one reason Dave Bohl of Whitefish Bay is committed to supporting the fund. A technology leader at Hephatha Lutheran Church and a retired attorney, he understands the importance of the gift of education.

Bohl notes, "Just seeing the impact... Maybe it's the first person in their family to go to college."

Bohl is even more steadfast after being diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2018.

"I got something called triple-hit lymphoma. I got a big knot on my neck."

It was so rare and potentially deadly that his doctor told him not to google his type of lymphoma.

"The oncologist said yeah, you don't want to look online about this. The bottom line is it has about a 4-month median life expectancy."

But Bohl was lucky, a brand-new experimental drug worked. Now he's almost 5 years cancer free. He believes faith and his pastor helped him heal.

"One of the reasons I was blessed is pastor Mary MacManus as I would get infusions and meet me at Froedtert and pray with me. That's the reason I'm here." It's a blessing that makes Bohl emotional.

So, Dave Bohl fulfills one of his purposes. To uplift others and help more young teens pursue their dreams of college. So, he advocates on behalf of MLK Scholarships Milwaukee. Bohl exclaims, "It's all volunteer. Everything we give goes directly to the students. It's hard not to get behind something like that!"

Event information:
MLK Scholarships Milwaukee All-a-thon
Saturday, May 27th
1535 W. Capitol Dr.
Gospel Lutheran Church
Registration: 7:30 a.m., Send-off: 8 a.m.
Get more information here.

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