The Pete Henry Scholarship was created through the generosity of Pete Henry who was a farmer for many years in the Brewster, Kansas area. Pete had an inquiring mind and knew the value of hard work, thrift and good management.
He was born in 1910 and raised on a farm near Campbell, Nebraska. His mother died when he was 13 and his immediate responsibility was to care for and manage the household for his 4 younger brothers and sisters while his dad struggled to earn a living. Pete left Nebraska when he was 21 for California. Times were hard. He slept in cars, washed dishes for food and eventually rented a garage for $6 a month to sleep in.
He signed on with the Civilian Conservation Corps forest service to harvest trees and build roads. The forester recognized Pete’s innate engineering talent and assigned Pete the responsibility of being the librarian where Pete immersed himself in a surveying course. Pete became the head of the surveying crew which built many roads and fire lanes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Later in the 1930’s Pete was hired by Douglas Aircraft Company to work in the engineering department designing and constructing fighter planes. All of this was accomplished with only an 8th grade education.
The 1940’s found Pete in and out of the Army Air Corp where he was flight engineer of the B-17, B-24, and B-29 aircraft. He also participated in top secret training, with some of the airmen from his base being the ones that dropped the atomic bomb.
In 1949, Pete rented ground south of Brewster from former neighbors in Nebraska. Pete, always the keen observer, adapted his Nebraska farming experiences to western Kansas. Pete never farmed prime cultivated land: he saw each acre as unique and managed each type of soil differently to achieve maximum productivity. He watched his neighbors and learned from their successes and mistakes, managed his money frugally, investing in good machinery and income producing assets but lived a Spartan life himself. He provided essentially all the labor on the farm until he was 88 years old and until his death in 2002 made all the management decisions.
His dream was to assist local students to further their education. He established a foundation to award academic and technical training scholarships. If you are a self-starting, determined individual with leadership and work experience from Cheyenne, Decatur, Gove, Logan, Rawlins, Sheridan, Sherman, Thomas or Wallace counties you are encouraged to apply. He hoped to give others the opportunity to fulfill their dreams