BP Legion announces 2 scholarship winners
Blooming Prairie's American Legion Post 52 and Auxiliary have once again donated two $500 scholarships to two college students.
Recipients in 2019 are Jennifer (Jen) Koudelka and Lucas Zellmer.
Legion Commander Karl Luiken and Suzy Thorson, president of the Auxiliary presented the checks to Koudelka and Zellmer. Legionnaire Ken Trom is administrator for the Legion Scholarship Committee.
Koudelka is the daughter of Scott and Gretchen Koudelka of Hastings. She is a sophomore at St Catherine's University, St Paul. Jennifer is a 2017 graduate of Hastings High School.
Zellmer is the son of Randy and Kay Zellmer, Blooming Prairie. He is in his second year of medical school at the University of Minnesota. Lucas is a 2012 graduate of Blooming Prairie High School and is a 2016 graduate of the University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse.
Koudelka is studying to be a sonographer, working in hospitals or clinics, specializing in Obstetrics.
Her connection to the Blooming Prairie American Legion Auxiliary comes through the working relationship between Commander Luiken and Jennifer's father through their work at the Eagan Post Office.
Luiken logged 44 ½ years with the Eagan Post Office before retirement. Scott Koudelka is still working for the Eagan Post Office and has been there 29 years.
Jennifer has an older sister, Katelin, who also attended St. Catherine's and graduated in 2018, studying physical therapy. She is now studying for her doctorate at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She worked at Courage Kenny in Golden Valley.
Koudelka is a very busy young woman. She is in charge of making bowls for Open Arms of Minnesota, a nonprofit that cooks and delivers free, nutritious meals to people living with life-threatening illnesses in the Twin Cities.
She is also a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Augustana Care in Hastings. Koudelka only works as a CNA when she's not in school. "Her school is more important than working," says her father Scott.
Jennifer was also hired as an athletic trainer at Hastings High School. She also helped with coaching running, lifting and resistance/agility classes.
In high school, Jennifer volunteered at the Regina Senior Care Center. She worked in physical therapy. "I liked pushing wheel chairs around," she said, showing her love for volunteering.
"I'm very grateful to the Legion Auxiliary and it will help me pay for my schooling," remarked Jennifer.
She also is the recipient of a $25,000 Presidential Scholarship for each of her collegiate years.
"We're pretty proud of you," commented Karl Luiken. "I am blessed and grateful to have this scholarship," Jennifer stated.
Zellmer is receiving a $500 scholarship from the Legion for the second year in a row. His older brothers Matt and Marc also received the Legion awards.
Lucas has 2 ½ years left in his schooling and has not decided on his specialty field.
All three brothers were active in sports in Blooming Prairie, each playing football, basketball and baseball. "All are proud to be Blossons," says Zellmer's father Randy.
Zellmer's goal is to combine his love for both community level health and biochemical level pathophysiology throughout his career.
"Being awarded the BP American Legion scholarship has eased the financial burden of medical school," Zellmer said.
Seven applicants' documents were studied by scholarship committee members Bruce Kubicek, Doris Rasmussen, Carol Prokopec and Bob Ingvalson.