September 21, 2023

Volunteer Leaders Awarded

The National Volunteer Fire Council and CSU are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 NVFC-CSU Scholarships: Joseph Ondrasek, Jr. and Marc Veilleux.


Joseph Ondrasek

Each year, two scholarships are awarded to NVFC members through a competitive application process. Each award covers tuition for up to 24 months for one specific online degree program with CSU.

In addition to the scholarship opportunity, NVFC members and their spouses and children are eligible to receive a 10 percent tuition discount to CSU.

“Congratulations to Joseph Ondrasek, Jr. and Marc Veilleux on winning the 2014 CSU scholarships. We are proud to partner with Columbia Southern University to help our members reach their educational goals. To date, 12 scholarships have been awarded, and hundreds of others have utilized the NVFC member discount to CSU,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “CSU’s online format makes it easier for busy volunteers to pursue their degrees, and these opportunities for financial assistance provide needed support to make those goals attainable.”

Joseph Ondrasek, Jr. of Bryan, Texas, has been a member of the fire service since he was 16. He currently serves as fire chief of the Brazos County Precinct 4 Volunteer Fire Department, a career battalion chief with the City of Bryan Fire Department, a fire instructor at Texas A&M TEEX during their annual municipal fire school, and is on the board of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas. During his more than 30 years as a firefighter, Ondrasek’s work and family took priority over earning his degree.

“To further my education has always been a dream of mine,” Ondrasek said. “As a leader in the fire service, I believe it’s important to practice what we preach, and show that education is important and that we can always learn more and expand our knowledge.”

Ondrasek will use the scholarship to complete his associate degree in fire science, which he says is only the beginning. “When I complete this degree, it will help and enable me to focus on the next level of administration that is needed both in my volunteer and in my career fire departments,” he said.

Marc Veilleux (pictured above) of Greene, Maine, became a volunteer firefighter in 1991 and worked his way through the ranks to deputy fire chief, a position that he held for nine years, before accepting a part-time position as fire chief for Sabattus, Maine, last year. He has also taken on responsibilities with the Maine Fire Chiefs’ Association as well as an advisory member on the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code board representing life safety.

Between owning a plumbing business, being a firefighter, and raising four children, Veilleux’s busy schedule prevented him from pursuing his degree. An online format seemed like the perfect solution, but with a family to support and kids in college, finances became a concern.

“I have found that obtaining a fire science degree with a busy schedule like mine is not an easy task,” Veilleux said. “I feel that an online degree is an attainable goal with my busy schedule, but the financial aspect of the degree is where the dreams all end.”

With this NVFC scholarship to CSU, Veilleux can finally pursue a degree. Veilleux wants to transition his passion and dedication to the fire service into a full-time career chief position, and he knows that obtaining a fire science degree will help him reach his goals.

“With this National Volunteer Fire Council Scholarship I feel that I can achieve greatness and fulfill my dreams of more than 23 years by obtaining a degree, potentially landing that career position, and making a difference to a community within the area.”

The NVFC is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. Learn more and join the NVFC at