When former BCF board chair Mike Rainbolt and his wife Burmah talk about their passion for giving back, it is nearly impossible not to feel inspired. “When you care deeply about something, that enthusiasm is catching,” says Mike.
As a previous ROTC Commander and OSU Academic Advisor, Mike had a unique perspective when he first joined the BCF scholarship committee in 1987. He knew that ROTC cadets and veterans in our community needed, and deserved, additional support to complete their education. Mike’s passion for scholarships inspired him to reach out to his network of former cadets and commissioned officers to see if anyone wanted to join him in easing the financial burden of college for these special students.
This simple inquiry started a chain of events, proving that even small actions can have a big impact on the future. That first year, two students received scholarships from this compassionate group – one for $100 and the other for $50. Now, nearly 30 years later, Mike has inspired more than $1.5 million in scholarships created by BCF to ROTC cadets, veterans from every branch of the armed forces, their children, and their families.
In early 2021, Mike and Burmah were married in Stayton, Oregon at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Newlyweds again in their seventies, it is easy to see how two such compassionate and altruistic people were drawn together. Both with life-long commitments towards volunteerism and philanthropy, they continue to join forces with BCF to support and inspire involvement in some of our community’s most exciting and game-changing projects.
Always among the first to raise their hands when there is an opportunity to help, Mike and Burmah remain visionaries in creating positive change in Benton County. In 2022, they once again showed what it means to be on the forefront of giving back by contributing the very first gift towards the purchase of BCF’s new building in honor of the veterans and patriots that serve our community.
After a lifetime service, Mike and Burmah continue to inspire others to take those first steps to create the change they want to see in their communities. “Find your passion for how you want to help others,” says Mike. “Find your passion, and display that passion for others, and they will want to come along with you.”