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On April 7, 1994, the Victor Valley lost one of its most prolific and popular athletic figures with the passing of Rick Ollar Gabrielson. At the age of 40, Gabrielson passed away the victim of an allergic reaction to an undetermined insect bite. As an athlete at Apple Valley High School, he was an outstanding in both basketball and baseball.
After graduation from Apple Valley High School, Rick was awarded a baseball scholarship to Oklahoma State where he was an All-Big 8 selection for two consecutive years. Gabrielson was drafted and signed in the 10th round in 1974, by the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Although he never achieved his goal of playing in the major leagues (AAA was his highest classification), he prospered in the Dodger organization for ten years as a player, coach, and manager. After his retirement from professional baseball, Rick returned to his high school alma mater where he excelled as a teacher and baseball coach, until his tragic death in 1994.
Although Rick Gabrielson has been defined largely by his athletic exploits, by no means was that the complete measure of the man; he was also a loving husband, father, and devoted friend. In his short time on earth, Rick enriched the lives of many, and his mantra of excellence, commitment, and honor will continue through the Gabrielson Fund “Athlete of the Year Awards and Scholarship Program”.
Following Rick Gabrielson’s passing, a group of his friends developed a memorial fund to honor his memory and legacy. This 21 year tradition honors both male and female athletes from all sports throughout the greater Victor Valley (17 schools). Currently, we give out 4 $1500 scholarships to the top male and female athletes (one male and one female from the large school category, and one male and one female from the small school category). We also honor four additional athletes with the “Award of Merit”, given with $750 scholarship. All the nominees receive a commemorative plaque, timepiece, and travel bag, showing their inclusion to this elite group of athletes.
Each year, the Gabrielson Fund honorees are presented with over $14,000 in scholarships and awards! Since 1994 over $100,000 has been given out by the Gabrielson Fund to deserving athletes. Over the years, the Gabrielson Awards and Scholarship Program have grown in stature to become the most prestigious athletic awards program in the greater Victor Valley, and one held in the highest esteem by schools, parents, and by the athletes themselves. Our goal for the future is to grow our awards program allowing us to increase the scope and size of our scholarship program. We would love to increase not only the amount of money we offer with each scholarship, but also the number of scholarships we give! With increased sponsorship and community involvement, we believe that this goal can and will become a reality. We are so grateful for your time and support!
The Gabrielson Fund is a member of the High Desert Community Foundation. For more information regarding donations, Associate Sponsorships, golf tournament sponsorships, or golf tournament information, please don’t hesitate to contact us asap!
Donations are welcomed and greatly appreciated! You may make a check to HDCF (High Desert Community Foundation) with “Rick Gabrielson Memorial Scholarship” in the memo section. Send to HDCF, 16000 Apple Valley Road C3, Apple Valley, CA 92307. You may also donate via PayPal.
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