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Commissaries, Fisher House Co-Sponsor Scholarship-

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2000 – High school students of active duty, reserve component and retired military members have until Feb. 15 to write their way to a share of more than $400,000 in college money.

The new Scholarships for Military Children program, co- sponsored by the Defense Commissary Agency and Fisher House Foundation Inc., plans to present more than 280 awards worth at least $1,500 each.

"The program will enhance our local commissaries as important quality of life benefactors for military families," said commissary agency director Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert J. Courter Jr. "Our stores will be able to increase their impact by providing educational opportunities for the children of our military communities."

The commissary agency's 288 stores worldwide have "long supported promotions with a focus on education," he said. Many of the agency's commercial vendors are donating the scholarship money.

Courter said the DeCA-Fisher House scholarship program complements, and should not affect, existing local or regional scholarship programs sponsored by installation activities, affiliated organizations, or local vendors and commissaries.

Children of active duty, Guard, Reserve and retired military identification card holders need a minimum 3.0 high school grade-point average to apply. They also must write a short essay on "What Being a Military Dependent Means to Me."

Interested students can pick up instructions and applications at commissaries or download them from the Internet at DeCA's Web site, www.commissaries.com.

Completed applications and essays must be returned before Feb. 15 to the student's local commissary. Store officials will validate applications by checking the student's or sponsor's IDs, DeCA officials said.

Fisher House is administering the scholarship program and accepting the donations to fund it, spokesman James Weiskopf said. A contractor supervised by Fisher House would screen the essays and applications and determine scholarship recipients, he said. Winners will be notified by April 30.

The nonprofit Fisher House organization was founded by the late philanthropist Zachary Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth. It is perhaps best known for its 26 Fisher Houses, located near military and Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country. Fisher Houses help 5,000 military families annually by offering them a "home away from home" while loved ones are receiving medical care.

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