Every time a new fund is established at the OCF, there is a unique story with a common theme of connection to people and place.  The latest fund, the Captain John Nicholson Fund is no exception.  

John Nicholson was born in Lansing and raised on a farm on Brown Road (now Briley Road) just east of Johannesburg.  He was the youngest of five, with all of his siblings graduating from the Johannesburg-Lewiston schools.  John was a member of the class of 1982, but in his junior year he moved to the “big city” of Ludington to complete high school. 

John spent a lot of time reading as a kid and dreamed of seeing the world.  From his earliest days, he dreamed of doing something big.  For some reason, he always felt the call of the sea, and wanted to sail away to great adventures.  John realized he wanted to serve his country, and completely fell for the recruiting line: “Join the Navy, See the World.”  He attended Purdue University on a Naval ROTC scholarship.  He graduated in 1986 and was commissioned in the United States Navy.

After initial flight training, John went on to specialize in airborne reconnaissance, flying a variety of surveillance and intelligence collection missions.  He was stationed in Spain, Hawaii, California, and Washington, D.C., and has flown over 2000 hours while supporting deployments around the world.  In 2007, he was selected for promotion to Captain in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to develop satellite communications systems for the Defense Department.

John retired from the Navy in 2011 and work as a Director at General Dynamics.  In 2016 he started 112 West LLC; a consulting business that provides strategic approaches and management solutions to a variety of clients across the national security and defense markets. 

Captain John Nicholson has flown over the seven seas and visited more than 50 countries around the world.  He has gone from chasing deer out of the garden to scratching the itch on a wallaby’s back, from feeding cows in Michigan to running with the bulls in Spain.  John has been blessed to achieve so many of the dreams he had on the farm that were supported by the teachers around him and education he received.   In early December he reached out to Johannesburg Lewiston Schools to see how he could set up scholarship fund to help kids in the school district that helped shape him.  He was then connected to the OCF.

 After a ZOOM meeting and a handful of emails the Captain John Nicholson Scholarship was established.  This scholarship is meant to encourage the next generation of dreamers at Johannesburg-Lewiston schools.  The class of 2021 will be able to apply through the OCF starting February 2 – .  To learn more go to https://www.otsegofoundation.org/apply/scholarships/

If you are feeling inspired by Captain Johns story you can let him know by making a gift to the fund by clicking here and choosing the Captain John Nicholson Fund.  If you want to learn more about setting up a scholarship or another type of charitable fund please call Dana Bensinger at 989-731-0597 to make an appointment.