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Posts Tagged ‘ThanksUSA’

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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With the assistance of ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000, Michelle Spradlin earned her degree from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 2012. Over the years, she has represented ThanksUSA scholars at outreach events and even contributed to this year’s ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt 9. Michelle is happy to share the following update with fellow ThanksUSA Alumni and Friends:

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Michelle & Eddie Spradlin

ThanksUSA has helped me fulfill more than my educational goals. During my husbands first deployment to Iraq, I was led to make a career change. I had worked in banking all of my adult life, but my calling was to work in the educational field.

ThanksUSA helped support me financially as I attained my degree to become a teacher. This is my second year in the classroom and I have the privelege of substituting for two long-term materninty leaves in the same grade. Actually, the classrooms are next door to each other. Some of the students I am working with this year, I had last school year in ESL and/or Math Intervention, which has been very helpful.

At the beginning of this school year, I was disappointed that I had not been hired to be a full-time classroom teacher, but it has worked out in my favor. My husband has recently returmed from the Share Initiative Program in Atlanta, Georgia. We are learning to make adjustments he needs to “really live” with PTSD, TBI and long term back issues. Working in the school system also allows me to be on our daughter, Kiley’s schedule, which I am very grateful for.

A way that Kiley and I have found to be able to cope with my husband’s injuries is to serve others. We have always spent time together doing mission projects at home. However over Christmas break, we went on our first international mission trip to Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. Not only was it an eye opening experience for a thirteen year old, but it was for me too.

I am grateful my husband is recovering from war related illnesses, we have each other, a home and live in a safe country. As my husband continues to improve, my daughter and I are planning to spend more time at the orphanage. This summer, I will volunteer to teach English in the orphanage school. I am currently taking the last college class needed to be a certified ESL (English Second Language) teacher.

Someday, I pray that my husband will be able to travel with me to do more international missions and perhaps adopt children. We always wanted more children, but due to deployments and his injuries, we were unable. I believe knowledge is power and having a formal education has fulfilled my dreams of being a teacher, being on our daughter’s schedule, to be home more than I was with my previous employer, and to be able to serve others. I am very thankful for ThanksUSA. It has allowed me to try to become the person that I want to be.

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IMG_0848Congratulations to ThanksUSA alumni Shandiin Sam on her December graduation! Since 2010, Shandiin was awarded ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University.

Shandiin had an exciting senior year at ASU, studying abroad in France and volunteering with the student-led health and development organization, Global Brigades.

As a member of ASU’s Medical & Dental Brigade, Shandiin travelled to Honduras where she assisted with patient triage, dispensing vitamins, and teaching children how to brush their teeth.

Shandiin reports that although the dental team spent about six hours each day treating patients, they just didn’t have enough time to see everyone. “As we would start to pack everything and have to cut-off triage, the dentist would try to get two or three more patients in before packing up.”

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Because of diet and lack of basic dental hygiene supplies like toothbrushes and toothpaste, the majority of patients were seen for tooth decay. In the United States, dentists typically attempt to save a tooth with a filling or cap. Shandiin explained that the majority of patients seen by Global Brigades volunteers preferred extraction and dentures because long-term care would be less costly and easier to maintain.

Shandiin admits that her time in Honduras was exhausting, but well worth the effort. Although she admits, “I could never be a dentist after shadowing him (the volunteer Global Brigades dentist). The human mouth seems more gruesome to me than a broken bone or surgery, but it was still a rewarding experience!”

With plans to attend medical school and travel the globe helping others, Shandiin will likely have a lifetime of rewarding experiences. She is currently seeking employment as a medical technologist while she prepares for the MCAT.

We love to hear from ThanksUSA Alumni and share updates like this! Current and past ThanksUSA scholarship recipients are encouraged to join the ThanksUSA Alumni and Friends Facebook page to connect with fellow scholars and the ThanksUSA team.

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NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING 2014 PRESENTED BY
SPRINT THIRD RETURNS ANNOUNCED

Stephen Curry Takes Over Second Place in West Backcourt Voting

Final Update before Balloting Concludes on Jan. 20

NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2014 – LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead their respective conferences, and are separated by only 21,854 votes, after the third returns of NBA All-Star Balloting 2014 presented by Sprint. James, the top overall vote-getter with 1,076,063 votes, is followed in the Eastern Conference by the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George. Durant (1,054,209) is followed in the Western Conference by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.

The 63rd NBA All-Star Game will be exclusively televised on TNT from New Orleans Arena on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The All-Star Game, also broadcast live on ESPN Radio, will collectively reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

James, George (899,671) and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (702,869) pace the Eastern Conference’s frontcourt players. The Heat’s Dwyane Wade (718,109) and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (652,522) lead Eastern Conference backcourt players.

Durant is joined in the frontcourt in the West by the Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard (509,116) and the L.A. Clippers’ Blake Griffin (500,964), with the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love (483,031) making a strong push for a starting spot. Bryant (844,538) and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (677,372) pace all Western Conference backcourt players.

Balloting concludes on Monday, Jan. 20, and starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, Jan. 23, during a special one-hour edition of the Emmy Award-winning pregame show Inside the NBA at 7 p.m. ET. The special will air prior to TNT’s exclusive doubleheader featuring the Los Angeles Lakers at the Miami Heat (8 p.m. ET) and the Denver Nuggets at the Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET). Reserves will be announced on Thursday, Jan.30, also on TNT.

NBA All-Star Balloting 2014 presented by Sprint gives fans around the world the opportunity to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for NBA All-Star Game 2014. This year, the NBA expanded social media voting to include Instagram. Fans can use Instagram to vote by posting an original photo, using #NBABallot and the player’s first and last name in the photo caption. Fans can vote for 10 unique players per day.

For the second year in a row, NBA fans can vote via social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblog in China. Twitter voting allows fans to tweet a vote for 10 unique players each day throughout the All-Star balloting period. The tweet must include the player’s first and last name, along with hash tag #NBABallot. Facebook voting allows fans to comment on official league, team, or international NBA All-Star Facebook pages by commenting below the post with #NBABallot and the player’s first and last name. Voters can select 10 unique players per day.

NBA fans can also access the ballot and vote through the NBA Game Time and NBA Game Time from Sprint applications, available on Android and iOS. Fans can fill out one full ballot per day, through the NBA Game Time and NBA Game Time from Sprint application, the most comprehensive app in the marketplace for NBA fans.

There are several other ways fans can cast their votes as part of this season’s all-digital program including: in 11 languages on NBA.com/asb, through SMS voting by texting the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”) or by visiting NBA.com/asb on any wireless device. Fans can vote for 10 different players per day, per phone number, via SMS voting by sending 10 separate SMS messages, each one with a different player’s last name. Message and data rates may apply. Voters can fill out one full ballot per day on nba.com/asb from a desktop or mobile browser.

NBA All-Star 2014 in New Orleans will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 12th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 30th year of All-Star coverage. State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature Sears Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk. Other events at NBA All-Star 2014 will include the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, and NBA All-Star Jam Session. The 2014 game will mark the second NBA All-Star celebration in New Orleans. The city also hosted the event in 2008.

NBA ALL-STAR 2014 BALLOTING PRESENTED BY SPRINT

Eastern Conference

Frontcourt
1. LeBron James (Mia) 1,076,063
2. Paul George (Ind) 899,671
3. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 702,869
4. Roy Hibbert (Ind) 385,964
5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 304,986
6. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 164,021
7. Joakim Noah (Chi) 128,201
8. Andre Drummond (Det) 120,844
9. Tyson Chandler (NYK) 101,637
10. Jeff Green (Bos) 96,336
11. Luol Deng (Cle) 90,730
12. Carlos Boozer (Chi) 80,271
13. Paul Pierce (BKN) 72,581
14. David West (Ind) 61,612
15. Brook Lopez (BKN) 58,477

Backcourt
1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 718,109
2. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 652,522
3. Derrick Rose (Chi) 323,099
4. John Wall (Was) 278,516
5. Ray Allen (Mia) 190,086
6. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 133,448
7. Deron Williams (BKN) 95,309
8. George Hill (Ind) 89,428
9. Lance Stephenson (Ind) 77,364
10. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 68,985

Western Conference

Frontcourt
1. Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,054,209
2. Dwight Howard (Hou) 509,116
3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 500,964
4. Kevin Love (Min) 483,031
5. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 404,793
6. Tim Duncan (Por) 385,342
7. Anthony Davis (NO) 223,956
8. Pau Gasol (LAL) 207,213
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 192,616
10. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 156,792
11. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 148,604
12. David Lee (GS) 141,509
13. Chandler Parsons (Hou) 135,387
14. Omer Asik (Hou) 101,372
15. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 91,859

Backcourt
1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 844,538
2. Stephen Curry (GS) 677,372
3. Chris Paul (LAC) 651,073
4. Jeremy Lin (Hou) 471,980
5. James Harden (Hou) 338,788
6. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 260,499
7. Tony Parker (SA) 195,328
8. Damian Lillard (Por) 162,363
9. Klay Thompson (GS) 108,404
10. Ricky Rubio (Min) 97,265

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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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With a passion for the environment, Haley Schaeffer plans to advance upon the work of great conservationists like Jane Goodall, Steven Amstrup, and John Muir. The Coast Guard dependent was awarded a $3,000 ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship to pursue her Conservation Biology Degree at St. Lawrence University.

Haley SchaefferHaley explains, “Climate Change and Environmental Devastation are two things which I have become personally invested in the past several years.” Before graduating high school, she had already volunteered over 1800 hours as a ZooTeen at the Oregon Zoo, served as an ambassador for the Johnson Creek Watershed, and was president of her high school’s Conservation Corps. .

This past summer, Haley traveled to Costa Rica where use volunteered with the Sea Turtle Restoration Center. When the fall term started, she was eager to involve herself in campus activities that would supplement her major. She joined the Environmental Action Organization which works to keep the St. Lawrence campus environmentally responsible. “We attended the national Powershift Conference, which really helped to open my eyes to how most of the social and environmental issues prevalent today are connected. It was great to see so many people who are taking action!”

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Taken in Costa Rica near the Sea Turtle Restoration Center

Haley is also embracing the natural beauty of the surrounding Adirondacks. She enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking, as well as working on local communes. “Being involved in nature inspires me to do my part to protect the ecosystems that I am in.”

Haley’s father, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Daniel Schaeffer, retired from the Coast Guard after serving during a span of over thirty years. “I respect him and am proud of his contribution to our armed forces. It makes me even more driven to do my part to protect our natural environment as he did the people and resources of our rivers and coast lines.”

Ultimately, Haley plans to continue her education, earning a Master’s in Wildlife Management and a Doctorate in Conservation Biology and Ecology. Since Haley’s experiences thus far have only strengthened her desires to advance conservation efforts, the ThanksUSA team is confident that she will reach her goals and likely inspire fellow students along the way.

“Since being named a recipient of the ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, my dream of majoring in Conservation Biology is becoming a realty. Thank you so much again for your contribution! I could not have attended this school if it were not for kind people and organizations such as you.”

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Today is #GivingTuesday and ThanksUSA has joined with thousands of non-profits around the country to celebrate this national movement dedicated to celebrating giving and volunteering.

Together we can support the men and women of the U.S. military by providing their families with the gift of a college scholarship.

Give The Gift of Gab

Donate your Facebook status or Tweet – tell your friends about how you support military families with ThanksUSA
Follow ThanksUSA on social media
Twitter – @ThanksUSA
Facebook /ThanksUSA
Share your #unselfie on social media – Take a pic, tag it #unselfie #givingtuesday and #ThanksUSA and upload it to your social networks.

Unselfie

Help us give a gift that will last well beyond the holiday season.

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THANKSUSA ANNOUNCES NINTH ANNUAL TREASURE HUNT CHALLENGE

November 26, 2013, Washington, DC – ThanksUSA and their partner the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation today announced the launch of the ninth annual ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt (TH9), a free, fully interactive digital trivia and puzzle game about U.S. history, culture and values. The hunt supports ThanksUSA’s annual scholarship fund to benefit the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel by providing need-based scholarships for two-year or four-year colleges, vocational or technical schools. The focus of this year’s hunt will be the United States Bill of Rights.

The digital trivia game will be assessable starting Thanksgiving Day, November 28. Participants will be quizzed on the Bill of Rights’ history, purpose and implications on American life. It is the first of six Treasure Hunt chapters available for free online (www.thanksusa.org) and via mobile application.

“Treasure Hunt 9 promises to be one of our most challenging contests ever, engaging students and their families across the country while reminding them of the sacrifices of our troops,” said ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork. “The ESA Foundation’s continued support for the contest and scholarships will help ThanksUSA cross the $10 million mark in scholarships.”

The ESA Foundation has underwritten the annual Treasure Hunt series for five years and also funds 25 “ESA Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships” annually. Since its inception in 2005, more than 12,000 Americans have engaged in ThanksUSA treasure hunts that reflect the nation’s history, values and culture while raising awareness and funds for the educational pursuits of military families.

“The U.S. video game industry is proud to support our nation’s troops and their families,” said Jenny Lai, vice president of the ESA Foundation. “We are proud to help educate children through the use of digital technology and bring our unique and impactful resources to augment ThanksUSA’s remarkable mission and work.”

Following the official launch of Treasure Hunt Nine on November 28, subsequent chapters will be introduced on the first of each month beginning January 1, 2014. The six-month Bill of Rights challenge will close on May 31, 2014, and will be followed by a summer bonus round slated for July 4 – August 15, 2014.

Four players who correctly answer each chapter’s questions will each receive a $250 Walmart gift certificate. A grand prize – a $500 Walmart gift card – will be drawn from the pool of individuals who correctly answer all questions in each round.

The Treasure Hunt series serves to generate attention and donations for ThanksUSA’s annual scholarship fund. Since 2006, ThanksUSA award over 3,000 need-based scholarships valued at nearly $10 million to families representing all branches of the armed services across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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ThanksUSA_Logo_1About 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 www.ThanksUSA.org.

PrintAbout the ESA Foundation
The ESA Foundation was created by the American interactive entertainment software industry to support and provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America’s youth. The Foundation is fully supported by proceeds from industry projects and and its annual fundraiser, “A Nite to Unite – for Kids.” For more information about the ESA Foundation, please visit www.ESAFoundation.org

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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Marine Corps spouse and ThanksUSA scholar MaKenna Arrigo! Earlier this year, with the assistance of a $3,000 Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship, MaKenna completed her Psychology studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, earning Cum Laude honors.

Although her husband, Sergeant Christopher Arrigo, USMC, was deployed at the time, MaKenna’s mother, Marilyn Hughes, and her grandfather, Michael McDonough were in attendance to support their graduate.

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“It was the one of the happiest days of my life and also one of the most emotional as I wished my late father and my deployed husband could have been there.”

The military has always been part of MaKenna’s life. Her grandfather served in the Army during the Korean War and her father, CWO Robert Buotte, dedicated over 28 years of service to the Coast Guard before his unexpected passing in 2010.

Now that she has earned her BA in Psychology, MaKenna has been busy making plans for graduate school. Ultimately, she would like to pursue a career as a social worker within the military community.

MaKenna_Arrigo 2012

“As both a military child and spouse, I want to thank the supporters of the ThanksUSA organization from the bottom of my heart. The support from this organization has given me a chance to achieve an undergraduate college degree and now set my sights higher to a masters degree.”

.The ThanksUSA team congratulates MaKenna on her academic accomplishments and wishes her continued success with her graduate studies. In the coming weeks, Scholarship News readers will be introduced to the new 2013-2014 ThanksUSA scholarship recipients, so be sure to check back often.

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Concert Flyer for Red, White and Greenbrier 2013 v3

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THANKSUSA MARKS $9 MILLION MILESTONE

More than 3,000 children and spouses of U.S. troops awarded the gift of education

Mclean, VA – August 29, 2013 – ThanksUSA today announced that it has awarded more than $9 million to date in post-secondary school scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. troops. This milestone includes approximately 300 new scholarships awarded over the past week, totaling nearly $1 million in funds.

Since its founding in 2005 by sisters Rachel and Kelsi Okun, ThanksUSA has awarded over 3,000 scholarships to military families in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“We were just girls – I was 10 and Kelsi was eight – when we started looking for a way to thank our troops for all they sacrifice in keeping us safe,” said Rachel Okun, now 17. “Over the past eight years, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who feel the same and who want to help support military families through ThanksUSA.”

“We understood the importance of a good education and wanted to share our blessings with the families of our service men and women,” added Kelsi Okun, now 14. “The gift of education is the perfect way to do so.”

The Okun sisters travel the country speaking with ThanksUSA scholarship recipients in order to introduce them to Americans through video profiles and speeches. ThanksUSA’s new videos will be released at the organization’s annual gala at Washington DC’s Newseum on September 25, 2013, hosted by Lara Logan of CBS News. Tom Brokaw will be honored at the gala as will Col. Lanier Ward, survivor of a critical battle in Iraq and inspiration for ThanksUSA. Senator Roy Blunt, who represents 74 Missouri scholarship recipients, will also be honored. Senator Blunt took a personal interest in ThanksUSA as a House Member discussing the program with the troops in Iraq during the formative years of the program.

Among this year’s award recipients is Donnice Roberts, proud widow of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Casey Roberts. Donnice is pursuing dual degrees in Education and Rehabilitation Services with the end goal of working within the military community.

“I am truly grateful to ThanksUSA for this generous scholarship. I want to honor my husband’s legacy by using my education to help fellow military families. My children are learning that even through tragedy, we can overcome and succeed. With your support, I will make a difference and I will succeed.”

ThanksUSA also announced today a continuing partnership with the world-record holding doubles tennis twins Bob and Mike Bryan. The organization has established a nationwide Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign – a partnership with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) involving tennis pros, fans and local communities, and presents an online challenge called the “ ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt,” sponsored since 2008 by the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, which explore the nation’s history, culture and values.

As the battle in Iraq ends and the conflict in Afghanistan winds down, ThanksUSA plans to step up efforts to support the families of military personnel who are re-integrating into the workplace. Helping service members’ children and spouses advance their education and achieve successful careers will relieve the new pressures that challenge those who have returned home.

“Our troops and their families deserve our respect and our thanks for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 12 years,” said General George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff and ThanksUSA board member. “They have borne significant burdens to protect this country, and we cannot allow their contributions to be quickly forgotten. Their mission of defending us is, unfortunately, not over.”

About ThanksUSA
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel. For more information, visit www.thanksusa.org.

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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Navy dependent and newly commissioned Air Force officer, Allia Grace Martinez! Receiving a total of $9,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships, this amazing scholar recently earned her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences, graduating from the University of South Alabama with Cum Laude honors.

Allia Grace Martinez

Graduation day served as an exceptionally memorable day as Allia Grace was also commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Her family shared in her commissioning by pinning on her bars, while the first salute was rendered by her father, CSC Alfredo Dyune Martinez, U.S. Navy (Ret).

ThanksUSA supporters may recognize Allia Grace and her family from previous Scholarship News blog posts. Thanks to gracious contributions from Lockheed Martin, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, Charity Works, and Military Connection, Allia Grace and her brothers, Aljo Victor and Alden David, have received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $15,000!

The entire ThanksUSA team congratulates Allia Grace on her accomplishments and we wish her well as she trains for her Air Force career in Space and Missiles. We also extend our thanks to the Martinez family for sharing this special day with ThanksUSA supporters!

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“We as a family would like to, once again, express our gratitude to ThanksUSA and all the grantors who make it possible for students like our daughter finish college. Your time and generosity are greatly appreciated. We will never forget your kindness to our family. May God bless you all abundantly.”
Sincerely,
Dyune and Amy Martinez

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Stephen Curry 3rd Annual ThanksUSA Golf Tournament-1

Stephen Curry Pays it Forward After Golden NBA Season with ThanksUSA
NBA star inspires major contribution to military families from The Ron Conway Family

McLean, Va. – After finishing a spectacular year on the hardwood, NBA superstar Stephen Curry will once again raise funds and awareness for ThanksUSA, a national non-profit that provides need-based scholarships to the children and spouses of active-duty military personnel. Serving as the charity’s national spokesperson since 2010, Curry will host the third annual Stephen Curry ThanksUSA Golf Tournament on September 23, 2013, in San Francisco at the Presido Golf Course.

New to the event in 2013, ThanksUSA and Curry are pleased to welcome The Ron Conway Family as a major sponsor for this year’s golf tournament. The 25-year-old gained national fame this season as he propelled the Golden State Warriors through the early rounds of the NBA playoffs and set a NBA single-season record with 272 three-pointers.

 Stephen Curry and his father, Dell Curry, at the 2012 Stephen Curry ThanksUSA Golf Tournament


Stephen Curry and his father, Dell Curry, at the 2012 Stephen Curry ThanksUSA Golf Tournament

“After a memorable season for myself and my teammates, I hope to inspire that same kind of dedication and teamwork through ThanksUSA to help our military families reach their potential, too,” said Curry.

“Having benefited from a college scholarship myself, I know how important it is to receive the gift of education. I am excited to welcome The Ron Conway Family to this event and am looking forward to another great golf tournament.”

“Stephen energized our state and basketball fans across the country with his performance on the court this year,” said Ron Conway, an active philanthropist and technology industry angel investor at SV Angel who has funded countless startups, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Square, and Pinterest. “Stephen is a natural leader, and the Conway family is proud to work alongside him and ThanksUSA to show our appreciation for the sacrifices made by our military families.”

The Stephen Curry ThanksUSA Golf Tournament will bring together Mayor Ed Lee, Curry’s father and former NBA standout, Dell Curry, and several of Curry’s Golden State Warriors teammates, as well as other sports and entertainment VIPs, members of the military, local community leaders and corporate representatives at the Presidio Golf Club, 300 Finley Road, San Francisco, Calif.

For more information about sponsorship or participation, please contact ThanksUSA Executive Director Michele Stork at (703) 855-4108 or MicheleStork@ThanksUSA.org. For media inquiries, please contact Alyssa Romano at alyssa.romano@octagon.com.

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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 need-based scholarships. For more information, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.

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NOVA/DC area ThanksUSA scholars & military families:  The Washington Kastles will host Military Appreciation Night on Monday, July 22nd. See Martina Hingis and the Kastles take on the Philadelphia Freedoms! ThanksUSA has a limited number of FREE tickets available for our scholars and local military families. If you’re interested, please message us on Facebook.

We will fulfill requests on a first come/first serve basis.  If you miss out on our free tickets, don’t despair…Active-duty, veterans, and military family members can get Buy One, Get One 50% Off tickets through ticketmaster using promo code WKMN13.

Kastles Military Apprecation Night Flyer

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Congratulations to ThanksUSA scholars Karen and Brittany Butler! This mother/daughter duo each earned degrees from Valdosta State University and proudly walked the stage together. Karen says, “It was a great moment in my life to share something so special with my daughter!”

 

karen and brittany grad 2013

Karen, spouse of MSGT Kevin Butler, USAF RET, has received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $6,000 for her undergraduate studies at Valdosta State University.  Karen received a KPMG LLC/ThanksUSA scholarship in 2011 and an EADS/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial scholarship through ThanksUSA in 2012.

She recently completed her Associates of Art in Business Administration and will continue her studies to earn her BA in Accounting with certification in both Healthcare Administration and Human Resources.

Kevin and Karen’s daughter, Brittany, also received $6,000 in ThanksUSA scholarships for her Biology major at Valdosta State.  She received a Blavatnik Family Foundation/ThanksUSA scholarship in 2010 and an EMC Corp/Senator Ted Stevens Memorial scholarship through ThanksUSA in 2011.

This May, Brittany graduated from the Valdosta State University Honors College. She received Summa Cum Laude honors and earned her BA in Biology with a minor in Chemistry.

ThanksUSA is proud to support our deserving military families and we hope you will join us in congratulating both Brittany and Karen on a job well done – Way to go ladies!!

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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to Air Force dependent Michael Atkins, Jr, who graduated from North Carolina State University with degrees in Sociology and Political Science. While at NC State, the Thomas Jefferson Scholar received consecutive ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $9,000. With his undergraduate studies complete, Michael is eagerly preparing for law school.

Graduation announcement

Michael has remained actively involved with ThanksUSA throughout his college years. He was first introduced to ThanksUSA supporters in a Scholarship News feature during his freshman year. He represented ThanksUSA scholarship recipients at our 2010 Congressional Round Table and has written letters of thanks to individual donors. Most recently, Michael has been meeting with fellow ThanksUSA scholarship recipients to establish a ThanksUSA alumni group.

ThanksUSA is just one of many charitable organizations that Michael contributes his time and energy to. He has made a lifetime commitment to community service and was even appointed to the North Carolina Commission for Volunteerism and Community Service at the age of 19.

Please join the ThanksUSA team in congratulating Michael on his academic accomplishments and wishing him continued success with law school. Congratulations Michael!!

In 2012, Michael had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Manchester. He was able to fit in some incredible sightseeing which he is happy to share with ThanksUSA supporters:

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ThanksUSAFlyer

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2013 TTTT Flyer-Update 6.3.13

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ThanksUSA benefit concert hosted by Caleb Harris

Caleb Harris is hosting a benefit concert at Clarendon Grill on Sunday June 23, 2013. Proceeds will benefit ThanksUSA— a non-partisan charitable effort to “thank” the men and women of the armed forces by providing need-based scholarships for their children and spouses (visit ThanksUSA.org for more information about ThanksUSA).

Doors will open at 5:00PM and cover band Partners in Crime will go on at 6:15. Clarendon Grill is offering drink specials, including $2 domestic drafts & bottles from 5:00-7:00PM. 100% of the $10 door cover will go to ThanksUSA. Door cover will include one raffle ticket and prizes will be drawn throughout the night. Additional raffle tickets will be available for purchase.

Clarendon Grill
1101 N Highland St
Arlington, VA  22201
June 23, 2013
Time: 5:00 pm 

If you would like to donate a raffle prize for the concert, please contact Caleb at:

Email: cmharri12@gmail.com
Cell: 304-667-7538

 Step up to the plate to ThanksUSA with Caleb Harris at Nationals Park

In addition to the concert, Caleb has partnered with the Washington Nationals to offer fundraiser tickets for the June 27th baseball game at Nationals Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Nationals have agreed to donate $20 to ThanksUSA for every ticket purchased on their website using promo code CALEB.  Tickets can be purchase at http://nationals.com/tickets or click HERE to go directly to the ticket purchase page for the June 27th game.

Donation can also be made directly to ThanksUSA using credit card or PayPal at: Donate to ThanksUSA.  Please don’t change the “donation towards” field.  It should be set to “KPMG USA” in order to pool all of our contributions.

Our total fundraising effort will be recognized during a pre-game, on-field donation presentation ceremony on June 27th at Nationals Park.  So purchase your ticket, make a donation, and then come out to Nationals Park to see the result of your efforts!

Nationals Park
1500 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC  20003
June 27, 2013
Time: 4:00 pm
 
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2013 Graduate

Congratulations to 2013 graduate, Tyler Cecchini! The daughter of Marianne and Lieutenant Colonel Robert Cecchini, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret), Tyler received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $6,000 during her undergraduate studies. She recently earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Technology, with a specialization in costumes, from the University of Central Florida. A member of the Burnett Honors College, she graduated Cum Laude with Honors and is currently working in the costume department of Sea World Orlando.

Tyler Cecchini

Tyler & Shelby Cecchini

Tyler’s sister Shelby also had a stellar academic year. Shelby received a $3,000 ThanksUSA scholarship for her freshman year at the University of Central Florida where she majors in Creative Writing with a Technical Writing minor. Shelby made the Dean’s list both semesters and may add a second major, Technical Communications, in the fall.

The ThanksUSA team commends both Tyler and Shelby for their academic achievements. We hope you’ll join us in congratulating not only these bright young women, but all ThanksUSA scholarship recipients on a job well done!

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USPTA

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2013

A Win for Military Families as ThanksUSA and U.S. Professional Tennis Association Partner to Provide Scholarships

Champions Lisa Raymond and Bob and Mike Bryan Join the Team

McLean, VA, 17 May 2013 – ThanksUSA and the U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) are gearing up for their second annual Tennis Thanks the Troops fundraising campaign to support scholarships for the children and spouses of U.S. service men and women. With May recognized nationally as Military Appreciation Month, the two organizations will be recruiting the country’s USPTA Professionals, clubs, players and tennis fans in organizing tournaments and other special events to raise funds throughout Memorial Day weekend.

Tennis stars Lisa Raymond and Mike and Bob Bryan have returned for a second year to support the effort by participating in public service announcements promoting Tennis Thanks the Troops.

“Global combat operations are ending but the mission of our troops – to protect our nation and our freedoms – persists. As does our responsibility to continue supporting them,”said Bob Okun, chairman and CEO of ThanksUSA. “We are proud to thank our armed forces and their families for their daily sacrifices through the gift of education.”

ThanksUSA provides need-based, post-secondary 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.

“Clubs with USPTA pros are developing creative events that will help ThanksUSA award 500 scholarships worth $1.5 million this year, helping make U.S. military families the real winners,” said Michele Stork, executive director of ThanksUSA.

Throughout Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, participating USPTA Professionals at various facilities will collect a minimum voluntary donation of $5 from tennis players, professionals, members, guests and fans to support ThanksUSA. Facilities will have flexibility on their donation-collection options, including choosing among tournaments/contests, lessons and silent auctions, and can also hold fundraising events on other weekends throughout the year.

“There’s certainly a lot of attention on supporting those initiatives that help our troops of late and rightfully so,” said USPTA CEO John Embree. “As an association, we intend to do our part using pros who are community-minded and want to show their dedication to the military by making a valuable contribution to those efforts.”

Leading the charge are the San Diego District Tennis Association through its annual Tennis Fest and the Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Ga., with a Tennis Thanks the Troops Memorial Day Mixer. All participating facilities will be competing to raise the most money for the campaign, with the winner able to send their pro and one guest to the US Open in New York on Aug. 30.

For more information on the Tennis Thanks the Troops campaign, visit the Tennis Thanks the Troops webpage. Join the team and show your gratitude to our military men and women and their families!

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About the USPTA: Founded in 1927, USPTA strives to raise the standards of the tennis profession while promoting greater awareness of the sport. USPTA offers nearly 70 professional benefits to its more than 15,000 members worldwide, including certification and professional development. With more than 300 days of educational opportunities throughout the year, USPTA offers the most comprehensive continuing education program in the tennis industry. For more information, call 800-877-8248 or visit www.uspta.com.

About ThanksUSA: ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. The organization provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for the children and spouses of active-duty status military personnel. For more information, visit www.thanksusa.org.

CONTACT:
Poornima Rimm, Director of Public Relations
USPTA
713-978-7782, ext. 125
Poornima.Rimm@USPTA.org

Michele Stork, Executive Director
ThanksUSA
703-855-4108
MicheleStork@ThanksUSA.org

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Allen_Eric 2012.

ThanksUSA is currently accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 academic year. Over the past seven years, ThanksUSA has awarded over 2,800 scholarships (worth nearly $8.5 million) to deserving military spouses and dependent children. $3,000 American Airlines/ThanksUSA Scholarship recipient Eric Pierre Allen is an excellent representation of these scholars. The Army dependent’s unique combination of majors, combined with his giving spirit and drive to succeed, really make him stand out.

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Eric’s father, First Sergeant Norman Allen, U.S. Army, has been serving our great nation for over twenty five years. Knowing life only as a military child, Eric travelled often and was exposed to a variety of cultures.

As a teen, Eric found himself enthralled with the vibrant graphics of Japanese animation. Though he enjoyed the visual styles of anime, he couldn’t fully understand the symbolism and cultural references. Soon, his quest to grasp the intricacies of anime led to a fascination with Japanese history and culture.

In high school, Eric had the opportunity to focus on his Japanese interests as a student of the Internal Baccalaureate Program. He explains, “I did my senior thesis paper on the Samurai Code of Bushido and how it affected the mentality of the Kamikaze pilots. This is when I gained a great passion for Japanese culture and language.”

When he entered the University of Texas at Austin to study accounting, Eric knew that he also wanted to continue his Japanese studies. During his freshman year, Eric attended a fair to learn about various campus student groups. Interested in joining an organization that would complement his business studies, Eric stopped by a particular group’s table only to find it unoccupied. The neighboring table happened to be hosted by the Asian Business Students Association. Eric struck up a conversation with ABSA’s Internal Vice President and accepted her enthusiastic invitation to join.

Now, nearly three years later, Eric is pursuing his Masters in Professional Accounting and B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture. He has become involved in many campus organizations including Student Government, Liberal Arts Council, Japanese Association, and Black Business Students Association. He is also a DJ and show host for the campus’s Chop Suey Radio and he has continued his involvement in the ABSA. In fact, Eric currently serves as the ABSA’s Internal Vice President – the same position of the officer who invited him to join during his freshman year.

Eric believes that all college students should seek out campus organizations and activities in order to make the most of their educational experience. He adds, “Through all of the organizations I have been involved with, I have gained valuable connections with people that will transcend college.”

As his junior year at UT Austin concludes, Eric is preparing for what may be his most memorable year yet. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Eric’s collegiate majors will culminate into an immersive learning experience with studies abroad in Osaka and Tokyo.

After completing his undergraduate degrees and earning his CPA, Eric plans to gain practical experience in the United States before pursuing an international career. Eventually, he hopes to earn his PhD in Japanese history and become a college professor.

Considering his academic achievements thus far, I’m sure Eric will accomplish every goal he sets for himself. As the 2012-2013 academic year concludes, I hope to bring you more highlights from our deserving scholars. Some may be wrapping up their first year of college, while others are graduating. If you find any of these ThanksUSA scholarship recipients as inspiring as I do, I encourage you to make your tax deductible donation today.

“All of my accomplishments so far have been because of generous people like you. Thank you again for your donation.” – Army dependent Eric Allen

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MILITARY APPRECIATION MONDAYS

Supports ThanksUSA

A great group of Virginian business owners hosts a monthly dinner to raise funds for organizations that support our beloved military. This month, ThanksUSA is honored to be the chosen organization for May’s Military Appreciation Monday.

Make your reservations now for dinner on Monday, May 13th, at The Old Brogue in Great Falls. Seatings will be at 5:30 and 7:30, and no donations is necessary…just enjoy a delicious dinner while supporting ThanksUSA’s mission!

Bob Nelson of Keller Williams Realty in Great Falls speaks about this wonderful fundraising effort:

“We have been doing monthly dinners at the Old Brogue in Great Falls, Va. for the past five years. These started out as small events with 10-15 of our friends and have now grown to attracting anywhere from 80-140 people. About 80 percent of attendees are our regulars while the other 20 percent are first time attendees. Most of the money raised is through our regular cosponsor donations. Myself and these cosponsors each make a ten percent donation based on what you spend for dinner. We also conduct a door prize drawing. Our typical match comes in at between 150-200 percent of the total dinner tab.”

So don’t delay – call The Old Brogue at (703) 759-3309 to make your dinner reservation and print out this flyer to share with your neighbors and coworkers:

Thanks USA Flyer

Our sincerest appreciation to Bob Nelson and these generous business sponsors:

The Old Brogue

Gary Kaihara, DDS

Double Eagle Title

Blue River IT

Al’s Towing and Storage

Taylor Allgyer – First Savings Mortgage

James Gaudiosi – Atlantic Coast Mortgage

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San Diego Tennis Fest

To help ThanksUSA and the USPTA kick off “Tennis Thanks the Troops,” the San Diego District Tennis Association (SDDTA) will hold it’s annual Tennis Fest on Sunday, May 5th.

Holly & SGT Lam Le, USMC

Holly & SGT Lam Le, USMC

In 2012, USPTA clubs around the country hosted events and collected donations for ThanksUSA scholarships during Tennis Thanks the Troops. Since SDDTA raised the most ($3,350), they were awarded two tickets to the U.S. Open. Always supportive of our military heroes, SDDTA presented the tickets to Wounded Warrior U.S. Marine Corps SGT Lam Le and his wife, Holly.

If you’re in the San Diego area, you can help SDDTA compete for those 2013 U.S. Open tickets! The first 800 pre-registered participants will receive a 2013 Tennis Fest T-shirt and a welcome bag, so register today at www.sandiegotennis.com and help SDDTA win those Tennis Thanks the Troops U.S. Open tickets! Click the flyer below for more info:

2013 Tennis Fest Flyer

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ThanksUSA is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2013-2014 academic year. Completing a scholarship application may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really just a matter of providing the requested information. A complete overview of this year’s scholarship program can be found here, but the following can help get you started:

Tips For Completing The ThanksUSA Scholarship Application

  • Carefully read through the entire application. Be sure to fill it out completely and accurately. Proofread your application and verify that all supporting documents are attached before submitting.
  • When stating your educational and career objectives, be concrete. Tell us what you are studying and why. Even if you’re undecided about your major, relay what you wish to accomplish with your education.
  • Demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded individual. List all of you activities and be sure to include any recognition you have received for them. You may immediately think of academics or sports, but what about your community involvement? Are you involved with a religious organization? Have you participated in charitable drives? Do you have a hobby? Are you employed? Do you mentor or tutor? Don’t sell yourself short!
  • If you don’t understand a portion of the application, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance: thanksusa@scholarshipamerica.org

The ThanksUSA team encourages you to share ThanksUSA’s mission with your family and friends – Just click on one of the social links below. Don’t forget to support our mission by making your tax-deductible donation today!

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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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Sabrina Shah 2013Sabrina Shah intends to create a safe and healthy future for developing children. With the financial assistance of a $3,000 Jackson Casey Fund/ThanksUSA scholarship, Sabrina is completing her final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Since 2009, Sabrina has received ThanksUSA scholarships totaling $12,000. In just a few months, she will earn degrees in both Psychology and Media & Communication Studies.

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Sabrina’s interest in psychology began early. She often read articles or watched videos that focused on the subject. When she enrolled in an AP Psychology class in high school, Sabrina realized that she wasn’t merely learning facts; she truly understood and enjoyed every psychology lesson that was being taught.

After exploring several disciplines, Sabrina decided to focus on developmental psychology. Even as a teen, she was starting to realize that “troubled” students were the result of their environment.

Kinza & Sabrina Shah

Kinza & Sabrina Shah

Sabrina is most interested in combining her majors to study the effects of media on the social development of children. Through her studies and research, she has realized that media can be used to promote focus and learning in the classroom.

One of Sabrina’s most fascinating research projects involved pediatric cancer patients. Her team created virtual reality helmets that patients wore during treatments. Watching positive imagery produced a calming effect that distracted the young children during painful or scary treatments. Sabrina believes that the use of such media can actually alleviate or prevent psychological trauma.

Though she is always eager to experiment with, and learn from, different fields of psychology, Sabrina reports that she always returns to developmental psychology. Like most enthusiastic students, Sabrina belongs to groups and clubs that enhance her learning experience. She is member of the UMBC Philosophy Club and the Psychology Honors Society (Psi Chi), and has participated in the Model UN since high school.

Besides study related activities, Sabrina devotes much of her time to charitable organizations. She is most involved with Challah for Hunger, which raises funds to fight hunger and poverty through the sale of homemade challah bread.

As she nears graduation, Sabrina is preparing to continue her education, possibly at Cornell University, with the intention of earning her PhD in Developmental Psychology. With such dedication to both her major field of study and helping others through her charitable work, Sabrina is likely to impact many lives.

I think it’s important to note that Sabrina is not the only successful collegiate in her family. In 2006, her older brother, Zain, received a $5,000 ThanksUSA scholarship for his studies at Brooklyn College. Zain is now pursuing a career in computer engineering. Younger sister, Kinza, is off to a great start at Towson University where she is majoring in Speech Pathology.

Sabrina, her mother Tasneem, and sister Kinza

Sabrina, her mother Tasneem, and sister Kinza

As Sabrina prepares for graduate school, Kinza is preparing to apply for a 2013-2014 ThanksUSA scholarship. Applications will be accepted between April 1 and May 15, 2013, and potential applicants are encouraged to register for a reminder.

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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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Finance Manager

 

Position

Thanks USA seeks a full-time salaried (exempt) experienced person to manage the organization’s financial operations. The position will report to the Executive Director and will provide strategic leadership and day to day operational support in all aspects of financial management.

 

Responsibilities

  • Manage all accounting processing functions accounts payable (bill.com), billings, receivables, deposits data entry (Donor Perfect), donor receipts and acknowledgement.
  • Provide data to our external accountants on a monthly and quarterly basis and review the schedules and reports as needed.
  • Actively manage and monitor cash flow and reporting.
  • Manage Payroll process and work with third party payroll services provider.
  • Responsible for events’ financial management including check requests, invoicing, and reporting.
  • Assist with budget preparation and ad-hoc projects and assignments as needed.
  • Assist in maintaining and establishing new (as needed) internal accounting policies, procedures, and effective  internal controls to ensure that all financial transactions are executed and documented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Responsible for legal compliance matters including overseeing audits and appropriate, timely submission of regulatory filings (including annual tax filings such as form 990, 1099s).
  • Serve as liaison to independent auditors and oversee year-end accruals, audit work papers and audit preparation.
  • Advise the executive director on financial accounting, planning, budgeting, cash flow, and other financial matters.
  • Maintain good working relationships with vendors, banks, brokers and outside auditor
  • Responsible for negotiation and renewal of Insurance policies, as needed.
  • Maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the executive director informed of all critical issues, and be current on trends in his or her profession.
  • Support and/or work with other organizational activities and personnel as needed (i.e. event planning, communications, etc.) to support the organization’s mission

 

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting.
  • Master’s in business administration preferred.
  • CPA experience preferred.
  • Minimum six years experience as an accountant or in a management role ideally with both external audit and in-house financial non-profit management experience gained in a high-growth organization.
  • Deep knowledge of non-profit finance and accounting standards and requirements.
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills including negotiation and conflict- resolution.
  • Self reliant and results oriented.
  • Proven ability to work with efficiency and flexibility.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical finance and administration initiatives.
  • Solid written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills.
  • Passionate about ThanksUSA’s mission and impact.
  • Ability to exercise tact and diplomacy in organizational settings.
  • Remain focused in the face of pressure, delivers against timelines, not intimidated by tasks/time limitations.

Compensation

ThanksUSA offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience, an excellent benefits package and an exciting team environment.

 

How to Apply

Interested applicants should send a resume and a brief cover letter explaining their interest for consideration to Michele Stork at michelestork@thanksusa.org. Opportunity is available immediately.

ThanksUSA is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees and constituents regardless of culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or sexual orientation.

 

Background Check

Due to the confidentiality risk associated with maintaining sensitive documents and financial invoices, the prospective candidate may be required to participate in a background check. This is beneficial for the company to know if the candidate is the right person to handle confidential material for their organization.

 

About ThanksUSA

ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to “thank” the men and women of the United States armed forces. We’re doing that by providing need-based college, technical and vocational school scholarships for their children and spouses. For more information, please visit www.ThanksUSA.org

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