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Application Window Opens for Scholarship Program

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2003 – Nov. 4 kicks off the application period for the children of active duty, retired and Guard and Reserve members to apply for $1,500 academic scholarships. The application window for the 2004 Scholarships for Military Children program extends through Feb. 18.

Now in its fourth year, the program, operated by the Defense Commissary Agency, has awarded nearly $2.5 million in scholarships to some 1,500 children of U.S. service members and retirees.

The goal, according to Kay Kennedy, chief of corporate communications for the Defense Commissary Agency, is to award at least one scholarship at every commissary location, depending on the number of qualified applicants and funding.

Funding comes from manufacturers and suppliers whose products are sold at military commissaries, Kennedy explained. In addition, the Fisher House Foundation is underwriting the program's administrative costs.

The general public can also contribute to the program through the Fisher House Foundation and the Armed Forces Foundation.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Wiedemer, director of the Defense Commissary Agency, said he is excited about the program's growth. Last year, 550 scholarship recipients were selected from 6,500 applicants.

Among them was Matthew Clark, a junior at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., when he learned last year that he had been selected to receive what he described as a much-needed scholarship.

Clark wrote to officials at the Defense Commissary Agency that he always sensed that his father, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, had felt extreme frustration about not being able to work and provide for his family.

"I see this scholarship as an act of appreciation for what he did for our country," Clark wrote. "When I found out that I had won the award, I wrote him a letter of thanks. I told him that without his sacrifice, I would not have even had the opportunity to apply."

For more information about the scholarship program and application procedures, visit the program's Web site.

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