Friday, November 8, 2019
  Community, Awards and Recognitions

By Victoria Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – As Veteran’s Day approaches, one UTRGV student can celebrate being the recipient of the Veteran of Foreign Wars’ Sports Clips Help A Hero scholarship.

William Pabon III, of Harlingen, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served from 2007 to 2015  and currently is studying criminal justice and environmental science at UTRGV. This is the third time he has applied for and received this scholarship.

In partnership with the Veteran of Foreign Wars, the Sports Clips Help A Hero scholarship awards a student veteran up to $5,000 per semester, based on need.

William Pabon III
William Pabon III

The scholarship is funded through annual donations during the Help A Hero campaign at Sports Clips locations around the country. This year, the business is collecting donations in-store through Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

Pabon first came across Help A Hero while doing independent research looking for local scholarships from Valley businesses.

“There was a sign at the business, asking for donations to military causes,” he said. “I wasn’t sure who could apply, so I reached out to a friend who had received the scholarship to get more details about how it works.”

Pabon received $1,800 for fall 2019, which goes a long way toward helping offset his education expenses.

“Everyone has financial strain. Whether it be bills or debt from prior service, many veterans enter school with previous debt,” he said. “Military benefits only give you a certain amount of funds, which don’t always cover the full amount needed. Sometimes, you are left short.”

Easing the financial burden helps him focus more on school, instead of worrying so much about finances, he said. 

“I am very grateful, and my grades speak for the impact,” he said. “I can dedicate more time and focus more on my studies versus having to look for a second job to supplement. It helps a lot to be able to make graduation the focus.”

Pabon is an actively involved veteran on campus, both as a work study for the Military and Veterans Success Center and as president of the Student Veterans of America. He is a third-generation veteran and has several relatives currently serving.

“Being a veteran is something that we, as veterans, take pride in,” he said. “It is not something we look to be celebrated for. It makes you proud to be part of a country that has so many people willing to volunteer to serve.” 


Since 2013, Sport Clips has been the primary supporter of the VFW’s Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for service members and veterans for use at post-secondary schools and trade schools. To date, the group has awarded more than 1,400 scholarships totaling $6.5 million.

For more information or to apply to the VFW’s Sports Clips Help A Hero Scholarship, visit or visit any Sports Clips locations. Applications for the spring semester will be accepted Aug. 1 through Nov. 15.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.