America Supports You: Commissary, Fisher House Offer Scholarships
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2005 The Defense Commissary Agency and the Fisher House Foundation have teamed up again to offer educational scholarships to children of military families and retirees.
The Scholarships for Military Children Program is marking its sixth year, DeCA spokesman Kevin Robinson said. The goal, he said, is to provide at least one $1,500 scholarship for each of DeCA's 268 commissaries worldwide.
"It's important for us to give back to the military community that we serve," Robinson said. "This is one of the ways we do that, in addition to providing a commissary benefit to our customers."
He added, "Helping the children of military families get an education" is a very worthy cause.
Authorized applicants include unmarried children under age 21 of active duty, Guard or Reserve, or military retiree families, Robinson said. Applicants may also range up to 23 years in age if they are enrolled in school.
The application period for this year's DeCA-Fisher House scholarship program starts Nov. 1 and closes Feb. 22, Robinson said.
Application forms for the program will become available in November for pick-up at commissaries worldwide and for download via the Internet at www.commissaries.com or at www.militaryscholar.org.
Robinson said applicants are required to write and submit an essay on why they admire a great past or present military leader. More than one scholarship per commissary may be awarded, Robinson said. In 2004-05, he said, 500 scholarships were awarded.
The Fisher House Foundation administers the scholarship program, which is funded by manufacturers and suppliers of groceries and services in the commissary system, Robinson said.
Last year, the DeCA-Fisher House program awarded around $750,000 in scholarships, said David Coker, the Fisher House Foundation's executive director. More than $3.2 million in scholarships have been awarded since the program began, Coker said. An outside review panel selects scholarship recipients, he noted.
The annual DeCA-Fisher House scholarship program is conducted "to honor those that serve," Coker said.
Fisher House also builds and runs living quarters on the grounds of major military installations and Veterans Affairs medical centers so family members can be close to hospitalized loved ones.