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Posts Tagged ‘Folds of Honor Foundation’

Orren_Charlotte 2012.

Navy dependent Charlotte Orren is a patriotic young woman who plans to serve our great nation as an Aerospace Engineer. She envisions more energy-efficient engines, advances in aircraft design, and sub-orbital space flights for commercial passengers. To help make her dreams a reality, Charlotte has applied her $3,000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship to continue her studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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Though her academic success is clearly her own, Charlotte reports that her father’s career was an influence in choosing her major. Commander Scott Orren, USN (Ret), amassed over 21 years of aeronautical expertise as a naval aviator and engineer. As Charlotte considered college majors, CDR Orren took the time to explain the many facets of engineering and aerodynamics.

Taking a serious interest in airframe design, Charlotte chose to major in aerospace engineering with the goal of working with industry leaders to design advanced airframe technologies for our Armed Services. Now in her sophomore year, she has an impressive GPA, represents her campus through student organizations, and is a student athlete.

Charlotte’s athleticism began with tennis at a very early age. After playing for several years though, she realized that her heart just wasn’t into it. Although she had played an occasional round of golf over the years, she hadn’t really worked on improving her game. By the age of thirteen, Charlotte began to take golf more seriously; developing skills and discipline that would carry over to her academic life. As a member of the Westview High School Girl’s Golf Team, Charlotte earned MVP honors and became a team captain.

When it was time for Charlotte to consider college, she knew that golf would remain an important factor in her post-secondary education.   With the mentoring of Head Coach Maria Lopez, Charlotte has been a member of the Embry-Riddle Eagles Women’s Golf Team since she entered college. Charlotte has a deep respect for her coach noting, “Coach Lopez saw something in me that I’m just now realizing, or seeing, in myself.”

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She has applied Coach Lopez’s patient guidance to every aspect of her life. In learning to remain positive and appreciate her own strengths, Charlotte gained great self esteem. Her newfound confidence challenged her to be more involved with campus activities and volunteerism in the surrounding community.

Team Run

Charlotte is a nominated student leader for Campus Outreach, works as a student assistant for Embry-Riddle’s Annual Giving department, and has even sung the National Anthem for Embry-Riddle sporting events! Charlotte is also an enthusiastic supporter of local charities, participating in various 5k runs and LPGA tournaments. Her favorite local event is the annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade. She is just one of many Volusia County citizens who collect and deliver food and supplies to needy area families. Charlotte adds,Knowing I could be a person’s encouragement that day just by showing kindness blows me away every time.”

Charlotte singing the National Anthem (photo by Antoine Daugny)

Charlotte singing the national anthem (photo by Antoine Daugny)

Without a doubt, Charlotte is making the most of her time at Embry-Riddle. She says, “I am learning so many valuable lessons that I would not be able to learn anywhere else.” ThanksUSA is proud to support earnest military dependents like Charlotte. You can help provide the gift of education to military families by making your tax-deductible donation today.

Charlotte at work as a Student Assistant for Annual Giving Support“I am so thankful for the Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship. Growing up in a military family, I sincerely appreciate life as it is given to me, not something that is simply mine. I truly am receiving an education of a lifetime and priceless life lessons. I would sincerely like to thank you again for helping me continue my experience at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and shaping my future to the best it can be!”

— Charlotte Orren

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Welcome back to Scholarship News! Now that ThanksUSA scholarship recipients are adjusted to campus life and have established their routines, I will post this weekly feature to introduce supporters to some of our outstanding scholars. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate sponsors, individual supporters, and fundraising campaigns, ThanksUSA was able to award over 300 scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year!

For the first installment of 2012-13, I am honored to introduce Army dependent Danielle Lomax. Danielle received a $3,000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship to continue her Public Relations and Sports Management studies at Howard University. This week, the “young urban professional with a passion for public relations, community relations, and sports management,” shares some her recent academic accomplishments and lets her military pride shine.

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Danielle was just a freshman in high school when her father, LTC Dwight Lomax, USA (Ret), deployed to Afghanistan. She recounts, “It was definitely one of the hardest experiences that I have ever had to endure. I spent an entire year cringing every time the telephone or doorbell rang. I am so grateful that my father was able to return to the U.S. safely. Some families haven’t been as fortunate as mine.”

Though he retired from the Army a few years ago, LTC Lomax’s dedication to military service continues. Dedicated to creating future leaders through education, he spearheaded the first JROTC class at Lake Braddock Secondary in Burke, Virginia.

Danielle’s pride in her father and his Army career are evident. When asked about being raised in the military, Danielle said, “My dad’s service in the US Army has awarded him with the opportunity to travel the world and meet a plethora of influential people including my amazing mother (who has also served in the US Army). He is the first member of his family to not only serve in the military but to also receive a college diploma.”

Grateful for her own opportunity to attend college, Danielle knew the importance of pursuing the right major. Since childhood, she had been interested in sports. She played soccer, learned tae kwon do, and became a cheerleader. Though her participation in multiple sports was rewarding, Danielle realized that she was much more interested in what was going on “behind the scenes.” She soon discovered that an academic focus in the field of sports management would be the perfect fit.

Currently in her junior year at Howard, Danielle has already gained valuable experience in preparation for a successful career. Last year, she served as the Athletics Coordinator for the Howard University Student Association. The role gave her the opportunity to “market” Howard’s sports program by hosting events and programs that eliminated the gap between student-athletes and the rest of the student body.

Danielle also interned with the Sports Programming department at Sirius XM. She reports, “Interning with Sirius XM provided my first glimpse of the world of sports business.” She also began a blog, American Sports Addiction (click to visit), which she explains, “exposes Internet readers to (sports) issues that don’t usually make headline news.”

Many sports enthusiasts would be envious of Danielle’s recent study abroad in London during the 2012 Summer Olympics. “Studying abroad during the Summer Olympics introduced me to the global sports market. It definitely broadened my view of the sports industry and solidified my decision of entering the sports marketing industry. Sports are one of the few commonalities that connect people from every corner of the globe,” she says.

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Broadening her education through such experiences has encouraged Danielle to consider employment outside of the United States. She explains, “As we move toward a more globalized economy, we must continue to be open to working with other cultures in foreign environments.”

Danielle will certainly be entering a more competitive job market if she seeks international employment. She has already proven herself to be a dedicated student and has made time to participate in campus organizations such as the Student Association, Honors Program, Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, Public Relations Student Society of America, and Management Leadership for Tomorrow.

Danielle maintains a balance between academics, organizational participation, and her social life through strict time management. She advises, “Whether you’re using a tablet, smart phone, laptop or an old school planner, use it to plan your day. I live by a planner. My day is programmed and synchronized from the minute that I wake up. Organization is key.”

Danielle’s discipline, work ethic, and self-motivation have helped her become the successful, confident scholar that she is today. The ThanksUSA team congratulates Danielle on receipt of her Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship and we encourage you to continue your support of military dependents like her.

“I am very grateful for organizations such as ThanksUSA. It’s no secret that the cost of a attaining an education increases each year. As a college junior in the Nation’s Capitol, I am often faced with financial hardships. The Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship will help pay for my tuition for the fall semester.” – Danielle Lomax

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The ThanksUSA team congratulates Army dependent and ThanksUSA scholarship recipient, Nicole Cook, on her recent graduation from Stevenson Unviersity! The daughter of Sergeant 1st Class, David Cook, U.S. Army (Ret), Nicole has received a total of $9,000 in Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships to help fund her elementary education studies. Nicole is eager to begin her career as a teacher and we’re happy to report that she will be joining the faculty of Carroll County Public Schools.

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Nicole’s name may be familiar to ThanksUSA supporters because of her assistance with ThanksUSA outreach events, receptions, and fundraisers. Most recently, she represented ThanksUSA scholarship recipients at the 5th annual ThanksUSA Golf Tournament at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. Prior to the event, Nicole appeared with ThanksUSA Chairman and CEO, Bob Okun, on Let’s Talk Live to speak about ThanksUSA’s mission and the golf fundraiser.

Please join us in wishing Nicole and all recent graduates well with their budding careers or continued educational journeys…our outstanding scholars deserve our support and we hope to bring you more highlights from the Class of 2012!

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In the spring of 2010, Amanda Blount was a young, expectant, Army wife. Her husband, Army Specialist William Anthony Blount, had secured mid-term R&R so he could witness the birth of his daughter. Tragically, on April 7, Specialist Blount was killed in Mosul, Iraq, when his vehicle was attacked with an IED. He died one month shy of Avery Elizabeth Blount’s birth.

Amanda & Avery Elizabeth Blount

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With the loving support of her family, Amanda Blount is pressing forward. As an Army widow and single parent, she decided to pursue her education to ensure a better future for Avery Elizabeth. With the financial assistance of a $3000 Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Amanda is a freshman in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at Pearl River Community College.

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Born and raised in Hattiesburg, MS, Amanda says that she has always wanted to give back to her supportive community. Her mother, a nurse, encouraged her to explore areas of study within the medical field and Amanda was soon drawn to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

“I was captivated by the structures of the body and its ability to recover from disease and injury,” says Amanda. She also explained the mental aspect of physical therapy adding, “Not only does physical therapy help a patient return to previous activity levels, it provides reassurance and the motivation necessary for patients to reach their goals.”

Amanda has excelled academically and plans to continue her education and earn her undergraduate business degree. Describing herself as detail oriented and business-minded, Amanda’s end goal is to manage her own physical therapy office. But for right now, Amanda is focused on her studies and providing the best life possible for her daughter, Avery Elizabeth.

Education has become such a driving force in Amanda’s life that she helped establish the SPC William Anthony Blount Memorial Scholarship at his alma mater, Petal High School. Each year, teachers at Petal High School nominate a senior who demonstrates academic and civic excellence. Amanda explained that the scholarship recipient is always kind, shows eagerness to help others, and is never boastful…qualities that her own humble hero possessed.

In Memory of Specialist William Anthony Blount, United States Army

ThanksUSA is honored to be a part of Amanda’s academic journey and though she has been through much, Amanda says, “I am quite determined. Despite my hardships, I have to do what my husband would want me to do, ‘keep my chin up.’ It’s not easy most of the time, but I have our daughter to motivate me, to give me a reason to keep pushing and make me smile.”

Are you a military spouse considering pursuing your degree? We hope that Amanda’s story has inspired and motivated you! ThanksUSA Scholarship applications are accepted every year from April 1 through May 15 and we encourage you to register for a reminder. We close this week’s Scholarship News blog with a message for the Folds of Honor Foundation from Amanda:

“Thank you for choosing me as a recipient of the Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship. It makes a huge difference to me as I study to become a physical therapist assistant. Thank you for being mindful of those who have served their country. My husband and our family have made the ultimate sacrifice. Again, thank you!”

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This week I am happy to introduce Beatriz Giraldo, a young Army spouse and mother of three who has received consecutive Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships totaling $6000. Beatriz is currently in her sophomore year of military management and acquisition studies at American Military University and is looking forward to a career assisting the military community.

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Beatriz is very familiar with the United States Army and her military pride is evident. Her father is a retired soldier and her husband, SGT Juan Giraldo, has served in the U.S. Army for almost ten years. She has first hand knowledge of the sacrifices military families make everyday to ensure that their soldier performs at his or her best.

“It is not the same to watch or hear about soldiers getting deployed as it to experience it in real life,” says Beatriz. “The emptiness a person feels the moment the plane takes off, taking with it the people who you love to a far and dangerous country can be devastating. On the bright side, as a result of deployments, strong bonds are built and people develop more resilience. My family and I have made numerous sacrifices because we are a military family. However, at the end of the day I am proud and thankful to be part of an organization that is dedicated to sacrificing so much to protect and create a better world for people worldwide.”

Though most of us, certainly ThanksUSA supporters, appreciate and understand the sacrifices of our military families, some employers are not so understanding. Like many military spouses, Beatriz has suffered the scorn of employers for taking too many personal days. These “personal days” were actually the result of being in at a new duty station with no extended family nearby, a deployed husband, and three sick children to tend to.

Because of experiences like this, Beatriz hopes that her degree will lead to a career with a military-friendly atmosphere. Ideally, she will secure a position with the Department of Defense or another military supportive organization. “My goal is to ensure that regulations, programs, and benefits are in place and implemented so that the company that I work for can be considered one of the top military-friendly companies to work for,” adds Beatriz.

Though the education of our ThanksUSA scholars is the focus of our blog, Beatriz also has some advice for those families who are supporting their injured service members. In 2009, SGT Giraldo sustained injuries during combat in Iraq. His courageous actions that day earned Sgt Giraldo a Purple Heart. “I can write a whole novel about how proud I am of my husband,” says Beatriz.

Beatriz has recently begun to accompany Juan as he seeks treatment for TBI and PTSD. She advises spouses to attend as many medical appointments and therapy sessions as possible.

“By attending these meetings, I have gotten a better understanding of what it is that my husband has gone through. Knowing such things has enabled me to be more understanding and also to know what I need to do or change to provide better support for my husband. Also, last week when one of the doctors was interviewing my husband, I would pitch in information that my husband was leaving out because of his lack of memory. At the end of the interview the doctor mentioned that he wished that wives accompanied their husbands more often because they were able to get a better understanding of everything that was going on, and in return could provide better help for the soldier.

Another piece of advice that I have is to remember that even though our spouses are injured, they are still the same people we fell in love with. With dedication, perseverance, and more than anything love, there is no reason why other spouses can’t grow old with their spouses, which is what I intend to do.”

Beatriz, the ThanksUSA team wishes you and Juan a very long, healthy, happy life together…may your Military Pride continue to shine through as you earn your degree and begin a career supporting our men and women in uniform! We leave you with a few words of thanks from Beatriz:

“I want to thank ThanksUSA and the Folds of Honor Foundation for awarding me two scholarships. In addition, I want to thank these organizations for having such programs available for military spouses. As many people know, the monthly income of a military family does not always go very far. However, thanks to organizations like ThanksUSA and the Folds of Honor Foundation, spouses like me nationwide are able to pursue their educational dreams. The sense of accomplishment and pride that I feel when my kids see me doing homework and realize the importance of college goes beyond anything words can describe.”

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