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Scholarship Fund Established for Surviving Spouses and Children of Iraqi Freedom Killed

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2003 – Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers and his wife, Mary Jo, expressed gratitude today for a $1 million corporate donation for scholarships for spouses and children of U.S. and coalition personnel killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On hand for the announcement were Stacy Menusa and son, Joshua, 3. Her husband, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif., was killed in action March 27.

"The families of these great patriots face many challenges and now due to such generosity, I think they're going to have a little easier time securing an education for their children," Myers said. ". . .This scholarship fund is a great way to show our support for this family and the hundreds of others just like them," he added.

Mrs. Myers said that just as service members endure tremendous hardship and sacrifices serving their country, so do their families. "Those who kissed their loved ones goodbye, not knowing where they are going, where they might be, or when they might be returning, they also serve," she said. "Those who wipe a tear from a frightened child or kiss a knee, they also serve. Those who fly the flag and tell their child that their mother or father is away serving so that our world is safer place, they also serve."

She said that it is important for military families to know that they are never alone, that "the military family is there to support them." But, she added, the scholarship fund shows that military families also have the support of a whole nation, and "that America feels their loss and reaches out (with) a hand of caring and compassion."

Menusa said she welcomes news of the scholarship. She said when she lost her husband, she did not know how she would manage or how she would afford to send her son to college.

"This really means a lot to me. It's happy to know you're going to be taken care of," she said. "People always say, 'The military is going to take care of you.' Well, now I know it's not just the military, but the rest of the nation as well."

The donation by Anheuser-Busch Companies, to be distributed through the Intrepid Museum Foundation, will be called the "Intrepid/Anheuser-Busch Fallen Heroes Fund." "Every dollar that has been donated for scholarships will go towards scholarships," said Arnold Fisher, museum foundation chairman. "There will be no administrative costs, and that's important."

Over the years, museum foundation has provided more than $15 million to families of military personnel killed in the line of duty.

Patrick Stokes, Anheuser-Busch president and chief executive officer, said, "We know that war is never without cost," referring to the more than 170 U.S. and coalition forces killed during Iraqi Freedom. "They leave behind mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sons and daughters who must struggle to rebuild their lives as they mourn the loss of a loved one."

"Our debt to them is immeasurable," he said.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAir Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, talks to reporters in Washington May 9. He offered his appreciation to the Anheuser-Busch Companies and the Intrepid Museum Foundation for the establishment of a scholarship fund for the families of U.S. and coalition force members killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageStacy Menusa, and son Joshua, 3, came to Washington from California for the announcement of a scholarship fund to aid families of U.S. and coalition force members killed during the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her husband, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif., was killed in action in Iraq March 27. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample  
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