Growing up in a military family, David Snider always wanted to make a difference in veterans’ lives.
And thanks to a donation by his family and the efforts of the Central Arizona College Foundation to fund the David Snider Veterans Scholarship Endowment, he will be able to accomplish that goal posthumously for years to come.
Snider, a former member of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, and all-around public servant, unexpectedly died in January. Those who knew him felt the best way to honor his memory would be to start a scholarship aimed at helping veterans or their family members.
“That was absolutely an important cause for him,” said Adam Hawkins, a member of the CAC Foundation’s board of directors. “He grew up in a military family and had a deep understanding of what veterans go through.”
Jackie Guthrie, the board’s president, said that while Snider never served in the armed forces, his life was shaped by the military experience.
“His parents were both in the armed services,” Guthrie said. “He attended American University in Beirut. He felt that because his education and his father’s was provided through the military, that made a difference in people’s lives.
“That’s why his family wanted the scholarship to be supportive of veterans, their children and spouses and partners.”
Snider’s parents both served in World War II. They met in London during the German airstrikes. Snider’s father went to college and the couple bought their first house using benefits from the GI Bill.
Snider first moved to Arizona in the 1970s, when he started working for the Parks and Recreation Department Library Division in the City of Mesa. In 1977, Snider moved to Casa Grande, where he lived the rest of his life.
Over the course of his career, Snider emerged as a subject expert in municipal government and water resources, which he used to assist Pinal County and the State of Arizona.
For 26 years, Snider served Casa Grande as library director, expanding its reach and service. During this time, the library took on a larger and more central role in the community.
He had the distinction of being the youngest president of the State of Arizona Library Association, and for three years, served on the executive board of the American Library Association based in Chicago.
Also serving as acting interim city manager on occasion, Snider was elected in 2002 to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, leading it at a time when Pinal County was among the fastest-growing counties in the nation.
Snider grew quickly into that leadership role, guiding the county to landmark decisions on water use and management. His in-depth knowledge of water issues included serving as the vice chair of the Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority, where he was known throughout Arizona.
Snider was an active consultant on water, serving on several statewide water resource commissions and boards after being nominated by successive Arizona governors.
BUILDING AN ENDOWMENT
Throughout his life, Snider remained heavily involved in the community. At the time of his death, he was president of the Casa Grande Elementary School District Board and was active with Against Abuse, a local organization that assists victims of domestic abuse.
Guthrie described Snider’s role with the group.
“He was on that board for at least 20 years,” Guthrie said. “He donated hams and turkeys to the shelters every year. He always did a lot for the families at the shelters and for the staff who worked there.”
Margaret E.C. Dooley is executive director of institutional development at Central Arizona College, helping to oversee the college Foundation. The veterans scholarship, she explained, will provide four semesters of tuition to a student who is a veteran or a spouse, partner or dependent of a veteran.
Dooley said the goal is to raise $65,000 for the endowment. So far, the college has raised $32,000, which means it will likely be another year before the first scholarship can be awarded, she said.
Donations to the David Snider Veterans Scholarship Endowment can be made out and mailed to: Central Arizona College Foundation, 8470 Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128, or online at CentralAZ.edu/give.
This story was first published in the November edition of InMaricopa magazine.