BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – Eugene Vargas has been awarded Campbell University’s 2016 President’s Heritage Award, which honors an undergraduate student who embodies the vision of Founding President J.A. Campbell through leadership and service. Vargas is a religion major from Cameron, North Carolina.
“He is a leader and a servant in the best tradition of the Campbell University presidents,” Dr. Adam English, chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, wrote in nominating Vargas for the award.
Before enrolling at Campbell, Vargas served in the military for 20 years. During that time, he was deployed seven times to countries that included Iraq, Afghanistan and Egypt.
He completed 20 hours of credit through Campbell Online before becoming a full-time student on Campbell’s main campus. Once becoming a full-time student, he immediately became involved with the Students Veterans Club.
“I have had Eugene for two classes and I have watched how he seeks out and reaches out to veteran students in class, taking a personal interest in their lives and encouraging them in their studies,” English said before presenting Vargas with the award during the Founders Day Celebration in Connections Monday morning.
Beyond Campbell, Vargas volunteers with CR Evans Ministries, a wounded warrior ministry that supports veterans and current service members. He also directs Celula de Caballeros de Cameron, an interfaith group of men who build, fix and collect furniture to give to families in need, especially single moms in the Cameron community. Six of the men in Celula de Caballeros de Cameron have become students at Campbell as a result of Vargas’ encouragement.
He is also involved with the children’s ministry at his church and helps the local Assemblies of God church with translations for children and adults who primarily speak Spanish, German, Italian and Arabic.
He and his wife, Denise, also a religion major at Campbell, support the Dreamers Foundation, as well. That organization assists children in the community to go to college with $500 scholarships.
“Eugene is an extraordinary individual,” English said.