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In March of 2011, Hills Bros. Coffee and ThanksUSA kicked off the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes campaign. Coffee drinkers across the country purchased specially marked cans of Hills Bros. Coffee in support of ThanksUSA Scholarships. The campaign was huge success and over $150,000 in scholarships are being awarded to the children and spouses of our military heroes! This week, I’m honored to introduce one of the Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship recipients, Dominic Wetzbarger.

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Dominic’s father, David, dedicated 28 years of service to our nation as a member of the Army National Guard and recently retired as a Command Sergeant Major for the Recruiting Retention Battalion for the Iowa Army National Guard. Dominic is proud of his father’s military career and very appreciative of ThanksUSA and Hills Bros. for supporting our military family members.

“The $3,000 Hills Bros. Homefront Heroes/ThanksUSA Scholarship will help me with my education by providing additional financial assistance. Scholarships help college students jump-start their career because they have less debt to worry about after college. When I start my own career, I will look to helping those college students in need of financial assistance, in other words giving back to the community,” says Dominic.

Currently in his junior year of Accounting and Business Management studies at Briar Cliff University, Dominic is looking forward to graduating with honors and earning enough credit hours to sit for the CPA exam. He then plans to earn his MBA and pursue a career as an accountant.

Dominic’s interest in accounting and business management grew from his experience at Hy-Vee, Inc. He started as a cashier and quickly moved to counting drawers. He was soon working as Cash Accountability, verifying that the cash amounts, checks, coupons, and charges balanced for the entire store. Dominic takes great pride in his responsibilities and reports that seeing a register balance out is quite satisfying.

This past summer Dominic interned with Hy-Vee, giving him even more insight to the accounting details of a business. He explains, “Every aspect of a business is essential to achieve success. My internship experience made me appreciate all that accountants do.”

Although dedicated to achieving academic success, Dominic always makes time for his athletic passion, soccer. He is a member of Briar Cliff University’s Men’s Soccer Team and helps coach the Bishop Heelen Boys Soccer team. Dominic is so dedicated to the sport that he plans to obtain his license to coach youth/young adult soccer. He says, “What’s important for soccer coaches at my age to do is to set an example and be a role model to the younger generation.”

Young soccer players will certainly benefit from having such a respectable coach. The ThanksUSA team is proud to support the educational pursuits of men and women like Dominic and we encourage you to share ThanksUSA’s mission with your friends and colleagues. To learn more about our scholarship recipients, subscribe to the Scholarship News blog and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jordan Roberts is passionate about sports and wants to help professional athletes. Currently in her sophomore year at the University of Florida, Jordan has received a $3000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarship to assist her with her athletic training studies. This week, Jordan explains how a devastating injury inspired her college major.

During her freshman year of high school, Jordan suffered an ACL tear that brought her soccer season to a sudden halt. She recalls, “In the beginning, I only remember feeling defeated and angry as I sat the bench and slowly pushed through recovery. I vividly remember squeezing my eyes shut and clenching my fists as the therapists pressured my leg to work and gain full mobility. Despite the pain and frustration, I knew I had to persevere and push through all the obstacles if I ever wanted to play soccer again. September 11, 2007, exactly one hundred and eighty-eight days after my surgery. It was the day that I stepped back on the soccer field, not only physically stronger but mentally stronger as well. In that period of time, I learned that determination and passion are qualities about me that I will carry throughout the rest of my life.”

Upon earning her BS in Athletic Training, Jordan hopes to work with a collegiate or professional soccer team. As a pre-athletic training student, Jordan is completing her observational studies with the University of Florida’s women’s soccer team. “I love all sports but working with soccer as my career would be absolutely perfect,” adds Jordan.

Like all ThanksUSA scholars, Jordan is a military dependent. Her father, SMSGT Kevin Roberts, USAF (RET), dedicated nearly 25 years to the United States Air Force. Jordan reflects on her military upbringing saying, “Although I was extremely lucky and got to stay in one location for pretty much all of my school years, there were tough moments. When my dad was deployed, my mom (Geri) and I had to do things alone, and I learned to appreciate everything that I have so much. My mom was strong during everything and knowing my dad was defending our country made me so proud to have such wonderful parents.”

The ThanksUSA team extends our appreciation to Jordan’s family and all of the military families who support our nation. We will be celebrating military families during a ThanksUSA Benefit Concert on November 14th at DAR Constitution Hall. Military personnel and family members who are interested in attending can request tickets through the USO Programs Ticketline. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for this event, please email sherrykoch@thanksusa.org.

We wrap up this week’s Scholarship News with a message of thanks from Jordan to the ESA Foundation and all individuals who support ThanksUSA:

“I am so grateful to have this opportunity and cannot thank you enough for helping me pursue my dream of becoming an athletic trainer. I just want to say again how much I appreciate this scholarship. It was such a blessing!”

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Since childhood, Montana Rindahl dreamed of being a librarian. Now with the assistance of a $3000 Altria Group/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial Scholarship through ThanksUSA, she is taking the first step to achieving her goal.

Montana has fond memories of weekly family library visits beginning when she was five years old. She loved the seemingly endless selection of stories and information and quickly developed a love for books. By the time she was seven, she knew that she wanted to be a librarian.

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Though her interests have certainly grown since childhood, her love of books and the written word has never wavered. Montana is currently a freshman in the Honors Institute at Belmont Abbey College where she is studying English as a precursor to her future Library Science studies.

Upon earning her Masters in Library Science, Montana hopes to establish herself as a children’s librarian, preferably in a larger library. “I love the city and I love the military, so I know that I would be very comfortable working in either of these demographics. I would love to be a Children’s Librarian, planning activities and summer reading programs for kids of all ages,” says Montana.

Montana’s military experience is not that of the typical “brat” because her father, Reverend Captain Steven Rindahl, US Army Chaplain, did not serve in an active duty capacity until she was twelve. Being a bit older and more mature, Montana embraced the opportunities afforded by changing duty stations. She explains, “(moving) has helped me try new things and build relationships with people. Both of which have been necessary in college!”

Montana also credits her military upbringing with helping her set standards and goals for herself. She strives for excellence in all endeavors and adds, “I know that sometimes life is hard, but those times build me up and make me a better, stronger person. I learned from my dad that a job I love is the best job I could ever have. I learned through deployment that family is the most important. Because of this, I chose a college with high academic standards and students that excel in their studies.”

Certainly, Montana’s high standards have paid off. She was accepted into the prestigious  Honors Institute of Belmont Abbey College and is expected to maintain a 3.5 GPA or better…a challenge that Montana embraces with ease.

Though dedicated to her studies, Montana also has a love for sports. She plays soccer for the Belmont Abbey Crusaders and enjoys attending friends’ intramural volleyball games. Montana also enjoys the many campus activities offered to students like theater productions, movie nights, and Bible studies.

A well-rounded and enthusiastic student, Montana Rindahl is sure to inspire the next generation of young readers. ThanksUSA is honored to support Montana’s education and we wish her continued academic success!

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