May 28, 2018
When you think of Memorial Day, what comes to mind? Playing lawn games, grilling hamburgers, spending time with family…This year, take a moment to think of those for whom Memorial Day represents so much more – it’s the day to commemorate the lives of loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom.
Over the past 35 years, 20,000 Gold Star children have been left behind by soldiers killed while serving. Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation’s mission is to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. Since its inception in 2002, the nonprofit organization has assisted approximately 1,100 children of fallen service members through the distribution of roughly $22 million in scholarships and other support.
One scholar is Sheridan Skurupey, daughter of Air National Guard Technical Sergeant Gregory Skurupey. Sergeant Skurupey died in a military aircraft training accident in 2001, leaving behind his wife and two children. Sheridan is studying Business Management at Randolph-Macon University. “There are times when I really want him at things that my friends’ dads are at, and that's when it hits me,” explained Sheridan. “I'll never have him here to see me graduate, get married, or when my kids are born. It's not the memories I had with him that make it hard, but the ones I never got to have. Fallen Patriots has impacted my life in a way that I didn’t think it would. The foundation has gone to the end of the world and back to make sure I was taken care of financially throughout college.”
Existing government programs don’t cover the full cost of college for Gold Star students, and leave a $500 million gap in funding for these scholars nationwide. Surviving families struggle to make ends meet, with the majority of surviving spouses making less than $50,000 per year. Through scholarships and educational counseling, Fallen Patriots helps to bridge the $32,000 gap between government assistance programs and the cost of a four-year degree that CFP scholars face. “We believe one of the best ways we can honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is to invest in the future of those they loved most in the world: their children,” notes David Kim, co-founder and CEO of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. “Through its Lawn Stars program, TruGreen has generated awareness for our mission and raised over $87,000 in funding, providing more than 14 years of college to Gold Star scholars. We couldn’t be more honored to receive TruGreen’s support.”
This Memorial Day, Sheridan advises, “Be grateful. Never take anyone for granted. If there's anything you learn by being a military child, it's that you never know when you could lose someone who means the world to you.” Not every patriot wears a uniform. If you’d like to join the thousands of individuals and companies across America who have answered the call to support Fallen Patriots, help today by visiting www.fallenpatriots.org.
TruGreen, Fallen Patriots, Memorial Day, Lawn Care