The number of children who have lost a parent serving in the war on terror is estimated to be 10,000. As that staggering number grows daily, The American Legion family continues to be a supportive figure in each child's future.
The cost of college is ever-increasing, making it more difficult for single parents to pay for higher education. Knowing that, the Legion established The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund to help offset the high cost of college and to ensure children, whose parents died while on active-duty military service on or after Sept. 11, 2001, receives the education they deserve.
To date, nearly $3 million has been contributed to the Legacy Fund, with a goal to reach $20 million in order to continuously provide for children of fallen soldiers. And among the fund's biggest donators are the Legion Riders who have participated in the annual Legacy Run since 2006 to raise money for the scholarship.
As Legion Riders once again prepare for the Legacy Ride - which starts Aug. 22 in Indianapolis and ends Aug. 26 in Milwaukee, Wis. - Brandon Laureta from Troutdale, Ore., shares his appreciation for being a 2010 recipient of the Legacy Scholarship.
Q: How did you hear about The American Legion Legacy Scholarship?A: I heard about the Legacy Scholarship from American Widow Project and applied, as I'm preparing to attend Temple University in Philadelphia this fall.
Q: Who is this scholarship in honor of?A: The Legacy Scholarship is in honor of my father, Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Brad Lindsey. He lost his life in 2006 while serving his country in Afghanistan.
Q: How did you feel when you found out you received the Legacy Scholarship?A: Finding out that I would be receiving the Legacy Scholarship filled me with overwhelming joy and relief because there is an untold number of things to worry about with college and to prepare for, and the scholarship lifts the financial burden off my shoulders and allows me to focus on my school work. The scholarship is also enabling me to achieve my dream of attending college to become a radio broadcaster and to study in a foreign country. My father always taught me to aim high so that's why I applied to Temple University, which has a campus in Tokyo. I'm going there to study for the upcoming fall semester.
Q: What enticed you to study abroad?A: My reasons for studying in Tokyo come from the way my parents raised me. My father was in the U.S. Navy prior to joining the National Guard and would talk about other cultures and the way they lived. This instilled a curiosity in me to see other parts of the world and the only way to gain a clear and vivid understanding of another culture is to live in their country.
Q: What do you remember most about your father?A: What I remember most about my father was his compassion for other cultures. After every deployment, he would come home and talk about sharing meals with the civilians that weren't involved with the country's conflict. He always wanted to show the civilians that U.S. soldiers were there to keep the peace and meant no harm to them.
Q: How do you feel about the Legacy Scholarship and its purpose?A: The loss of a parent makes an incredible impact on a family, both financially and emotionally. The American Legion makes it possible for the unfortunate families to continue to educate the children of a fallen soldier. I am honored to receive the scholarship and hope to be able to give back to the organization once my education is complete.
For further information about the Legacy Scholarship, the 2010 Legacy Run or ways to donate to the fund, click here