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Posts Tagged ‘milspouse’

In 2005, Laura Gomez-Clinton learned that her husband, SSG Juan Hernandez, had been injured while serving in Iraq. She spent the next two years by his side as he recovered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Though his physical wounds eventually healed, SSG Hernandez could not overcome his PTSD. He passed away in October 2009, leaving Laura to raise their children, Abby and Aaron.

Laura was suddenly a 26-year-old widow with two young children. She took the time to mourn, but quickly realized that she needed to take control of her life and provide for her children. She thought about the care and attention that her husband had received from the nursing staff at Walter Reed and decided that she, too, could offer that support to others.

In 2010, Laura enrolled in Emory University. With the assistance of a $3,000 Heartland 4 Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship, Laura is just a few months away from completing her Nursing degree. This May, she will graduate from Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing with her BSN.

Laura has excelled academically and has already been offered full-time employment in the Emergency Department of Spalding Regional Hospital and the OR at Emory University Midtown Hospital. She says, “The hardest part is behind me. I am so proud of my husband’s service and I know that he would be proud of what I have accomplished for our family. Knowing that I have the support of this scholarship means so much to me. Thank you!”

Laura is one of five scholars to receive the Heartland 4 Heroes/ThanksUSA scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year. Heartland 4 Heroes and ThanksUSA will be holding their 2nd Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser, in conjunction with Red Cloud Food Services, Inc. on April 7, 2014, at The Governor’s Club in Brentwood, Tennessee. 

Heartland 4 Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarships benefit the spouses and children of those serving in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

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Frances KarnuthWhether you’re military or civilian, we’ve all had those overwhelming moments that just seem impossible to overcome. This week’s featured ThanksUSA scholar, Frances Karnuth, has a very inspirational outlook on those moments. “You can sit there and be overwhelmed, or you can get up and change the situation. Your goals are much more attainable than you think!”

A Coast Guard spouse and mother of six, Frances was awarded a $3,000 Pershing Square Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship for her Psychology and Nursing majors. With the end goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, Frances is currently enrolled in both Regent University and Maryville University.

Over twenty years ago, Frances enrolled in a nursing program and was doing very well. Unfortunately, she had to take a medical leave of absence and during that time, the school closed. Although she was unable to complete the program, Frances says, “The desire to become a nurse never waned.”

Though a nursing degree was still her goal, family commitments took priority. Her husband, Franz, was beginning an active-duty career in the United States Coast Guard and the couple were starting their family.

When she was just three years old, the Karnuths’ eldest daughter, Janelle, was diagnosed with cancer. “This resulted in years of extensive chemotherapy and follow-up appointments.” Being a stay-at-home mom during those years provided the entire family with nurturing stability and consistency.

Frances has home-schooled each of her children. Over the years, she has grown to recognize different learning styles and study habits. Having to adjust a lesson plan or modify her teaching has had a very positive effect on her as a student. Frances explains, “I have a better understanding of how to adapt so that I can succeed.”

If her teaching success is any indication, Frances will have no problem succeeding as a student. Today, Janelle is a happy, healthy, young woman who is working towards a degree in Creative Arts Therapy. Son Josh is a lab technician at a package testing laboratory (he actually gets to blow things up!), while son Tim is a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. Younger children, Josiah, Eric, and Elisha still sit down and do homework at the same time as Mom. “They often see me working just a hard as they do. I learn–that’s my job!” In 2009, Franz retired from the Coast Guard after 22 years of service. He continues to serve our country as a civilian.

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Many military spouses contemplate returning to school. When asked if she had advice to offer, Frances said, “It’s easier if you’re flexible with your goals. I plan to accomplish my professional goal by working diligently towards completing smaller goals.”

Setting those smaller goals is certainly working to her advantage. Frances will earn her Associates Degree in Psychology this spring from Regent University and will transfer to Maryville as a full-time student seeking dual Bachelor degrees in Nursing and Psychology.  She explains, “By including both physical and psychological aspects to my training as a nurse practitioner, I will be better equipped to understand the medical needs of my patients.”

With encouragement from her loving family, the military community, and ThanksUSA supporters, Frances will continue to succeed. She is appreciative of the Pershing Square/ThanksUSA scholarship and says, “Your gift helps me financially and has provided a much-needed dose of emotional encouragement. It is wonderful knowing that others have faith in me. Thank you again–I won’t let you down.”

The ThanksUSA team extends our warmest wishes to all families, military and civilian, this Holiday season. We thank you for contributing to ThanksUSA scholarships in 2013 and encourage you to support the educational goals of military spouses, like Frances, by making your tax-deductible donation to ThanksUSA today.

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Craig ThurberIf you were to ask Craig Thurber about his lifelong goal, he may simply answer, “Be better.” With the assistance of a $3,000 Lockheed Martin/ThanksUSA scholarship, the Army National Guard dependent is attending Southwestern College where he is pushing himself to be a better student, a better athlete, and an all-around better person.

A natural athlete, Craig is pursuing a degree in Athletic Training. “I intend to utilize this degree and work as an Athletic Trainer while going to Physical Therapy school. I enjoy helping others and am excited to work in a health care/sports environment.” To compliment his studies, Craig is actively involved with various sports teams. He’s a linebacker for the Southwestern Moundbuilders and will play intramural basketball in the offseason.

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Craig with his biggest fans–his sisters!

Though sports and education are important to Craig, family is paramount. In 2006, Craig’s stepfather, MSG Bernard Deghand, was killed in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan. Only ten years old at the time, Craig challenged himself to be a father figure to his youngest sister. He developed a drive to succeed and lead by example, a drive to “be better.”

Craig mentions that he would want his stepfather to be proud of the man he is becoming. “I honor his memory by kneeling and talking to him on the football field right before each game. I also have a photo of him in my dorm room. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

There is no doubt that MSG Deghand would be proud of Craig. He is succeeding as a scholar, an athlete, and a positive role model to his sister and fellow athletes. ThanksUSA is honored to award scholarships to deserving students like Craig Thurber.

“Thank you very much for supporting me and helping me to be better.” — Craig Thurber, Southwestern College class of 2017

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ThanksUSA Scholarship Application Season Opens for 2013: Hundreds to be Awarded 

Children and spouses of U.S. troops are invited to apply for ThanksUSA scholarships beginning April 1, 2013.  The organization’s eighth annual application season helps military families pursue a university, college or post-secondary vocational education.

“These scholarships reflect Americans’ gratitude for the commitment and sacrifices of our military men and women and their families,” said ThanksUSA CEO and Chairman Bob Okun.  “The gift of education is our way of saying thanks for their service.”

ThanksUSA provides need-based scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty personnel across all the Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves, as well as families of the fallen and wounded.  Applications will be accepted through May 15, 2013 online at www.ThanksUSA.org.

ThanksUSA has awarded 2,800 scholarships so far and expects to exceed 3,000 scholarships by the end of 2013.

“In past years, we’ve received thousands of requests during the six-week application period –  a clear indication of the support our military families need,” said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork.  “We expect an equally strong response in 2013. Our aim is to benefit 500 new recipients who most need and deserve the opportunity to transform their lives, but lack the resources to do so.”

The 500 ThanksUSA scholarships are valued at $1.5 million in total and are made possible by continuing campaigns and events.

  • Tennis Thanks the Troops – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is championing this campaign for a second year, calling on its members, pros and tennis enthusiasts to participate in tournaments, raffles and other activities to benefit ThanksUSA starting Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year.
  • Stevens Commemorative Scholarships – 2013 marks the third year of scholarships in honor of the late Senator Ted Stevens.  An additional 40 scholarships are expected to be announced at a special event honoring the late Senator and other Congressional World War II veterans.
  • Kaplan University Support – Also entering its third year as a ThanksUSA partner is Washington-based Kaplan University. Kaplan University provides a full scholarship to attend the school as well as a number of partial scholarships to cover 55 percent of tuition costs.  “Kaplan University is once again pleased to participate with ThanksUSA and to offer scholarship opportunities to our military families,” said Scott Kilgore, senior vice president of military affairs, Kaplan University.
  • Jackson Casey Scholarship Fund –In partnership with ThanksUSA, the Fund, whose mission is to keep the memory and spirit of Jackson Casey alive throughout the community, was created to provide need-based scholarships to the children of active-duty military from Virginia with an emphasis on Northern Virginia. Through donations and the annual Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament, the Fund raised more than $200,000 in 2012. For the 2012-2013 school year, 15 scholarships totaling $45,000 were awarded in Jackson Casey’s name.

Support for ThanksUSA’s education goals also comes from donors including Altria, Apex, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, ESA Foundation, Folds of Honor Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Intelligent Decisions, Lockheed Martin, No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, Paladin Capital Group, Pershing Square Foundation and others.

ThanksUSA was the idea of two Virginia sisters, Rachel and Kelsi Okun, who were compelled to thank our troops for defending our nation and its freedoms.  Since 2006, the 501(c)(3) non-profit has provided nearly $8.5 million in academic scholarship assistance to US military families throughout all 50 states, and all branches of service, with particular attention given to those whose loved one was killed or wounded in action.

For more information, eligibility requirements and to apply, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

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About ThanksUSA

Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information, please visit http://www.ThanksUSA.org.

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I find it inspiring that most ThanksUSA scholarship recipients report that they are passionate about their chosen field of study. When I first spoke with Nguyen Pham Seymour, I could hear this passion in her voice. Nguyen, a Marine Corps spouse, received a $3,000 LM&O Advertising/ThanksUSA Scholarship for her final year of Marketing and Psychology studies at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Just months from graduating, Nguyen is excited to share her educational accomplishments and career goals with ThanksUSA supporters.

Nguyen Pham Seymour

Nguyen first became interested in marketing when her employer challenged staff members to improve sales during the slow season. She suggested a loyalty program and volunteered to chart customer activities during implementation. Both Nguyen and her employer were pleased to see increased demand and higher client retention while competitors continued to struggle.

From that point on, Nguyen explains, “I became interested in analyzing consumer behavior during store visits. In my spare time, I would read psychology materials to gain insight about consumer behaviors. Then, I would form new marketing campaigns to capture consumers’ attention and awareness.”

For Nguyen, majoring in both marketing and psychology has been the perfect combination. “My goal,” she says, “is to have a career where I can fully utilize my analytical and quantitative skills to help businesses and organizations identify difficulties and effectively implement solutions.”

During her time at BYU-Hawaii, Nguyen has had the opportunity to work with various organizations like Deseret International, Sothys Paris, and the Sheraton and Sofital hotels. When I asked Nguyen about her favorite marketing project, she admitted that it was nearly impossible to choose, but added, “If I must (choose), I’d have to say working with Hawaii North Shore Chamber of Commerce (NSCOC) was a great experience overall. During the 6 months of working on the project, I gained tremendous insights about the marketing research process, as well as how to manage my team effectively. The NSCOC was so impressed with the result, that they asked us to present the data at the 4th Annual Hawaii North Shore Business Expo.”

Although Nguyen and her team presented their results to high-level corporate executives and Hawaiian decision makers, she says, “The best part is that businesses of all sizes can implement the results from our study to become more effective in their marketing communication efforts.”

Though she is very talented and has the education and experience to raise the profits of a potential employer, Nguyen is hardly driven by dollar signs. Instead, the devoted Marine Corps spouse is more concerned with using her strengths to help her extended military family.

She is currently in the process of building a website devoted to post traumatic stress disorder resources. With many of our active duty and retired military members suffering from PTSD, Nguyen wants to provide victims, family members, friends, and their entire support network with the latest information. She also has plans to provide innovative marketing methods and brand management training to small and mid-size businesses operated by military members and military dependents. “As a life-time member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi, I hope to reach and change as many lives as possible and give back to those who serve and sacrifice for our nation,” she adds.

As the spouse of CPL Michael Blake Seymour, USMC, Nguyen understands sacrifice. “There is no amount of training that will prepare you to be a Marine’s wife. One thing I have learned is that anything can happen at any given moment and I need to be prepared when he leaves. Be it deployment, training, duty, there is no such thing as certainty when you are the wife of a Marine,” she remarks.

Corporal and Mrs. Michael Blake Seymour

Corporal and Mrs. Michael Blake Seymour

Aside from the stresses of military life, the Seymours are dealing with a personal health issue. Diagnosed with the rare Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, Blake recently underwent a complicated surgery. Nguyen was relieved to report that her husband has fully recovered, returned to work, and would eventually like to start a non-profit dedicated to WPW patients.

For now, the couple is planning for their next transition. Nguyen will graduate from BYU-Hawaii in April with degrees in both Marketing and Psychology, with a minor in Economics. She is proud to announce that she has accepted a position with Goldman Sachs and will start her new career in the summer. Before then, Nguyen and Blake plan to devote a month volunteering in Asia and the Pacific. What a great way to celebrate all that she has accomplished!

I hope that all ThanksUSA scholarship recipients will remain passionate about their chosen field. If you truly love what you’re doing, you’ll live a very happy life. On behalf of the entire ThanksUSA Team, I wish all of our supporters, scholarship recipients, and military families a very Happy New Year!

“I’d like to say “Thank You” for the generosity and thoughtfulness of the sponsors that allow ThanksUSA to accomplish its mission in supporting military personnel and their family members, who pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”  — Nguyen Pham Seymour

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Hundreds of Military Children and Spouses to Receive College Scholarships
in ThanksUSA’s Seventh National Competition

Washington, DC, March 30, 2012 – The seventh annual ThanksUSA scholarship application season opens on April 1, 2012, giving families of U.S. troops the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. This year’s competition boasts more support than ever, thanks to new sponsors and fundraising events.

A charitable effort that mobilizes Americans of all ages to “thank” our active-duty service men and women, ThanksUSA provides scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel across all the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves and the families of the fallen and wounded. Applications will be accepted through May 15, 2012, online at www.ThanksUSA.org.

“We are thrilled to be offering scholarships to university, college, and vocational school students, marking our seventh year in this national campaign to thank our troops by giving the gift of education to their families,” said Bob Okun, chairman and CEO of ThanksUSA. “This year we are buoyed by new partners and events, including Hills Brothers Coffee, our Irish-American Awards, a country music benefit concert and the ‘Tennis Thanks the Troops’ campaign.”

Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes – Hills Bros. Coffee has partnered with ThanksUSA on a nationwide drive to help dozens more applicants win individual scholarship awards of $3,000 each. “Hills Bros. Coffee is proud to support the efforts of ThanksUSA and sponsor 50 scholarships for military families through the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes campaign,” said Sarah Mullin, brand manager of Hills Bros. Coffee.

Irish-American Public Service Awards – ThanksUSA held their inaugural Irish-American Public Service Awards in March, sponsored by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. The St. Patrick’s Day celebrations honored Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Governors Jim McDonnell (R-VA) and Martin O’Malley (D-MD) for their outstanding public service on the national stage and in their respective states and for their dedication to America’s service men and women.

• “Tennis Thanks the Troops” – The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic (USTA Mid-Atlantic) will jointly champion “Tennis Thanks the Troops” to benefit ThanksUSA. Over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year, tennis enthusiasts will be able to participate in a number of tournaments and activities with a minimum donation of $5. “Tennis pros, players and fans will be giving back to our troops by enjoying the sport they love,” said Tim Heckler, CEO of USPTA. “Raising our rackets for our military heroes and their families is our way of showing how much we appreciate their sacrifices both in the world’s hot spots and at home.” The Bryan Brothers “Tennis Thanks the Troops” PSA will begin running on the Tennis Channel in April.

Country Music Benefit Concert – The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and ThanksUSA will hold a concert in support of military families to kick off the NAB Show in Las Vegas in April. The concert will feature country music talents Rodney Atkins and a performance by Texas and Nashville singer-songwriter Lucas Hoge.

Second Year Scholarships – This year marks the second year of scholarships in honor of the late Senator Ted Stevens and another generous donation from Kaplan University. “Military families have sacrificed tremendously during the last 10 years, and they ask for little in return,” said Scott Kilgore, senior vice president of military affairs, Kaplan University. “These scholarships will help enable them to pursue their educational goals. It’s an honor to work with ThanksUSA in providing this opportunity again in 2012.”

ThanksUSA was launched by two Virginia girls who wanted to thank our troops for defending our nation and its freedoms. Since its inception in 2006, the 501(c)(3) non-profit, has provided nearly $7.5 million in scholarship assistance to military families throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with particular attention given to those whose loved one was killed or wounded in action.

“The generosity of the American spirit is wonderful. Every year individuals, foundations and our partner corporations make it possible to support our military families who give each of us so much through their selfless service,” said Michele Stork, executive director of ThanksUSA. “In 2012 we look forward to awarding up to 500 scholarships, totaling $1.5 million.”

Continued support for ThanksUSA’s education goals comes from donors including the ESA Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Folds of Honor Foundation, No Greater Sacrifice Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Paladin Capital Group, the Apollo Group, the Rumsfeld Foundation, CSC, Intelligent Decisions, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and others.

For more information, eligibility requirements and to apply online, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

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About ThanksUSA
Founded in the fall of 2005, ThanksUSA, a non-partisan 501(c) (3) organization, is an effort to thank the men and women of our armed forces and their families for their service to the country with the gift of education. The organization provides need-based, post-secondary education opportunities to the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel through competitive scholarships. For more information visit http://www.ThanksUSA.org.

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This past Wednesday, friends and supporters of ThanksUSA gathered in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the legacy of the late Senator Ted Stevens while raising funds to support the second year of Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarships to be awarded through ThanksUSA.

The Honorable Ted Stevens was the U.S. Senator from Alaska and was the longest-serving Republican in the United States Senate. He served continuously from 1968 to 2009. Senator Stevens enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943 and served in the China-Burma-India Theater with the Fourteenth Air Force Transport Section and received the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1964, and became House majority leader in his second term. In 1968, he was appointed U.S. Senator to Alaska after the death of Senator Bob Bartlett. He held many leadership roles in the Senate, including Assistant Republican Leader (Whip) from 1977 to 1985, and Senate President Pro Tempore in 2003, and chaired many committees in his senatorial career, including Appropriations and Commerce.

Staffer for Congressman Young, Catherine Stevens, Sid Ashworth of Northrup Grumman, Maj Gen Pete Proctor, USA (Ret)

We extend our warmest appreciation to Mrs. Catherine Stevens, widow of the late senator, for joining active and retired military personnel, members of Congress, and ThanksUSA team members for this special fundraising event.

ThanksUSA Scholarship recipient, Jennifer Benecke, attended with her husband, Chief Petty Officer George Benecke, U.S. Navy, and thanked those in attendance for their continued support of ThanksUSA. In a few months, Jennifer will graduate from the University of Maryland: University College with a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently making plans to attend graduate and, eventually, hopes to work as a counselor to military veterans.

Jennifer and George Benecke with ThanksUSA's Michele Stork

Thanks to the generosity of ThanksUSA sponsors such as EADS and Lockheed Martin, ThanksUSA will once again honor the memory of Senator Stevens by awarding 40 Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarships, valued at $3,000 each, to the children and spouses of U.S. military personnel pursuing post-secondary school education.

Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year are sponsored by EADS, Lockheed Martin, Rumsfeld Foundation, Altria, Northrup Grumman, TimeWarner, Express Scripts, General Dynamics, GE, Association of the United States Army, and Boeing.

Please visit the ThanksUSA Facebook page to view additional photos from the luncheon.

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