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Bandits announce two scholarship winners

Bandit Scholars Program to pay first years of tuition at University of Iowa, Western Illinois University
June 16, 2013

The Quad Cities River Bandits awarded the two annual scholarships of the Bandit Scholars Program at the game Sunday at Modern Woodmen Park. During the fourth inning, team owner Dave Heller and Jennifer Lucier announced Holly Hoelting as the winner of the Bandit Scholarship and Elizabeth Baer as the winner of the Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship.

Hoelting, a Bettendorf native and Pleasant Valley High School graduate entering Western Illinois University, is the first-ever winner of the annual Bandit Scholarship, which was added to the Bandit Scholars Program a year ago. Baer, a Bettendorf native and Bettendorf High School graduate entering the University of Iowa, won the Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship, given annually since the River Bandits introduced the Bandit Scholars Program in 2009. Each scholarship pays for the entire first year of tuition for the annual recipient.

"Giving out these scholarships is the most enjoyable thing I do as owner of the River Bandits, and I am so proud, on behalf of the organization and the Quad Cities community, to present these scholarships to Holly and Elizabeth," said team owner Dave Heller. "Each of these young women have demonstrated incredible talent, hard work, dedication and a passion for community service, and I am confident they will be outstanding representatives of the Bandit Scholars Program and the Quad Cities in their immensely promising futures."

River Bandits owners Dave Heller and Bob Herrfeldt founded the Bandit Scholars Program in 2009, beginning with the Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship and expanding with the Bandit Scholarship last year. Awarded annually to a Quad Cities area high school senior, each scholarship includes a summer internship with the River Bandits following the winner's first year of college.

The Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship pays for the entire first year of tuition at the University of Iowa for the annual recipient and is named in honor of the late Keith Lucier. Lucier was a graduate of Bettendorf High School and the University of Iowa. He was River Bandits Assistant General Manager in 2008 and a former employee of the Quad-City Times. Lucier passed away in 2009, and the scholarship has been awarded annually to one Quad Cities area high school senior since its inception. The Bandit Scholarship pays the entire first year of tuition for one student each year at either Western Illinois University or Black Hawk College.

"I am incredibly excited and grateful to receive the Keith Lucier Memorial Scholarship," Baer said. "This is an exhilirating moment and a reminder of the importance of paying it forward and being caring and giving throughout my future."

Baer hopes to pursue a communications degree with emphasis on public advocacy. In high school, she has been involved in National Student Council of Excellence, National Honor Society, Raising Student Voice and Participation, FBLA, Best Buddies, SAIL Program, Teens for Tomorrow Philanthropy Group, volleyball, and several volunteer activities.

"It is humbling and eye-opening for me to receive the Bandit Scholarship," Hoelting said. "This scholarship award and internship through the Bandit Scholars Program is a great opportunity to continue giving and helping others as I begin my college career."

Hoelting hopes to pursue a degree in physical therapy. She has worked in the Red Apple Child Care Center, Athletic Booster Club Ad Sales, the Pleasant Valley School District and Pleasant Valley Softball Camp, where she teaches the sport to young children. A five-sport athlete in high school, Hoelting will play softball for Western Illinois University.

Both scholarships are funded by fan donations and fund-raising efforts by the River Bandits and the team's ownership. Fundraising events include the annual Frost Fest, Bandits Race to Home 5K and Bandit Scholars Tournament. Fans can send donations for the scholarship fund to Modern Woodmen Park. One hundred percent of every donation goes to fund the scholarships.

UP NEXT: When the Chicago Cubs affiliate, the Kane County Cougars, visits Modern Woodmen Park on Thursday, the River Bandits will host another Mega Cubs Fantacular Giveaway, Ladies' Night and a Thirst-Day Thursday presented by Rock 104-9, the Quad Cities' CW and the River Cities' Reader. Single-game tickets are on sale at the River Bandits box office at Modern Woodmen Park, by phone at 563-324-3000 and online at Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $50. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.

ABOUT THE BANDITS: The River Bandits ownership is making one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 112 feet over the playing field, is planned for next spring, along with a carousel and other new games and attractions. This season, the team just unveiled a new 300-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, a Mediacom Frog Hopper, and a number of new bounce houses .. The team also boasts a new major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, and fans can see last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, Carlos Correa , as well as first-round draft choice Lance McCullers. The Astros also just ma de the very first selection in the major league draft earlier this month and could have top pick Mark Appel play in the Quad Cities. With new rides, new attractions, new improvements, a new affiliate and future major league stars, the second half of this season is one every fan will not want to miss!