Jacksonville University is the first higher education institution in the U.S. to partner with the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation in awarding scholarships to students whose veteran parents died in the line of duty.
As part of the agreement, JU will offer 40 percent scholarships to qualified applicants that will complement assistance given by the Fallen Patriots Foundation.
At a signing ceremony held in April, Kenzi Merck, a former scholarship recipient and Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Program Administrator received a standing ovation after describing how being an award recipient shaped her future. Merck lost her father in the line of duty in Iraq in 2005.
“Dad left behind three kids and a wife, and there was a financial burden on the family,” she said.
“When we got the call from the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, it was the first time since he died that we cried tears of joy. I thank JU for offering such an amazing opportunity to students who are going through what I went through. I am very proud to know that I made my dad proud, and I know these students will, too, when they come to Jacksonville University.”
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation Executive Director John Coogan said the foundation, created in 2002 and now based in Jacksonville Beach, has awarded more than $6.5 million in scholarships to more than 400 surviving children. The not-for-profit has already identified 5,000 of the estimated 15,000 children who have lost a parent in the line of duty over the last 25 years.