Posts Tagged ‘military pride’

Kyle Werstein wants to use his education to inspire others to take action. The recipient of a $3000 ESA foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Kyle is currently in his sophomore year of Graphic Design studies at Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Kyle Werstein with his parents, Patricia and Timothy

Kyle describes graphic design as a means for “creating timeless communication that can be applied across a variety of mediums.”  He points out that as an increasingly paperless society, “It’s an exciting time to be a designer and a communicator. We have the unique opportunity to attempt to bring hundreds of years of tradition designing on paper into the digital age.”

Kyle has already demonstrated his talent and is beginning to gain recognition in his field. Below is a recent CD cover that he designed for Minneapolis jazz artist, Cory Wong.

design by Kyle Werstein

Like most artists, Kyle’s interests are not limited to his field of study. He enjoys exploring other graphic-related arts such as painting and screen printing, while expressing his interests in the performing arts through writing and performing with a Minneapolis rock band.

When Kyle completes his undergraduate studies, he plans to continue his education by earning his masters and doctorate degrees. “I hope to eventually work my way into the field of nonprofits and community involvement, using my skills to generate awareness and involvement in great issues affecting us today,” says Kyle.

He has already demonstrated his commitment to community outreach at the campus level. As part of an internship, Kyle created a social media campaign for a non-profit Equine Therapy center. He also co-founded MCAD’s bike club which subsidizes inexpensive bicycle helmets for students and he creates communications to raise scholarship funds through the alumni relations department.

Kyle clearly demonstrates the “pay it forward” concept that ThanksUSA supporters understand so well. He notes that his military upbringing shaped him into the respectful and civic-minded young man that he is today.

Kyle’s father, Sergeant First Class Timothy Werstein, U.S. Army (Ret), served our country for nearly 25 years. Kyle’s pride shines through as he reflects on his father’s career saying, “He’s served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Qatar and left the service with a number of commendations and accolades. If anything, my dad provided me with a strong role model and someone to look up to. His career compounded his own strong work ethic, which he in turn passed on to me. Being a military child has not been something I have ever taken for granted. It’s taught me respect for civics and my country, instilled in me a worldview that far surpasses most people my age and showed me the value of sacrifice. I’m grateful every day for the experience I have had.”

Now, as a young adult, Kyle is applying his strong work ethic to his collegiate pursuits. ThanksUSA is proud to be a part of Kyle’s educational journey and we thank him for sharing with us. We close this week’s feature with a message of gratitude from Kyle:

“Receiving the $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship has provided me with a great sense of financial security. Paying for college is an extremely stressful endeavor, and your generous sponsorship has awarded me with an indescribable peace of mind. Thank you for giving an opportunity to the children of military families, as well, and recognizing the unique sacrifices we, as “Brats,” make every day. From the bottom of mine and my family’s heart, 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.



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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