Since 9/11, more than 6,800 Marine and Navy Corpsman have been injured in combat while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, with over 400 having experienced major limb amputations1. Their more than 1,100 children, 21years old or younger, are navigating the unique challenges of living with a severely injured parent, which can often involve financial stress and uncertainty about affording college.
At tonight’s Chicago Dinner for the Children of the Severely Injured, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation will honor the sacrifices of thirteen injured Marines, while paving the way for their children’s educational future. This year, the Chicago Dinner Committee raised more than $1.2 million, contributing to $4.4 million raised since 2011 to relieve our Nation’s heroes of at least one burden, helping to provide their children with the gift of higher education.
While programs exist to help military families meet basic needs, higher education is often out of reach. The cost of college continues to outpace the average military income and college expenses have risen 121 percent in the last twelve years.2 The proceeds from the Chicago Dinner for the Children of the Severely Injured are directed to the Scholarship Foundation’s Heroes Tribute Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 in scholarships to eligible children of wounded Marine and Navy Corpsmen.
“Children of injured Marines are hidden casualties of war. They grow up fast – they have to – because overnight their lives are turned upside down as they become caregivers and take on adult responsibilities,” said Margaret B. Davis, President and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. “This is a special group of children who represent our next generation of leaders. In order to support their educational dreams, we will need to raise a potential $30 million over the next two decades, and that number will continue to grow as our wounded heroes have more children.”
The dinner involved Marine families as well as supporters from the military, business, media, and local communities, including:
- Military guest of honor General James N. Mattis USMC (Ret.)
- Remarks from Sergeant Major Raymond Mackey USMC (Ret.), a double amputee who lost both of his legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan
- Emcee Bill Kurtis, a veteran Marine reservist, son of a Marine aviator and seasoned journalist and news anchor