Scholarship puts father/daughter on road to success

Philpatrick Gallegos, 42, and his daughter Mikiela, 19, are well-known on campus. Both are active with the Veterans Resource Center and the Student Government Association. But due to mounting financial pressures, they were not sure if they could continue their education. Both had vehicles that needed repair and they wondered if they would be able to have enough money to pay for books and meet other financial needs.

“When we found out we were both going to receive the new scholarship for veterans we were so relieved. I can’t express the gratitude that we feel. It’s made a huge difference,” Philpatrick said.

The Gallegoses are the first to receive support from a new scholarship fund for veterans and their dependents, established through a partnership between the SFCC Foundation and the City of Santa Fe Veterans Advisory Board. SFCC Foundation Executive Director Deborah Boldt said, “Foundation Board member Ken Dettelbach was a driving force in bringing the scholarship to SFCC. We wouldn’t have this opportunity without his hard work and advocacy.” U.S. Bank, along with many individual donors, contributed to the fund. Philpatrick, a single parent, is a determined student. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and served for four years as a firefighter. After he was honorably discharged, he worked as a civilian at Kirtland Air Force Base, where he attained the position of Lead Rescue Tech/Medic. His career was cut short in 2004, when he was involved in a hit-and-run auto accident. As a result, he lost his left arm and sustained serious injuries. He spent 12 years undergoing intensive rehabilitation.

Returning to school was initially challenging, since he had been away for many years. He credits the Veterans Resource Center staff with helping him make the transition. Because of his accident he was unable to use the G.I. bill benefits before
they expired. That’s where the scholarship came in: it supports veterans and their dependents who are not normally eligible to receive educational benefits.

His goal is to get an Associate of Science in Computer and Information Technologies. Although he acknowleges the course work is rigorous, he still finds time to volunteer with the Student Government Association, currently as
vice president.

“I got introduced to the health field while in high school, when I earned my Phlebotomy Certificate from the college,” Mikiela said. That experience gave her the confidence to pursue a career in health care. She plans to earn an associate at
SFCC, then study at the University of New Mexico, after which she will follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Air Force to get a medical degree. “I’m interested in becoming a pediatric and adolescent doctor,” she said. In addition to her studies,
she serves as the secretary and historian of the Student Government Association.

SFCC was designated Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges by Military Times in 2015 and 2016. This year it was cited as fourth in the nation.
For more information on the scholarship, contact the Financial Aid Office at or 505-428-1268.