Duane and Vicki Heine wanted to establish a $500 annual scholarship and succeeded, but the process took more work and effort than expected.

Not only did they raise thousands of dollars in a few years so they could fund it, the couple wanted it to perfectly honor their deceased daughter, Angela.

“We tried making something good out of a terrible situation, the worst thing that ever happened to us,” Vicki said.

Angela, 44, died on March 25, 2011, as a result of injuries from a two-car crash in Orlando, Fla. Heine grew up in Moxee and attended St. Joseph/Marquette and Carroll High School in Yakima.

Her Catholic faith was one of her defining qualities, her parents said. She also paid off half of her tuition at Carroll by working a variety of jobs.

This winter, the yearslong effort initiating a lasting legacy in Angela’s memory became reality, as junior Elsie De La Rosa earned the first Heine Scholarship, to be used for tuition expenses at La Salle High School.

“People have to make up the tuition,” said Vicki. “Hopefully we can build up the fund so we can give more and give a higher amount in the scholarships.”

Work on the scholarship began in 2012, and it took three years collecting enough donations from friends, family and matching contributions from their youngest son’s employer.

Scholarships do not form overnight. In order for the scholarship to reach its full potential, the Heines needed another entity for guidance and assistance. The answer was the Central Washington Catholic Foundation.

The foundation manages several named endowed funds, including the Heine fund. It also assists low-income families through tuition assistance and continued support for religious education.

“When a family decides they want to have an endowed fund, they tell us how to invest those funds, how to distribute it,” said Executive Director Kathleen Wilmes.

The Heines were told they needed a base of $25,000 to start a scholarship fund. However, a communications error gave the couple the impression they needed only $15,000. Luckily they had raised $20,000 and thus found middle ground to move forward.

“That’s been an exciting one,” Wilmes said. “Through the years, the family has received continuous support. It’s exciting that they have built up support to fund (a scholarship) in their daughter’s honor.”

La Salle Principal Ted Kanelopoulos could not be happier for the latest financial aid option. While $500 does not come close to paying tuition and fees at La Salle — not counting a $3,000 tuition subsidy, the cost of education is almost $12,000 annually — the Heines’ gesture was more than generous.

“We’re very appreciative of it,” said Kanelopoulos. “Our mission of the Diocese (of Yakima) is to make Catholic education available to anyone. We need to spend a lot of time and energy to make this school accessible. A family like this and a 
fund like this makes all the 
 difference in bridging that gap.”

Angela worked hard to pay off as much of her education as possible, whether in grade school or college, her parents said. The least the couple could do was make it easier for other students to invest in a private school education.

“We hope they can get a Catholic education and grow in their faith,” Duane said.