MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- “[OSC] raises money for scholarships and grants,” said Jessika Coons, 2nd vice president, OSC. “At the end of the year, we give the scholarships out to military children and spouses. The grants are awarded to businesses and organizations in the local area that support military families.”
Approximately 50 local business owners, military family members and students attended the event. During the ceremony, Eileen Murray, president, OSC, Lisa Bargeron, grant committee chair person, and Coons, awarded the scholarships and grants to students and organizations allowing them to be recognized in front of their family and friends. This year, OSC gave out $53 thousand in grants and scholarships.
“It’s a continual wheel of giving back,” Coons said. “Every [family] knows we raise the money to give back to the Combat Center community.”
Scholarship applicants are allowed to receive the scholarship only once. In order to be eligible for the scholarship the applicant must be a child or spouse of a service member, who is active duty, reservist or retired, and stationed in the local area. Both high school and college students are eligible. Students must write a 500-word essay explaining how they plan to use the money to further their education.
“This scholarship is going to make attending college a lot more comfortable, [especially] knowing that some of my tuition is already taken care of,” said Curtis Mohn, son of Keith Mohn, Comprehensive Environmental Training and Education Program coordinator, Natural Resources Environmental Affairs. “Everybody here has a different story and they all have different aspirations for their future. I think any amount of money helps and events like this are good for everyone involved.”
OSC raises the money needed for the scholarships and grants with fundraisers throughout the year. According to Coons the biggest fundraiser is Mardi Gras, a huge auction held at the end of February.
“It definitely takes some of the burden off of those who are sending their children to college,” Coons said. “As for the organizations, if there are membership dues or fees, the money that we give them helps to lower the cost required [for military members] to join.”
Businesses and organizations are allowed to continuously apply for grants. Eligibility for the grant requires the business or organization to prove the ways in which they provide support to military families.
“The focus of the grant is to work with veterans and current military staff, as well as their spouses, to provide scholarships so they can actually take the courses that are offered for advanced education,” said David Smith, superintendent, Joshua Tree National Park. “By ourselves, we cannot financially afford to give scholarships to all of the military employees and veterans. Our ability to serve this community would not exist without grants like this.”