Following active duty service, many United States military veterans choose to earn a higher education degree. This path can help former military service members adapt to civilian life and launch a fulfilling future, whether through a community college or state university. However, what if you can’t afford the tuition?
Financial aid and military scholarships can help veterans and their family members pursue their educational goals. The specifics of this financial support varies per scholarship award, yet most offer tuition assistance up to a certain monetary amount. Student loans and financial aid may help with payment as well, depending on the applicant’s financial need. Enter Hill & Ponton, PA.
Joining the armed forces and serving your country is the ultimate sacrifice, so the team at Hill and Ponton are proud to give back to our nation’s veterans. We are now offering four $1,000 scholarships to help veterans further their education and enter a career field that would, in turn, help other veterans.
Our veterans’ scholarship program provides financial assistance to former U.S. military personnel pursuing higher education. Former members of the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard, and Coast Guard are eligible for this assistance program following honorable discharge. Through this scholarship fund, we hope that former military members can pursue education programs and reach their goals.
My name is Kimberly and I was a Sonar Technician in the US Navy. After getting out, I was listless and flittered between jobs, looking for a place to belong. Eventually, I stumbled into human trafficking interdiction and education; and dedicated seven years to finding missing and exploited persons, while doing lectures and seminars for law enforcement, social workers, public safety, and universities. In 2017, I was finally forced to confront my experiences in the service and my declining health. I underwent three major brain surgeries in just a couple of months. In the wake of my recovery, everything changed. I left my company and decided to focus on getting well. Within weeks, I discovered “my people” in the wilderness search and rescue world. I also joined a veteran peer support group, where I develop and train volunteers to intercept and assist suicidal veterans on social media. I finally belong. My new families in SAR and the veteran world encouraged me to seek out scholarships and to finish my degrees in Psychology and English. I plan on using what I learn to further both causes. “So that others may live…”
My name is Jayla Comer. I am 24 years old and live in Oak Hill, Ohio. I graduated from Oak Hill High School in 2015 and a week after I graduated I shipped off to Parris Island, SC where I stepped onto the yellow footprints eager to earn the title Marine. I spent four years in the Marine Corps as an 0161, Military Postal Clerk. I meet many people who I still call family to this day. As a Marine, I was able to travel the world and experience different cultures. I have always been goal-oriented and up for any challenge and the Marine Corps challenged me every day. My time in the Marine Corps has shaped the person I am today. I was taught discipline, bearing, and how to overcome any obstacle thrown at me. I decided to get out of the Marine Corps in 2019 and pursue my goal of obtaining a college education. I am currently in the Respiratory Program at the University of Rio Grande. I have always wanted to work somewhere in the healthcare field. Respiratory Therapy drew me in and I immediately knew “that’s what I want to do!” I can not think of a more rewarding career path. A respiratory therapist is a specialized healthcare practitioner trained in critical care and cardio-pulmonary medicine in order to work therapeutically with people suffering from acute critical conditions, cardiac and pulmonary disease. Becoming a respiratory therapist motivates me because the greatest reward for most people going into a medical profession is the opportunity to save lives. Patients in intensive care units and emergency rooms often develop breathing complications. Some people end up losing their lives due to respiratory issues rather than the actual illness or disease that led to their hospitalization. Respiratory therapists provide the required medication, ventilators, and airways devices to keep the patients breathing. I am excited for the opportunity to help improve and impact as many people’s lives as I can, especially during these hard times.
My name is Nicodemus Fletcher. I served in the Marine Corps from 2012-2017 as an Infantry Machine Gunner. I was a section leader and a platoon sergeant for weapons platoon in a line company. I am currently an undergraduate student at Western Michigan University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management. My transition into civilian life was difficult and I tried to do it by myself, but through this process, I learned I needed to feel that sense of belonging like I did when I served. I wish to develop recreation programs for veterans that are transitioning out of the military. The transition can be difficult especially if you do not have support. My goal with these programs is to connect veterans with other veterans and create a support system with the brothers and sisters they served with while staying physically active and healthy.
I served in the US Army Reserve from 1997-2005 in a combat support hospital as a nurse in Salt Lake City, Utah. The military has provided me the opportunity to obtain my Associate of Science degree in nursing, Associates of Applied Science in emergency care and rescue, Bachelor of Science in nursing, and I’m currently working on my Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner degree in family practice medicine.
I have been a nurse for over twenty years and am currently a flight nurse. I also worked as a firefighter/paramedic for 15 years within my local community. As a specialist in my reserve unit, I was the enlisted training officer responsible for medical certification and licensures of our company members, training sessions, and deployment inventory. The leadership skills acquired within my unit carried over into my civilian career as I created a liaison program between local fire departments, EMS, and hospitals to ensure patient care transition, education opportunities, and data collection for process improvement. I have been an instructor for over ten years, have spoken at several state and regional conferences, and been published in local magazines and news outlets.
My goal is to provide primary preventive care and increase access to healthcare for all. Recognizing and intervening early on chronic diseases can improve a patient’s quality of life and increase their life expectancy. Prevention is less expensive than treatment, and being financially responsible is imperative in these times for individuals and healthcare programs. I believe mental health is as important as physical health, and each patient deserves a collaborative effort from different healthcare disciplines to work on the holistic picture of health.
This scholarship will help me get one step closer to achieving my goal of obtaining a doctoral degree. Being part of something bigger than yourself and paying it forward is the mantra of all armed forces services. Realizing that every little contribution can make a difference to the big picture is how the wars are won.
“What good is your legacy to you when you’re dead? Leave your legacy whenever you leave a room.”- anonymous
My name is Amber Fifer. I served in the Marine Corps for 9 years as Geospatial Intelligence Analyst. I medically retired as a Sergeant in July 2018 and currently attend Front Range Community College where I am finishing my basic studies. Once completed, I plan on attending Colorado State University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. I strive to use my degree to aid in preserving the environment and its resources, educating the public, and serving as a ranger in either the national park or forestry services.
Greetings, my name is Mike Bryant. I am a retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant. I served from 2002-2014 in both active duty and the Kentucky National Guard. I deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom during the initial 2003 invasion as an Infantryman, and again in the Iraq surge in 2007-2008. In 2010-2011 I deployed to Afghanistan as a gunner for a transportation company and lastly, I deployed to Djibouti, Africa in 2012 and 2013. During my time in the military I rose to the title of Squad Leader and have received several accolades to include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and I was even made an Honorary Kentucky Colonel (yes, the same kind as Colonel Sanders) by the Governor of Kentucky for actions taken in Afghanistan.
When I came home and medically retired, I was lost and had no purpose however a subordinate told me to research military social work because he believed I was a good leader and that’s what I did. After learning about military social work, I felt reborn with a new purpose in life. To help Veterans like myself suffering from chronic mental and physical challenges. After 4 long years I just received my Bachelor of Social Work in Spring 2019 from the University of Central Florida and am currently in the last semester of my Master of Social Work Degree scheduled to graduate in Spring 2020. I currently work for a civilian mental health agency in Central Florida that is in the process of opening a Veteran oriented mental health inpatient hospital. I may no longer be able to go over seas and fight for my country any longer due to my own challenges, but I will be able to fight for war fighters when they return home. I had an old retired Vietnam veteran tell me once at an airport as he was escorting my unit before a deployment and these words have become my battle cry “NEVER AGAIN WILL ANOTHER GENERATION BE FORGOTTEN”.
TSgt Travis Jones retired after serving 10 years in the US Air Force and 10 years in the Washington State Air National Guard. He served in a variety of career fields during his service, including as an E.O.D. Technician, S.E.R.E. Specialist, and Unit Training Manager (UTM). He has performed duty in 12 countries and nearly all 50 states, including duty at the White House. He is currently attending Bellevue University, pursuing a BS in Adult Education. His current employment is in the Civil Service, where he functions as the UTM for a medical unit at his local Air Force Base.
Travis has a passion for research, instruction, and adult education, especially within the medical and emergency services arenas. He believes that maintaining training currency, skill proficiencies, and ensuring comprehensive documentation is important. Not only does complete and accurate documentation help ensure current mission accomplishment by identifying and filling training gaps, but also so future supervisors and employers are made aware of that person’s capabilities and have confidence in their abilities from the day they arrive at the unit. This is an important consideration when the new workplace is downrange during wartime, reliance on each other is paramount, and time is limited to validate whether or not a person is ready and able to perform his or her duties.
Travis’ innovative approaches toward training and documentation have received accolades from multiple units, his leadership, and his co-workers. The process of acquiring a BS in Adult Education will provide him the additional skills, further hone his abilities, and enabling his influence and oversight to be felt throughout his unit and the patients they see on a daily basis.
My name is Jun Wong. I served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and provided medical care to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen. Currently, I am a student and a cadet at Texas A&M Maritime Academy. In school, I am the Secretary of the Student Veterans of America – TAMUG Chapter. Additionally, I served as the Representative of the Corps of Cadet in our school’s Student Government Association. In both organizations, we organized multiple volunteering events to help the veterans at our local VFW center in Galveston, Texas. My goal is to earn my college degree and become a commissioned officer in the service. I look forward to having the privilege to lead the finest men and women in uniform.
My name is Christopher P. and I retired as a U.S. Army Sergeant Major serving over 26 years in the Special Forces (Green Berets) and Army Rangers.
I spent most of my career training for unconventional warfare and combat, my educational path became just as unconventional. I spent more than four-months training to become a Yoga Instructor, specializing in Trauma-Conscious Yoga. During my time in Special Forces, I was constantly deployed to the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan where I have been at the forefront of combat since 9/11. The years spent deployed at war, and decades of physical abuse on my body is as comparable to professional athletes, and one of the best options I came across for healing was yoga.
I spent two years in a yoga program called Connected Warriors and during that time I had the goal of becoming a Level 1 Certified Teacher. Being taught how to stretch, balance, relax and breathe, has given me additional tools and coping mechanisms in both dealing with the physical and mental aspects within my body and mind. A year ago, I became certified as a Yoga Teacher and certified in Trauma-Conscious Yoga. Since then, I have been giving back to our Veteran community and teaching fellow Servicemembers in and around Fort Campbell.
Being part of the military community and giving back to our Servicemembers, Veterans and their Families is one of the most rewarding things in life. God Bless and Namaste.
My name is Kaci Y. Lee and I served in the U.S. Navy as a Master at Arms, which is a Law enforcement officer from 2003 to 2007. I also come from a family of Navy Veterans. My father retired as an Aviation Machinist Mate, and my older brothers served as an Aviation Structural Mechanic and a Personnel Specialist. Currently, I am a Secretary for the Deputy Chief of Staff at my local VA Medical Center and I graduated from Northeastern State University with my bachelor’s degree in December of 2018. I am now attending Washburn University, where I will obtain my master’s degree in Social Work. With this degree I continue to will work at my local VA Medical Center but I will be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I will be able to help other Veterans meet their needs by helping them find care whether it be preventive, therapeutic, restorative or personal and resources within the VA system and in their communities. Also, my goal is to get the additional certification so that I can counsel Veterans with drug, alcohol and emotional problems.
I have always been the type of person to go out of my way to help someone and make a difference in their lives. At my current job, I don’t get to speak with Veterans very much but as I walk down the halls I try to stop and have a conversation. Most Veterans like the interaction and it makes both of our days better. Becoming a Social Worker will give me the opportunity to have more interactions with Veterans. I have learned from working here that when they have a problem it is because they are not being heard and if just one person would take the time to listen it would fix 90% of the problem. I want to be that person to listen to that Veteran and give them the tools needed to fix their problem.
I am retired Army Officer Major Henry H Washington III, I enlisted in the military in 1988 as a Chemical Specialist and attended the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) course in Fort McClellan, Alabama, and later was selected to join the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Georgia Southern University/Savannah State University later graduating cum laude.
After serving 25 years in the Army and several deployments with the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia, and other units to oversee the Combat Special Operations Military Police mission distribution across Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I quickly realized that many of us are suffering from PTSD and are losing marriages and relationships because of not understanding how to reintegrate ourselves back into society. This is my reason for pursuing my Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Counseling.
I hold a dual Masters in Business and Security Management from Webster University. As I pursue a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University I will continue to work in the law enforcement field. I have been featured in the Army Knowledge Magazine, Biker Life Magazine, Trendsetter & Trendsetter Magazine and have written my own book titled American Hero, A Soldier’s Story From Combat to Cancer. I am a 4-year Prostate Cancer Survivor! I advocate for men to get checked early for prostate cancer and I am a mentor for over 800+ middle school children in Atlanta Georgia.
Rodney Darnell Martin Jr. was born in Las Vegas Nevada to Yvonne Thomas and Rodney Martin Sr, on December 22, 1982. Rodney came from humble beginnings; growing up in a crime-ridden neighborhood with no consistent guidance, due to his father serving a four-year prison term. At the tender age of fourteen, Rodney’s family suffered a tragic loss, as his big sister Shavonne Marie Thomas was brutally raped and murdered by their neighbor, who was an unregistered sex offender. Her remains were found burned in the back of a car 5 days before her sixteenth birthday on February 8th. The next year Rodney became isolated and battled fear and depression. This young leader wouldn’t allow his circumstances to dictate his future but instead, he used this tragedy to fuel his courage and determination. In high school, he became a member of the national honor society and dominated the sports of football, wrestling, and track and field.
Rodney received Track and Field scholarship offers from over 10 Universities around the country. He went on to earn a Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminology from the University of South Carolina. In 2007 Rodney Won a Gold Medal at the Osaka Japan Track and Field World Championships and then went on to represent the United States in the 2008 Beijing China, Olympic Games. Rodney is one of Track and Fields fastest 100 meter/200 meter sprinters of his generation.
Rodney’s passion and heart for service lead to him joining the United States Navy in February of 2014. In 2016 he went on to win the Naval Weapons Station Sailor of the year award. In May of 2016, Rodney married his longtime friend, Paige Collins. They lived in California until Rodney was transferred to his next and final command station in Norfolk, VA. There he worked aboard the USS Gravely, mainly supervising a rotating group of junior Sailors. Throughout his Naval career, Rodney was consistently recognized for being a hard worker, reliable leader, and model sailor. He earned numerous awards, including, Junior Sailor of the Year, Hard Charger of the Month, the Commanding Officer Commanders Coin, 5 times Early Promotion Recommendations and two Navy and Marine Core Achievement Medals. In February 2018, Rodney received an honorable discharge from the US Navy and moved back to Los Angeles California. Following his service, Rodney was awarded a Proclamation from the City of Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn G. Goodman. Proclaiming February 8, 2018, as Rodney D Martin Jr. day. Recognizing his philanthropic efforts with the youth in Las Vegas, honorable service in The United States Navy and as a professional athlete representing our Country in the Olympics. Currently, Rodney is earning his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, with a Focus on Mental health and Wellness.
Rodney Martin Jr.
I have had the pleasure of being a medic for my entire military career, including a deployment, and have seen first hand the importance of mental health. PTSD and suicide have been overwhelming with the constant deployments, and many soldiers are losing that battle. Many soldiers don’t know the resources that are available to them, such as professional counselor (LPC). I want to graduate and provide my services to Soldiers to help combat PTSD and suicide. Outside of PSTD and suicide many soldiers also turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with mental health issues, and I want to help in those instances as well. I want to continue to let soldiers know that even when we are no longer in the uniform we are still a team, and have to look out for one another.
My name is Andrew Frye. I served in the Marine Corps from 2012 to 2016. Upon leaving active duty I enrolled and graduated from Arizona State University, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science. I currently serve as the Vice President of the ASU Student Veterans Association, an organization that advocates for student veteran success on campus. My future goals include getting my graduate degree and using that knowledge to serve veterans in my community, specifically attacking suicide and homelessness problems amongst vets. My ultimate goal is to provide Veterans, who suffer from medical malpractice, with affordable representation, whether their case is against civilian or veteran hospitals. I have noticed that many veterans suffer from malpractice related incidents and misrepresentation against Veterans Affairs, and I would like to advocate on their behalf. I have spent my time as a veteran advocating for other veterans and working towards helping others achieve their ultimate goals.
My name is Peggy Brooks. I served in the U. S. Army from March 1986 to October 1996. I have been a nurse for 10 years and I am currently enrolled in the RN-BSN program at Kent State University. I am a member of the Delta Xi chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, which is a nursing honor society. My future goals are to continue on for my Master’s degree as a Nurse Practitioner and I hope to work within the VA in my town so I can continue to serve my fellow veterans.
I decided to join the military in 2006 when I realized that I needed a direction in my life and that the Army would give me that sense of purpose that I had been looking for. I was not mistaken, when I did graduate from training, I was named top honor grad among nearly 300 other Soldiers. However, I was left with the feeling of needing to do more to truly make an impact and help. I knew that I had to join my brothers and sisters in defending this nation during a combat mission.
My third deployment was in support of OEF and located in Camp Beuring, Kuwait. During this mission, I was injured which ultimately resulted in the loss of function in my right hand. Upon healing from my surgeries I returned to duty in the South Carolina National Guard for about six months before being activated again to support the Warrior Transition Command as a squad leader. I used my experience as a wounded warrior to assist other Soldiers with the transition out of the military and most importantly back to their families.
The reason that I have explained my life up this point is that as far back I can remember I wanted to serve others. Honestly I thought that my path was to become a police officer; however, when I was injured and began to spend time with other wounded veterans I began to realize that my pain was in many ways similar to theirs. I fell in love with learning their stories and helping them successfully transition back to the person they were before the event. Since then it has been nearly four years and I am more passionate than ever about finding that veteran who believes there is no one there who cares or wants to listen. I feel as if it is my job and truly my honor to educate myself daily on ways to help the lost be found!
My name is Francisco Lopez. I served as an LVN and Medic in the United States Army from February 2005, to April 2014. While in the Army, I worked with our wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their families and retirees. I finished my service working as a squad leader in a medical company for the California National Guard.
I now attend California State University, Long Beach, where I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I also serve as a mentor for first semester nursing students through the California Nursing Students Association. I hold a strong belief that we must do all we can to care for the many veterans that have made incredible sacrifices in serving our country. This scholarship will help me achieve my goal of becoming a registered nurse, so that I may help the thousands of veterans coping with mental illness in Los Angeles County.
MSgt Kimberly Anne Babin, retired United States Air Force after 25 years of honorable service. I am an Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veteran. I ended my military career as a First Sergeant for the 439th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Westover ARB, Massachusetts. I am currently the Director of the Department of Veteran Services for a municipality in Massachusetts and I continue to aide and assist all veterans, past, present and future. My office provides cash aide, medical insurance, housing and fuel assistance to low income veterans and their families. We assist veterans by applying for VA claims such as Service Connected Disability Pensions, Non-Service Connected Disability Pensions, Aid & Attendance, Dependency Indemnity Compensation, Survivor’s Benefits, VA Educational and Home Loan applications, VA Burial benefits, etc. My husband and I have six children and five grandchildren. The military is a family tradition, my maternal grandfather fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII; my father was an Army retired veteran who served one tour in Korean and 3 tours in Vietnam; my husband is a 31 year retired Air Force Colonel and served one tour in Iraq; our two daughters and niece are currently serving in the Air Force and one son-in-law in the United States Army. I am a member of the American Legion Post 275 Legion Riders, AMVETS Post 12, and President – Reserve Officer Association League (ROAL).
My name is Andrew Petrie. I served in the United States Marine Corps from January of 2010 to December of 2013. I am an undergraduate student at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ currently double majoring in Political Science and History (Secondary Education). I am the President at the ASU West chapter and Vice President of the ASU Tempe chapter for the Student Veterans of America. Moreover, I am the Business Development Leader and a founding father of Tau Epsilon Phi Beta Tau Chapter. I have also previously worked for Veterans Upward Bound at ASU, and continue to advocate for veterans rights. I am currently interning at my local Congressional District Office (AZ-05) as a way to serve my community. My ultimate goal is to complete my law degree with a focus in veteran’s advocacy where I can make a difference on a larger scale.
My name is Sean Davis. I served in the United States Army from 2008 to 2012. I am a current student at Chattahoochee Technical College in Marietta, GA where I major in Automotive Technology. I am a prominent member of the veteran’s community at Chattahoochee Tech and make it my duty to reach out and connect with the local veterans both in the automotive program and attending the college. My purpose is to aid in their aspirations and provide them with the necessary tools and information to succeed in college and how to utilize the vast education benefits we have earned during our military service. I am currently employed as a mechanic and offer automotive expertise and little to no-cost automotive repairs to both disabled and non-disabled veterans. My goal is to graduate and continue working in the automotive industry helping veterans and providing my assistance where needed.
My name is Richard Barney. I am a medically retired Army veteran. I was wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2013 I medically retired from service after 8 years. I am currently working at FT Bragg NC as a contractor for the USARC HQ. I have a love for IT and a love for my fellow veterans. I am married to my best friend Jessica and we have three children Rioux, Marleigh, and Gwendolyn. I am so thankful I was able to serve with the finest men and women I know. I would love to give back.
My name is Omar Jimenez; I am a current student at MiraCosta College where I major in Sociology with an emphasis in Law and Society. At my college I also work for the Veteran Services where I help fellow veterans and their dependents utilize their education benefits. I received an honorable discharged from the United States Marine Corps in July of 2014 and since then I have been advocating for at risk groups. While I do volunteer my time to help at risk groups like foster children and veterans at my college, my goal in life is to become a lawyer and be able to advocate for them in the legal system. Too many times I see on the news how veteran housing, medical, education, and treatments are pushed to the side or even just overlooked by legislation; I plan to be the voice of my fellow veterans and advocate for those rights that every human being who has served our country deserves.
Rich Preuss grew up in South Bend, Indiana. He is the oldest of ten children, and he enjoys spending time with his family. Rich graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2007 with a B.S. in Physics with an Arabic language minor. He then served for seven years as an active duty Navy SEAL, deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America and The Caribbean. He has held leadership positions in SEAL and allied foreign military units conducting a wide range of missions, from direct action combat to foreign internal defense and counter narcotics operations.
Rich begins medical school in August, 2015, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine with the support of Hill & Ponton. He plans to become a trauma surgeon, and will continue to serve in the SEAL Reserves. As a doctor, Rich will connect with veteran patients in a way that only a fellow combat veteran can, and he looks forward to serving veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those from past wars. Additionally, he plans to work as a physician in suffering communities around the world that desperately need quality medical care, such as in war zones and areas suffering from natural disaster. He also hopes to join an expedition to the South Pole as the team doctor.
Rich is grateful for a challenging and rewarding SEAL career that has led him to the medical profession and prepared him to succeed as a doctor.
From a young age I held the dream of becoming an Airborne Ranger. Upon graduating high school I enlisted in the Army and attended the requisite training and selection for the Ranger Regiment, graduating the Ranger Indoctrination Program as the Honor Graduate in December of 2008. I served four years in 1st Ranger Battalion between 2008 and 2012, deploying three times in support of the Global War on Terror.
In August of 2012 I received an Honorable Discharge and immediately enrolled in college to pursue an education in Electrical Engineering. I currently attend the Georgia Institute of Technology, where I hold a 4.0 GPA.
I intend to use my education to remain in the fight. I believe I can do more for the United States and more for my fellow warriors with my talents as an engineer than I could by remaining in the Regiment. I hope to use my education to develop better and less expensive prosthetics for wounded Veterans, as well as the development of systems which will reduce the threats posed to our warriors in combat.