CHICAGO, Oct. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On October 23, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation will host the Chicago Dinner for the Gravely Wounded, honoring Marine and Navy Corpsmen who have been severely wounded in combat by awarding college scholarships to their children. Nearly 13,000 Marines were wounded in action while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom; 400 have experienced major limb amputations. The Scholarship Foundation will announce over $1,500,000 in new gifts for children of the wounded at the Chicago Dinner.
This year, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation celebrates 50 years of honoring Marines by educating their children, with consistent dedication to those who are wounded in combat. Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded nearly 30,000 scholarships valued at over $70,000,000. Nearly 2,000 students will receive more than $6,000,000 in vocational and post-secondary scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year.
These scholarships have a major impact on Marine families, particularly those in which a parent has been killed or wounded in combat, and make a difference at a time when the ever-increasing cost of higher education significantly outpaces the average Marine family income. Thirty severely wounded Marine families from all over the country will travel to Chicago, thanks to American Airlines' Miles for Kids in Need program, to attend Tuesday night's dinner and receive scholarship awards.
"The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is keenly aware of the struggles military families face, made all the more challenging if a parent is severely wounded in combat. By helping send the children of Marines who have debilitating physical or emotional conditions to college, the Scholarship Foundation empowers the next generation of leaders, honors their sacrifices, and strengthens America's workforce," said Margaret B. Davis, President and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
Lieutenant General John Kelly USMC, Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and future Commander, U.S. Southern Command, and his wife Karen Kelly will attend the Chicago dinner as guests of honor. Lt. Gen. and Mrs. Kelly's son, Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in 2011 during his Marine Corps service in Afghanistan. At the time, Gen. Kelly was the most senior military leader to speak openly about losing a child in Iraq or Afghanistan. His son's legacy of service is honored through the Scholarship Foundation's Lt. Robert Kelly Memorial Scholarship.
"We expect Marines, regardless of rank, to stand their ground and do their duty, becoming wounded or dying in the process, if that is what the mission takes," said Gen. Kelly. "Given all they sacrifice for us, it is our duty to stand behind them and their families and provide financial and emotional support where we can. Not only does the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation make college a reality for military children, but it connects families to a support system that can help them cope with such adversity."
Scholarship recipients prove the effectiveness of the program through their academic and professional achievements. Eighty percent of recipients graduate from 4-year institutions.
Chase Johnson, a senior psychology major at Arizona State University and recipient of one of this year's Chicago Dinner for the Gravely Wounded Scholarships, plans to continue his education at law school. Johnson's scholarship honors his father, Lance Corporal James Fain USMC (Ret.), who received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and four Purple Hearts for his valor while serving in Vietnam. The Department of Defense estimates that 304,000 service members were wounded in Vietnam; 75,000 of them were severely wounded.
"My father's Marine Corps career has had a very strong impact on me. He met challenges in situations that that would be unbearable for a common person head on. His four Purple Heart medals are a testament to his courage. This scholarship makes college affordable for me," said Johnson.
About the Foundation: Celebrating its 50th year, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to U.S. military families. Since inception, the Foundation has provided more than 30,000 scholarships valued at over $70,000,000 to Marine Corps children whose parents have been killed or wounded in combat or have demonstrated financial need. The Scholarship Foundation has a four-star Charity Navigator rating. For more information on the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation please visit http://www.mcsf.org/.
Eugenia R. Gardner, Director, Communications & Investor Relations
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
SOURCE Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation