The LCpl Rick Centanni Memorial Scholarship is open to any Esperanza High School Senior student/athlete with plans to attend a university, college, vocational or trade school. The $1000 scholarship award is presented annually to one male and female student/athlete that meets the scholarship criteria outlined by the RCMF and Esperanza High School faculty. Additionally, the RCMF assists similar organizations with support and donations. The RCMF is a non-profit organization (Tax ID #27-2617352) per 26 USC § 501(c)3.
Proceeds benefit the Rick Centanni Memorial Fund, Kaila Cottle Trust in memory of her father SgtMaj Robert J. Cottle, Semper Fi Fund, Wounded Warrior Project, The American Legion, Fisher House and one additional military based charity of the Executive Board’s choosing.
Contact Esperanza High School Counselor Amy Selof at email@example.com
Rick is the only son of Santa Ana Police Department Gang Unit Sergeant Jon Centanni. Rick was born and raised in Yorba Linda, California and attended Esperanza High School where he played football. Raised as a proud and selfless American patriot by his father, Rick was determined to serve his country. Just weeks after graduation, Rick enlisted in the Marines and was ultimately assigned to H&S Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. In November 2009, Rick and his unit were deployed to Afghanistan on a mission to stop Taliban soldiers and supplies coming from Pakistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Tragically, while on the forward edge of our nation’s defense Rick and 27-year Marine Corps Veteran Sergeant Major Robert J. Cottle were killed in action on March 24, 2010 in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
Rick was an outgoing, funny, and earnest person who was an inspiration to many people throughout his life. Rick’s football coach said that Rick “played with so much joy and enthusiasm. He was a great teammate and it’s no surprise at all to me that he chose to join the one other thing with as much camaraderie – the U.S. military.” Rick’s enthusiasm and love for his country was so great it inspired Five other Esperanza High School classmates to join the Marines. Roger Malcolm, Adam Thate, Joey Patterson, Kyle Martin and Ryan Byrnes. Two of them, Kyle Martin, and Adam Thate were assigned to the same Battalion and continue to carry on Rick’s mission.
Rick was smart, motivated and always ready for a challenge. His stated goal in life was to become a Santa Ana Police Officer, just like his father Jon. He had enlisted in the Reserves with that in mind. Rick planned to graduate from college and apply as soon as he was able to. As a man of integrity, honor, and courage, Rick would have made an outstanding Santa Ana Police Officer.
Jon Centanni said Rick was a blessing to him, a great man who made him proud. Jon said that he would like Rick to be remembered as a pround Marine who died doing what he loved, protecting our country from people who would cause us harm. Jon fully supported the mission that his son was engaged in and this tragic incident only reinforces his belief that our country needs to complete that mission. Rick and Sergeant Major Robert J. Cottle sacrificed their today for our tomorrow and for this we will remain eternally grateful.
Meet the dedicated and passionate volunteers that keep things running at RCMF.
All board members are non-paid volunteers committed to keeping Rick’s memory alive.
Veteran Anaheim Police Department Sergeant and former United States Marine Corps Warrant Officer (.Ret) Steve served in the 4th LAR.
Veteran Santa Ana Police Department Detective. Jose is a close friend of the Centanni Family and knew Rick since he was 2 years old.
Father of Rick Centanni and retired Santa Ana Police Department Gang Unit Homicide/Assaults Detective-Sergeant.
Our dedicated Secretary is wife to Marine Sergeant Ernesto Dorado who was also a member of the 4th LAR with Rick.