World War II veteran Bernard “Papa B” Brockmeyer was a bit prophetic when it came to his grandson, 17-year-old Evan Osgood.
“He would always say, ‘You really have a way of bringing people together and rallying them behind a cause,’” said Osgood, a soon-to-be high school graduate from Loveland, Ohio, and member of high IQ society Mensa.
Papa B, who died when Osgood was a child, was right, and this year, DAV is recognizing Osgood with its top annual scholarship prize of $30,000. The DAV Scholarship Program awards $110,000 in scholarships each year to volunteers 21 and younger who give back to veterans in their communities.
The scholarships are a recognition of the service and leadership at the heart of DAV’s mission. Osgood exemplifies both.
At just 7 years old, he co-founded a nonprofit that brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to the community—a passion project he maintains today.
And in 2020, when COVID-19 pillaged the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to fend off the virus, Osgood founded a nationwide network of volunteers making masks for health care workers, vulnerable populations and military veterans. Since then, over 10,000 volunteers have made and donated over 800,000 pieces of PPE. Many of those volunteers were veterans, and nearly 40% of PPE went to veteran communities.
Osgood has also organized community events, built furniture for people moving from homelessness to homeownership, helped neighbors with house repairs, led numerous school initiatives and much more.
“Evan has much in common with the veterans he serves,” said DAV National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “His dedication to helping others, his leadership among peers and his problem-solving mindset are invaluable assets to his community.”
For his high school capstone project, inspired in part by veterans he had met, Osgood set out to address chronic infections caused by biofilm-forming bacteria.
“Biofilm is the equivalent of every enemy Superman has ever battled fighting together,” Osgood explained. “Antibiotics, our modern-day medical Superman, can’t break through.”
Osgood and a research partner created an apparatus that successfully broke through biofilms using electric currents. His hope is to one day build a device that can be used to treat patients, particularly those who were injured in military service.
“I want service to continue to be a part of my life beyond college,” he said. “How can I use those skills that I’ve been able to develop, as well as all the skills and network that a college education will give me, to really bring my service to the next level?”
It’s not hard to imagine what Papa B would think.
“He would be so very proud of Evan and how he has stepped up to make a difference for our veterans and the country as a whole,” said Evan’s mom, Lisa Osgood. “It’s nice to see that he’s getting some recognition for all the work that he’s done in the past 10 years.”
Additional 2022 DAV Scholarship winners
$20,000: Emma Gardner, Arkansas: $15,000: Leanne Maharaj, Virginia; $10,000: Arjun Verma, Florida; $7,500: Avya Kacir, Arizona, and Madyson Weidner, Arkansas; $5,000: Jean You, Pennsylvania; Destiny Klinkhammer, Wisconsin; Adithi Tirumalai, California; and Rosadry Rios, Illinois