Four students in the auto collision and management technology program at Texas State Technical College have been nationally honored for their academic work.
Three students---Hector Corujo of Killeen, Anderson Merchant of College Station and Justin Romero of Waco---are military veterans who received 3M Hire Our Heroes tool grants valued at $4,500 each. Romero also received a $2,000 scholarship from the 3M Hire Our Heroes program. A fourth student, Jannifer Stimmel of Marlin, received a PPG Foundation automotive refinishing scholarship.
All of the students will receive the Sears Votech tool grant, which includes an industry-size tool box.
The recognitions are sponsored by the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division and the Collision Repair Education Foundation. Corujo, 34, is working toward an advanced technical certificate in auto collision refinishing after having graduated in December with an Associate of Applied Science degree in auto collision and management technology - refinishing specialization.
After having received a scholarship and tools last year, Corujo said he did not think he had a chance of being recognized this year.
"It takes the financial burden off me to buy tools," Corujo said. "Last year I was able to buy a paint suit, safety glasses and other items."
Corujo moved as a teenager from Puerto Rico to Florida, where he graduated from high school. The Killeen resident spent 14 years in the U.S. Army and worked as a light-wheel vehicle mechanic. His Army stint included three tours of duty in Iraq.
Merchant, 26, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in auto collision and management technology - refinishing specialization. He said he has enjoyed working with the instructors and using his hands in the program's labs.
He said the tool grant will help him progress in his interest to do classic car restoration after graduation.
"It is going to be a huge help," Merchant said. "When I came here, I was essentially living off the GI Bill. I did not have many tools."
Merchant said his goal is to use what he has learned to do a complete restoration of a 1952 Chevy dually.