Just 3 Days Left to Apply for a Tillman Military Scholarship

Pat Tillman.

Pat Tillman.

The Pat Tillman Foundation is accepting applications for its 6th class of Tillman Scholars. The deadline to apply for this year’s class is March 6, 2014.

There’s a diversity among scholars and their ambitions, but they do have similar characteristics of a strong leadership potential with a goal of making a positive impact on one’s community.

Applicants will be selected on the following criteria:

  • Educational and career ambitions
  • Record of military service and/or community impact as a military spouse
  • Record of personal achievement
  • Demonstration of service to others in the community
  • Desire to continue to serve others and make a positive impact on your community
  • Leadership potential
  • Compelling, thoughtful, genuine and thorough essay question responses

The Tillman Military Scholarship is open to veteran and active-duty military service members with an honorable discharge both pre and post 9/11, current spouses of veterans or active-duty service members and surviving spouses. The applicant must be pursing a degree as a full-time student at an accredited U.S. institution in either undergraduate or graduate work.

Take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions. Applications can be made online.

Scholarships are available to military children through our partners at Fisher House Foundation, No Greater Sacrifice, ThanksUSA, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

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Pat Tillman Scholarship Applications Open Today

Pat Tillman, former NFL player.

Cpl Pat Tillman, former NFL player. Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Pat Tillman Foundation plans to award scholarships worth more than $1 million to 60 service members and their spouses for the 2013 class of Tillman Military Scholars.

This is the fifth year for the program. Tillman scholars are selected on criteria such as:

  • Record of personal achievement
  • Demonstration of service to others in the community
  • Desire to continue to serve others and make a positive impact on your community
  • Leadership potential
  • Compelling, thoughtful, genuine and thorough essay question responses

There are two essay questions for service members. The first focuses on how military  service changed your life. The second essay addresses your education goals and ambitions for continued community involvement and service.

Military spouse applicants are asked to explain your spouses service and how its inspired your service and sacrifice. Also, explain your educational and career goals and your continued service to the community and others.

Further selection criteria can be found on the Become a TMS page. The Tillman Military Scholars application opens on Monday, January 14. The application will remain open until 11:59:59 PM PST on Friday, February 15.

Marie Tillman Shares Her “Just in Case” Letter

Marie and Pat Tillman – an undated family photo. Photo courtesy of Marie Tillman.

My thanks to for her lovely post on Spouse Buzz explaining the “Just in Case” letter that many military members write prior to deploying.

The blog post highlights the “Just in Case” letter that Marie Tillman shared in her new book, The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss, & Life:

  • Just in case I don’t come back I want the money used to put the boys through college.
  • Just in case I don’t come back I want you to know that I was fighting for my country: my country is you and our babies and my mom and my sisters.
  • Just in case I don’t come back I want you to know that you were everything a wife was supposed to be. That you made my life happy. That even though we didn’t have 50 years together, the five we did have were the fullest, richest years anyone could ever want.
Marie shares in her book that her “Just in Case” letter from Pat Tillman is what has brought her the most comfort since his death. It takes bravery to write such a letter, but Marie Tillman offers some help. On her website www.justincaseletter.com she provides tips about how to write that kind of letter.

Pat Tillman Foundation Names 59 New Military Scholars

Pat Tillman left his professional career in the NFL to serve his country after 9-11.

A future history teacher and future neurologist are the new Pat Tillman Military Scholars selected at the University of South Florida for the 2012-2013 academic year.

They are among 59 recipients in the fourth class of Tillman Scholars chosen from 1,280 applicants.

Stephen Naylor is a veteran of the British Army who served in Afghanistan and is husband to a U.S. Air Force officer. He wants to teach and become a positive influence the lives of young people. Naylor was awarded a $10,000 scholarship and is expected to graduate in May 2013.

New Tillman Military Scholar Edward Woodward

Edward Woodward is a medically retired U.S. Air Force Captain currently enrolled in the Master’s in Medical Science program at USF. He plans to become a neurologist to assist veterans with traumatic brain injury.  Woodward will receive $50,000 in scholarship funds over the next five academic years, allowing him to complete the master’s program and continue on in the College of Medicine.

The full list of the 2012-2013 Tillman Military Scholars is available. Overall, the Pat Tillman Foundation has funded scholars from 71 different institutions across 34 states for their leadership in the military, the classroom and the community.

Pat Tillman Military Scholars: Three New Universities Join

Photo courtesy of the Pat Tillman Foundation.

The Pat Tillman Foundation has added three new university partners that support the Tillman Military Scholars program which provides educational scholarships for veteran and active servicemembers and their spouses. The  new additions begin the academic year 2012/2013:

  • Arizona State University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • University of Minnesota

The Pat Tillman Foundation is partnering with these and 11 other institutions to provide support for student veterans, active servicemembers and their families on campus. The university partners also help identify and select final candidates and actively build a community throughout the U.S. The other Tillman partners are:

  • Columbia University
  • Mississippi State University
  • San Diego State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan – Flint
  • University of Oregon
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Wyoming

Pat Tillman, courtesy of the Tillman Military Scholars Foundation.

The Tillman Military Scholars program helps fill in the gaps covering not only direct study-related expenses such as tuition and fees, but also other needs, including housing and child care. The Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded over $2.2 million in scholarship funds to 171 Tillman Military Scholars pursuing education at 59 different universities across 32 states.

Tillman scholars are connected by their intense desire for education, to improve their own lives and to serve their country and communities.

The application to become a Tillman Military Scholar opens on Monday, February 13. Learn more about eligibility and criteria at http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org/tillman-military-scholars/apply/.

About the Pat Tillman Foundation

Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat’s legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing educational support and resources to veterans, active servicemembers and their spouses.

Pat Tillman Military Scholars Paint the VA Garden

Pat Tillman Scholars paint the garden gazebo at the Haley's Cover Community Living Center.

It was not what one expects at a typical gathering of “scholars,” but these were Pat Tillman Military Scholars chosen for their military service, academic excellence and community involvement.

Music blared from the covered porch at Haley’s Cove Community Living Center – a long-term care facility for veterans at Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Medical Center.

Looking out beyond the patio to the enclosed garden – your eye is drawn past the raised planting boxes and barbecue grill to the gazebos – a hub of activity. The Tillman Scholars and friends were giving the weather-worn gazebos a fresh coat of white and green paint.

Coast Guard veteran Josiah Hill is a 2011 USF Tillman Scholar.

“The point is to not only raise awareness for veterans education, but also to promote service within the community. Which is why we’re here at the VA hospital right now,” said Josiah Hill, a Coast Guard veteran and one of four USF Tillman Scholars.

There are 171 Tillman Scholars nationally. Those living in the Southeast Region are gathered this weekend at the University of South Florida for leadership training as well as the community service project.

Hunter Riley is director of programs for the Pat Tillman Foundation based in Tempe, Arizona. He also helps select which applicants receive the scholarships worth up to $8,000. He said they look beyond someone who has excelled academically or excelled in their military career.

Hunter Riley is director of programs for the Pat Tillman Foundation.

“We’re looking for someone who has a transformational story, someone like Dave (Warden) who has had something really change his life at a young age and how he’ll be able to move on,” said Riley.

“That transformational story and what someone has done with that,” Riley said. “The story of grief or joy whatever it is, whatever experience you’ve had and are doing something now with it.”

In addition to helping active-duty and veterans with their education, the Pat Tillman Foundation works to bridge the gap between the civilian and military worlds.

Riley was pleased that civilians made up about 25 percent of the audience who came out to hear Pat Tillman’s widow, Marie Tillman, Friday night at USF.

Marie Tillman, Pat Tillman Military Scholars: Ready to Serve

Lance Corporal Dave Warden. Photo courtesy of the Pat Tillman Foundation website.

Finding Purpose in the Face of Adversity” is a theme personified by the widow of Pat Tillman and by a young Marine who – due to his combat  injuries – must leave the Corps and pursue another career.

Both Marie Tillman and Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dave Warden will discuss how they have overcome adversity and are moving on in life with a mission.

The story of Pat Tillman is known by many. The professional football player gave up his athletic career to join the military after the 9-11 attacks. He died in Afghanistan while serving his country in 2004.

His wife Marie started the Pat Tillman Foundation which offers scholarships to active duty military and veterans at selected universities who carry on his mission of service to others and community.

Warden is still active duty, a Tillman Scholar and studying accounting at the University of South Florida. I talked Warden – who is not a huge football fan – about why he applied for the Tillman Scholarship.

DAVE WARDEN: One of the big things that captured me was going onto the website, the Pat Tillman Foundation, and their biggest thing it wasn’t about the assistance or guidance, it was carrying on Pat’s legacy. And, he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and his career and his family and it was just being able to fulfill the legacy that he no longer can.

BOBBIE O’BRIEN: So, how do you plan to carry that forward as a Tillman Scholar?

WARDEN: It’s a difficult question to answer, but it’s by doing the right things, by doing what Pat would want done. I never had the opportunity to meet him but just hearing the stories about him, meeting his friends and his family you can kind of get the idea of the individual he is and it’s trying to base my actions and my awareness off of Pat.

O’BRIEN: You’re active duty military.

WARDEN: Yes ma’am.

O’BRIEN: You’re a student, you’re a scholar now as well which means you really have to hit the books.

WARDEN: Yes ma’am.

O’BRIEN: Then on top of that you are charged with recuperating or recovering from your injuries.

WARDEN: I am. It’s been, it’s been tough. This is my second semester back. You know, on Aug. 22nd, 2010, I C-6, my neck. So, I had a broken neck and my lower back I have five disks that are completely gone now. And then some pretty Traumatic Brain Injuries from four explosions recurring in about a four-hour time period. It’s been a lot to recover from in and out of the hospital quite often from Walter Reed to the war hospital in Germany and here at the Haley Center now.

But, it’s getting used to things again. It’s learning you know that a lot was taken from me. My memory is struggling and my focus is wavering, but it’s still there and I’m still determined. And it’s just now I’m having to work harder than ever.

O’BRIEN: Was that part of the Tillman Scholarship, having to write an essay about what you’re working to overcome to be a successful student and person in service to the community?

WARDEN: Yes ma’am, absolutely. And one of their biggest questions is: How are you going to represent this organization and how are you going to be that guy? Again, to carry out Pat’s legacy and what have you done in your past that makes you rate this scholarship or what do you plan to do in your future? That was one of the big questions for them.

O’BRIEN: What are you planning on doing?

WARDEN: I was planning on making a career in the Marine Corps. I went through Officers’ School in 2009 with plans on commissioning and then decided to go on this last deployment instead of taking my commission as an officer. You know, then stuff happens, it’s just moving on and learning my next goal. So right now I’m trying to get hired on with JP Morgan as a financial analyst and personal banker. So, we’ll see how that goes.

OBRIEN: Are you giving up the dream of Officer Candidate’s School?

WARDEN: That’s pretty much gone now with my injuries, it’s, ah, I can’t keep my career in the Marine Corps going. But, you know on another sector, you know I’ve always been one to support and defend so I’m actually looking into forensic accounting with the FBI. So, it will be my next step.

The Southeast Regional Gathering of Tillman Military Scholars is this weekend at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Friday features the discussion, “Finding Purpose in the Face of Adversity,” with Marie Tillman, Warden and other Tillman Scholars at the USF Marshall Student Center. A reception is at 5 p.m., and the program at 7 p.m. in Room 2709.

On Saturday, the Tillman Scholars have planned a community service project at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center. Their focus will be sprucing up the outdoor garden area at the Haley nursing home facility, repainting the gazebo and making other repairs. Sunday will include workshops and attending the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the New Orleans Saints football game.

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