“My dad enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1991. I was born in ’95 so being a military family is all I’ve ever known. I was born in Hawaii and we moved to Virginia, Okinawa, two places in California, and now live in North Carolina. The only reason we’ve been able to be here as long as we have is because my dad took an unaccompanied tour in Korea so that my cousin and I could graduate from the same high school that we started at. That was tough, going into my senior year of high school. When he was extended it was hard on our whole family, but he knew it was what was best for me in the long run. There’s never a good time for your dad to be gone. I remember him going to Iraq when I was 11 or 12, and then to Afghanistan not long after that. I couldn’t talk to him every day and there wasn’t FaceTime. I’m extremely family-oriented, and not being able to call him when I wanted to was so hard. My mom held down the fort, and we made it through.
“I decided to pursue a career in the Marine Corps because of their ethos, their character, and because of my dad. I grew up going to work with him, eating at the chow hall, and I watched him with his Marines. I wanted to be – I still want to be – just like him. My dad didn’t want me to enlist like he did. He wanted me to go the officer route. I got an ROTC scholarship at the University of North Carolina, but it didn’t cover room and board, and we couldn’t afford it. When someone told my dad about The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, he encouraged me to apply for a scholarship. It covers half of my room and board, and I am going to graduate college next year completely debt free.
“I’m telling my story because I want people to know about the Scholarship Foundation. Mine is only one story, and there are countless students across the country who have benefited from the Scholarship Foundation’s generosity. Last year they gave more than 7 million dollars in post-high school scholarships to over 2,300 families. But the thing is, the Scholarship Foundation is more than just scholarships. They do what they say they’re going to do: they really serve those who serve, and I know other recipients will say the same thing. They develop us, they give us guidance, they invest so much more in us than just money. They are a part of our family and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
To learn more about the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, visit: www.mcsf.org