Proceeds from the Veteran Low to High Challenge will support our Partner Organizations, directly benefiting Wounded Service Members and their Families, Transitioning Combat Veterans, and Children of Fallen Service Members.
Operation Military Embrace
Operation Military Embrace is a military support organization committed to helping wounded warriors and their families and strives to increase public awareness of the challenges faced by America's military. Donations made from Orion's Low to High challenge will be aiding wounded and burned service members and their families.
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has provided $7.5M in assistance to children who have lost a parent in military combat. Providing scholarships and long-term educational counseling to children of fallen patriots ensures the future success of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to our country. Read the stories below to learn about three children currently receiving financial scholarships from COFP.
Kylie A. Owen
Will be attending University of Arkansas in Fall 2014, majoring in International Studies
Kylie Owen and her dad, National Guard Staff Sgt. Kirk Owen, shared a love of basketball and big dreams. They would lose track of time shooting free-throws and running drills at the local park, as they imagined her playing Division 1 college basketball. When her dad was killed in an IED explosion while on deployment in Afghanistan, the game stopped. Kylie was only 15 years old. The emotional toll started to affect her physically. "Basketball wasn't fun anymore. It was work." After her dad died, so did her dream of playing college basketball. It was time to make and pursue new dreams.
This August, she'll start her freshman year at the University of Arkansas as an international studies major, with the help of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. She was introduced to the organization through the widow of another National Guardsman who served in the same battalion as her father. Without the help of Fallen Patriots, Kylie says she probably wouldn't have been able to afford to attend a big university and would have enrolled at a community college in Oklahoma. She feels blessed to have this opportunity even though her dad is gone. She says the gift of a college education will enable her to do great things with her life.
"I pride myself in not only knowing how to play basketball, but in knowing how the game works and the strategy behind it. That's what my dad helped me learn and now that's how I approach everything in life." She knows that those skills along with the advice she received from her dad will serve her well as she enters this new chapter of her life. Before he passed, he told her, "Kylie, in life, everyone is going to let you down. Even me. But you can always count on God. He can get you through anything."
Kylie now plans to serve her country too and hopes to one day work in the political science field.
Freshman, University of Kentucky, Majoring in Psychology
"After my father, SSG Shaun Jeffrey Whitehead died in 2008 from blast injuries during hostile action, the Fort Campbell Survivor Outreach Services program contacted my mother. They told her about Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and how they could help pay for my college education. Since then, the foundation has made an enormous impact on my life. Not only have they helped me pay for my tuition, they also gave me enough money to buy a computer.
The foundation is beyond generous and works very efficiently. I really appreciate the fast responses to my questions and I'm very thankful I didn't have to take on the burdens of student loans. I'm looking forward to being successful in the future thanks to Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and hope to earn a Doctorate in Psychology at the University of Kentucky."
Stephen Anthony Bertolino, Jr. (Tony)
Senior, Brigham Young University, Majoring in Business
"I was 13 years old when my dad, Army SSG Anthony Bertolino was killed in an explosion in Haditha Iraq. My mother and three siblings were in shock to lose him. As the oldest child, I was the first to go to college. Knowing that the expense would be great, I decided to attend a community college. While there, I learned about Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Within a few weeks of enrolling, I found out I was eligible to receive grants from the foundation that would help me attend the college of my choice without having to take on any student loans. That assistance helped me achieve my dream of attending Brigham Young University where I'm now majoring in Business.
Words cannot express how grateful I am to Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation for their help. Without your help, I would have had to get a full-time job to help pay for room and board, which would have distracted me from my studies. Not having any student loans will also give me the opportunity to get my MBA after graduation. I hope to one day open my own business or become a marketing manager."