Tymber Long was boarding a plane when she received a call from her mother, Amy, telling her to check her email. By phone, Tymber opened her email account to find that she was a 2017 recipient of The American Legion Legacy Scholarship. When she excitedly called her mom back to tell her the news, she learned that her sister, Sydney, was also a recipient.
“To know that you have an organization like (The American Legion) behind you, supporting military families, makes the scholarship special. Means a lot when you’re a military family and (the Legion) is investing in you,” said 20-year-old Tymber of Lincoln, Neb., who is a junior at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. “I don’t think that we can thank The American Legion enough.”
Sydney, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Nebraska, agreed. “A huge thank you because (this scholarship) is awesome,” she said. “We’ll make you proud; we’ll work hard.”
This is the first year that The American Legion expanded the Legacy Scholarship’s eligibility and aid. Since the attacks on 9/11, the scholarship has provided college money for the children of U.S. military personnel killed on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Now, the scholarship has expanded to include children of post-9/11 veterans with a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher, awarding up to $20,000 in aid.
For The American Legion to open the Legacy Scholarship up to children of the disabled is “huge,” said Amy, a member of Auxiliary Unit 3 in Lincoln. “Thank you, we appreciate it very much. My girls won’t forget the gift that the Legion gave them.”
Tymber and Sydney received the scholarship in honor of their father’s 23 years of military service. After retiring from the Nebraska National Guard in 2011, Mark is humbled that the Legion is investing in his children’s future and honoring his service.
“(The scholarship) is just going to be a huge benefit to the girls, and I’m very appreciative that they have been selected by the Legion,” said Mark, a member of American Legion Post 3. “They are both top tier kids, top tier students and citizens. I think it’s going to be a good investment, and they will pay it forward eventually.”
As military kids, Tymber and Sydney have always found ways to serve and give back to veterans and their families. For example, they are both members of Auxiliary Unit 3, Nebraska Auxiliary Girls State alumni, and they volunteered at the local VA, serving popcorn and pushing the coffee cart.
“My dad’s service is really important to me because it opened my eyes to the sacrifice that military personnel and their families give,” Sydney said. “I will always remember my dad’s deployments and the sacrifice that my mom had to give for all of us. I think this scholarship is always going to help me remember it was worth it.”
The sisters said the Legacy Scholarship is going to help bridge the financial gap which in turn will make graduate school a possibility for Tymber, who is studying managerial economics with a concentration in law, and studying abroad a reality for Sydney, who is studying marketing and hospitality and tourism. “(The Legacy Scholarship) is going to make all the difference,” Tymber said.
Overall, the Long family is extremely grateful to The American Legion and Legion Riders for making the Legacy Scholarship a possibility and bestowing the award upon them.
“I want to thank the Legion and everyone that contributes to help these kids. We’ve always tried to save for college for the girls but it seems like no matter how much you save there’s going to be a huge gap between the cost of what you can afford and what college really costs,” Amy said. “This scholarship allows us to bridge that gap and give them opportunities that they might not otherwise had. So thank you.”