By Steve Koehler
The loved ones of soldiers who are killed while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan will not have to give up their educational future thanks to a new partnership between the OTC Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Musgrave Foundation.
The organizations are joining together to create the Fallen Soldiers Scholarship, a program that will provide tuition, fees and books to OTC for spouses and dependents of military service members killed while serving on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for families,” Adjutant General Steve Danner of the Missouri National Guard told the audience at a press conference at OTC Monday afternoon.
“There are many stay-at-home spouses, and this makes what we can do for those families that much more important. I feel good about the program because my family is my bedrock. There’s nothing more important in the world than to see your children educated.”
The program will launch in January 2010. Ozarks Technical Community College will manage and administer the scholarship program.
Since 9/11, a total of 108 Missouri soldiers have been killed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, many leaving behind families.
“This will help make the lives of veterans’ families better,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, president of OTC. “Families have limited funds because of the loss of a loved one who served. These private dollars will help those families.”
Eligible spouses and dependents must be residents of the OTC Service Area, which includes : Christian, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Laclede, Ozark, Polk, Pulaski, Stone, Taney, Webster and Wright.
Beau Cruse, who was injured while on active duty in Iraq, now attends OTC and said it would be comforting to know that a military family would be taken care of if their loved one died.
“It’s one less thing to worry about. The cost of education goes up. It’s about respect. If I gave my life over there, then I would know OTC would be giving something back,” he said.
Funding will come from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and, the Musgrave Foundation and, based on the funds available, the OTC Foundation. The OTC Foundation will manage the scholarship program. Currently, the OTC Foundation does not have funds designated to support this initiative.
For more information, contact the OTC Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Stephanie Brown at (417) 447-2653. A video about the program can be seen on www.otc.edu.
Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at email@example.com.
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666