quinebaug valley community college

The Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation recently announced that an endowed scholarship fund has been set up by a sister and brother to honor the memory of their father, his career in manufacturing, and his military service.

The John J. Sarnowski Memorial Scholarship is the gift of Lois Sarnowski Brower of Woodstock and her brother, Walter L. Sargent of Farmington. Their father, born in Bridgeport, Conn. in 1916, was a graduate of New Britain Trade School. In 1940 he started work as a machinist at the Wallace Barnes Division of Associated Spring in Bristol, Conn. He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served as a machinist mate on the USS Shadwell, which was torpedoed in the Pacific Theater during World War II, but not destroyed. Upon his honorable discharge as a machinist mate 2nd class in 1944, he returned to Wallace Barnes, retiring in 1983 after 38 years with the company. He also served in his local Veterans Association and on various town committees.

The Sarnowski family tour the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. Back row (L to R) Walter Sargent, Bill Brower, Steve LaPointe (director of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center) Front row (L to R) Sandy Sargent, President Carlee Drummer, Monique Wolanin (director of institutional advancement), Lois Brower


“The two things that meant the most to my father, in addition to his family, were his military service and his job,” said Lois Brower. Walter Sargent remembers as a child going to machining events with his father. “He loved machines,” said Sargent, commenting that the current equipment in the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center were just being thought about in his father’s day.

“All three Sarnowski children spent their careers in the field of education,” said Monique Wolanin, director of institutional advancement at QVCC. “This endowment reflects their belief, as well as their father’s, in the importance of education. That is one reason why they decided to endow this with the QVCC Foundation, whose mission is to provide access to education,” she added.

As a tribute to their father, a family man who took great pride in his job, his military service, and his country, the donors chose to endow the scholarship on Veterans Day.

Released Nov. 13, 2017