Sid Dillon witnessed firsthand the impact a scholarship can make for a Midland University student.
When he was receiving his COVID-19 vaccination earlier this spring, Sid caught the attention of the pharmacist, Freddy Orellana, who was performing the procedure. Turns out that Freddy, a pharmacist with Walmart since 2018, had received the Sid and Hazel Dillon Scholarship to attend Midland in 2008.
“I didn’t know him personally, besides knowing the name of the scholarship,” Freddy, ‘12, said. “I thought the right thing to do was to thank him. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to attend college if it wasn’t for the Dillon family and the scholarship.”
Meeting someone whose life you had a profound impact on isn’t what you would expect when receiving a vaccination. Sid Dillon, whose car dealerships have been a mainstay in Fremont for more than 40 years, was taken aback when Freddy began to share his story.
“I had never met him before, and when he told me he had gotten an education and became a pharmacist, through the help of our scholarship, I thought that was really special,” Sid said. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to me in the 40 years I’ve been here.”
Freddy’s path to college began in 2005 when his family moved from El Salvador to Fremont. He learned to speak English through the ELL program at Fremont High School and his teacher (Krista Anderson) began encouraging him to pursue a college education. “She said I should go to college and become a pharmacist,” Freddy said. “She told me about the Dillon scholarship and that I should apply. My grades weren’t great in high school, mostly because I was still trying to learn English, but when I got to Midland, I was able to keep my grades up and eventually graduate Cum Laude. Then I went to the University of Nebraska Med Center and began working at Walmart in 2018.”
Freddy’s story has already motivated other members of his family to attend college, including a brother who plans on becoming a doctor in El Salvador. Freddy wants all high school students to understand that through hard work, and through generous scholarships like the one provided by the Dillon family, college can go from a dream to a reality.
“I struggled with the transition to a new country and a new language, and it’s not easy, but I can help students with that transition,” Freddy said. “I talk to students who say finances are what prevent them from going to college. I want them to understand these opportunities are available and if they get that opportunity, they need to take advantage of it.”
Sid said it is because of success stories like Freddy’s that he wants to continue paving the way for young people by providing them with scholarships. “I want to help the students who really need help,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling for me to see that things like this can happen, and it’s special to know you can make a difference for these students. We want to help the students who need help the most.”
If you have a story about how a scholarship or donor impacted your life in a positive way, please let us know at email@example.com.