2020 Tillman scholar to compete in upcoming annual Pat’s Run

Kevin Bubolz is a 2020 Tillman Scholar and is proud to be a part of this team.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:51 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As we count down to the 18th Annual Pat’s Run, we are looking at some of the truly impressive scholars who benefit from fundraisers like these. The Tillman Scholars have one common goal: to ultimately make this world a better place.

Kevin Bubolz is a 2020 Tillman Scholar and is proud to be a part of this team. “Pat is the definition of humble leadership and selfless service, and just having some sort of connection directly to him and a legacy to live up to is incredible,” Bubolz said.

Bubolz began his military career by enrolling in the ROTC. During his time as a helicopter pilot in the Army, he developed a passion for mentoring. He took those flying skills and become an instructor and commanded the army’s only Chinook flight school.

A key member of his team while deployed had a very important job, service dog Zach. “He wasn’t like a normal military working dog. He was there specifically to be pet on and to be loved and to spread happiness and joy,” Bubolz said. Zach offered something Kevin noticed was vital to the mental health of his team.

“This dog is right up and down the helicopter wagging its tail. And there’s like the faces just light up. And it’s like, you can tell that there’s just something special about a dog and even in some of the worst situations it can bring out the best in people,” Bubolz said.

Bubolz said realized the impact of animal-assisted interactions, and his focus changed. He left the military and got his MBA. Today he has his own marketing consulting company and a new canine partner named Ellie who volunteers by his side visiting schools as part of “Tail Waggin Tutors”.

“That program specifically brings a new level of excitement to reading, and it’s a non-judgmental setting. Ellie, as a dog, is not going to judge someone if they get a word wrong, and it’s just a great way for them to practice reading,” explained Bubolz.

He is just one of 754 Tillman Scholars. While many may associate a scholarship as only a monetary gift, he says that being part of this organization has a greater meaning for him. “It’s just much more than what people see as a scholarship. It’s a way of bringing together communities from all walks of life and under this common mission and goal to have a positive impact.”

That is something Bubolz says is an investment in our future. Although the pandemic forced Kevin and Ellie to cut down on in-person volunteering, the pair did find a way to spread joy on social media. Because of that, they have and continue to interact with millions of people whom they would otherwise not have a connection to.