Leadership Medal and Scholarship in memory of Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez Awarded to Local JROTC Cadet

Nearly a dozen JROTC cadets received medals and scholarships Thursday at a special awards ceremony in Indio.

One of the scholarships was awarded to an outstanding JROTC cadet in honor of the deceased Marine Corporal. Hunter Lopez for the first time. The ceremony also recognized several of the Coachella Valley’s top performing cadets.

The ceremony was hosted by the Military Officers Association of America in Indio.

Alicia Lopez, the mother of the fallen sailor, was present at the ceremony. She shares what it means for her son to be honored with this scholarship: “I hope they cherish the opportunity given to them and follow my son through their footsteps.”

Adriana Vasquez has been named the first recipient of the Lopez Scholarship. She received the $25,000 award based on her leadership, academic achievement and community service.

The scholarship was made possible by a donation from the Schliemer family.

Celeste Schliemer shares the importance of this scholarship for her and her husband: “When Hunter Lopez was killed in Afghanistan, we wanted to do something very deep, but we didn’t know what to do. Then this opportunity arose to name one of the scholarships in his honor.

The Schliemer family believes each recipient is a good reflection of the Coachella Valley, and they are grateful to make this gesture in honor of the deceased sailor and his family.

Lopez’s mother told News Channel 3, “Freedom doesn’t come free by chance. So we’re grateful that these kids are stepping in and protecting us.”

The Schliemer family says they will continue to award the scholarship in honor of Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez for the rest of their lives.

Lopez was one of 13 U.S. service members killed in a terrorist attack during evacuations from an Afghan airport in August 2021. Lopez, 22, was a Coachella Valley native who graduated from La Quinta High School in 2017.

Marine Corporal. Hunter Lopez

If you want to learn more about Hunter Lopez’s story, watch our exclusive interview with his parents, Herman and Alicia Lopez.

A scholarship fund has now been established in Hunter’s name for LQHS students pursuing careers in public service.

To make a donation, go to: https://desert-sands-educational-foundation.snwbll.com/hunter-lopez-memorial-scholarship-fund

His family also established the “Hunter Lopez Memorial Foundation” to help those who protect and serve our nation.

The foundation has previously sponsored two service dogs for active service members and has sponsored several families to attend their children’s graduation from Marine boot camp.

To donate, visit: https://hunterlopezmemorialfoundation.org/

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