26-year-old local veteran gets PG&E scholarship

May 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was a life-changing surprise for a war veteran; 26-year-old Julian Alvarez of San Lorenzo walked into a boardroom thinking he was going into a second interview for a PG&E scholarship, only to find out he was the winner.

Alvarez, a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will get up to $30,000 a year for five years to attend the college of his choice. He's taking classes at Las Positas Community College in Livermore. He still has lingering problems from concussions and a back injury.

"It's an incredible moment for me. I get to pick where I want to go to school. I won't have any of the hardships that a lot of my friends have gone through as far as financially being stable and I will actually have more time now to volunteer at the veteran's center to help out other people who have been in my shoes," said Alvarez.

He wants to transfer to Chico State or the University of Georgia and eventually get a commission as an officer in the Army with his degree.

Only 10 people out of more than 8,000 applicants were awarded the PG&E Bright Minds Scholarship. Other scholarship awards were given to a mom, a high school senior, and a homeless woman.

The nine other winners who are also getting the full ride scholarship Alvarez did will find out soon. In fact, PG&E says two more Bay Area residents will be in for a big surprise on Thursday when they find out they've won.