A check presentation ceremony at the USF Foundation included (left to right) Mike Chaves, executor of the estate of Dr. John Allwein; Lynda Webster, a trustee of the estate and longtime friend of Dr. Allwein's; USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska; and USF System Board of Trustees members Stephanie Goforth, Mark Lombardi-Nelson, Debbie Sembler and Chris Davis, Ph.D.

A generous gift from a military veteran to aid wounded warriors

Wounded USF St. Petersburg veterans will benefit from a generous gift to the USF Foundation from the estate of John W. Allwein, D.D.A, a St. Petersburg oral surgeon who served on the front lines during the Vietnam War and spent much of his adult life caring for veterans.

The Dr. John Allwein Scholarship for Military Veterans Injured in the Line of Duty was established in 2008. Upon Dr. Allwein’s death earlier this year, his estate provided additional funds to create a lasting legacy in support of wounded student veterans.

Dr. Allwein served in the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam, treating countless soldiers. “I witnessed firsthand what war can do to people, both physically and emotionally,’’ Dr. Allwein once said. “No matter what level of care they received for their injuries, the extraordinary trauma they endured in combat will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

After Vietnam, Dr. Allwein was a professor at Georgetown University before moving to St. Petersburg to be chief or oral surgery at Bay Pines Veterans Administration Medical Center, a position he held until he retired in 2005..

“He was a very quiet, soft-spoken individual, but his passion was taking care of veterans,” said Mike Chaves, a longtime friend and executor of Dr. Allwein’s estate. “Virtually his entire career was devoted to serving veterans.’’ He also cared deeply about education, Chaves said.

Among the USFSP students who have benefitted from Dr. Allwein’s generosity is Michael Jernigan, a Marine who was blinded in both eyes by an improvised explosive device five weeks before he was to leave Iraq. Jernigan graduated last year with a BA in history and now works as a community outreach coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

The Allwein scholarship is designed for USF St. Petersburg student veterans severely injured in the line of duty, particularly those who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, but is also open to injured veterans throughout the USF System.

“We are grateful to Dr. Allwein for his generosity and personal commitment to helping wounded student veterans achieve their dreams,” said USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska.