By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
In 1989, in the brief time we were at war with Panama, 23 of our brave warriors lost their lives. One was a young husband with a baby girl on the way. His name was Sgt. William Delaney Gibbs from the 7th Infantry Division, and he died five days before Christmas. His battle buddy was David Kim, and Kim returned to the States, establishing a charity organization for children such as Gibbs’ daughter. Children of Fallen Patriots has the specific purpose of providing college scholarships for Gold Star families.
Children of Fallen Patriots hired the Lucas Group to research the nearly 20,000 known dependents of troops who died in the line of duty in the last 35 years. The problem is that there is no central database that keeps track of these kids, and in many ways they have slipped through several cracks, not the least being their opportunities to gain a higher education. The Foundation believes that helping to secure the future of the children of the fallen is one of the best ways possible to honor the fallen.
There are a number of people who are involved in making Children hum along. One is Holly Petraeus, wife of General David Petraeus. She serves on the Board of Advisors. Another is Dr. Laura Schlessinger, radio talk show host and psychologist. She has a jewelry line whose proceeds go to supporting the Foundation. Pepsico Foundation is launching a “Rolling Remembrance Run.” Ryan Lee Gehris is riding his bike across the country to raise awareness and funds, and below is the story of how this foundation has helped a young woman attend the University of Alabama Huntsville.
Veronica Crouse was just a little girl when her father passed away on a family vacation. It was at the World War II Memorial, and he had a heart attack. The nurses who had tried to get him to take better care of himself prior to his sudden death had a big impact on Veronica. Because of them, she wanted to pursue a career in health care, but there was no money available. She noted, “It took me awhile to figure out how I wanted to help people, but the more I kept thinking back, the more I kept remembering that and it kept pushing me forward. And I finally made the decision and figured it out. It’s the perfect fit, nursing is for me,” said Crouse. She added, “The V.A. doesn’t pay out-of-state tuition, so I needed extra to cover it; and UAH is known for their Nursing Program. So, I really wanted to go here and I have friends in the area, it was just perfect.”
A little guy named Gage was a year old when his daddy serving in Afghanistan was killed in 2012 by an IED. His mom was encouraged to apply, and now Gage has a college education waiting for him in memory of his father.
Since 2002, Children of Fallen Patriots has given out more than $21 million in scholarships, and they need your help to keep going.
For more information on Children of Fallen Patriots and their mission, visit http://www.fallenpatriots.org/who-we-are/
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner