America Supports You: Scholarships Help Fallen GIs' Families
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2005 Becky Campbell's son, David, is in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.
The Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund co-sponsors fundraisers - such as the Yellow Ribbon 5-Kilometer Run held in November 2004 at Chapel Hill, N.C. - to benefit military families. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
After her son returned home safe after a tour of duty in Iraq in 2003, Campbell said she decided to help military families who'd suffered the loss of a loved one.
"I wanted to do something," Campbell said.
So Campbell founded the nonprofit Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund in October 2003. She said the all-volunteer, nationwide group provides scholarship money to surviving spouses and children of military families from all branches of the armed forces.
"We're a grassroots organization not affiliated with anybody in the government. (We're) just a lot of people wanting to help the families," said Campbell, a resident of Gaithersburg, Md.
Thus far, the group has helped six families of deceased servicemembers, distributing more than $26,000 in scholarship funds, Campbell said.
She said her group receives donations from public and private sources from across the United States. She said her group also co-sponsors fundraisers for servicemembers' families, such as 5-kilometer runs.
Campbell said her organization plans to provide more college grants in January, bringing the total of distributed funds to more than $36,000.
People can provide donations through the organization's Web site, www.childrenoffallensoldiersrelieffund.org, or through the mail via an address listed on the site, Campbell said. Churches, schools and businesses also donate to the cause, she said.
"We have a lot of support from the public," Campbell said, noting Americans are eager and proud to show support for U.S. servicemembers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Our country is built of a lot of heroes that have died in past wars protecting our country or protecting other countries," Campbell said. And many Americans today have family members or relatives in the military and want to do something to help them, she pointed out.
At first Campbell just wanted to provide college money for one or two children of military families in need.
"And then," she said, "I just decided that I wasn't going to stop."