Always (the Child of) a Marine

As this year’s application period draws to a close, we’re looking forward to our favorite time of year; award season! It’s around this time that we receive thousands of thank you letters from our newly awarded scholars and get to read each of their inspiring stories of impact. Here’s a look back at one of our favorites: a note from Pamela Jones, whose journey embodies what it means to be Semper Fi.

Thank you for the kindness and generosity you have shown in awarding this scholarship to me in honor of my father’s service in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. This gift has enabled me to continue my education by easing the financial burden that going back to school has put on my family’s finances. By awarding me this scholarship, you have given me a second chance in life and chance for a new career–one where I can follow my dream of becoming a nurse to help others in need as we were helped after my husband’s near fatal burn injuries.

On December 26, 2010, our lives changed forever. In a home fire accident, my husband’s shirt caught fire while leaning against our counter, near a pot of soup heating on the stove. He suffered life threatening third degree burns over 21 percent of his body. When it was time for us to leave the hospital, my desire to become a nurse was reborn. I had never felt anything like the accomplishment I felt as I cared for my husband’s wounds; I knew I had found my calling in life. After my husband was recovered enough for me to return to work, I closed my small antiques and crafts business and enrolled in Athens Tech ADN nursing program in 2011.

No one in my generation or those before me had attended college and neither had I. Due to family circumstances, my father had to leave high school his senior year and did not finish his education before joining the Marine Corps. It was because of the Marines, he was finally able to finish his education.
Growing up, my father shared many stories of what being a Marine meant to him. His Marine Sergeant took him under his wing and taught him things that would influence the rest of his life, like how to open a savings account and why it was important.

Unfortunately, during my schooling we lost my father. I missed the deadline to apply for nursing school that year after withdrawing mid-semester to help my mom through his loss. I did not let that temporary detour deter my dream. I went back to school the following semester and applied for nursing school, getting in on my first try.

Honoring my father’s name and service in the Marine Corps by keeping up my grades and graduating has been my goal and what I am most proud of so far. I look forward to finishing the program and becoming an RN so I can begin to help others with the skills I have learned.

With the financial challenges of closing my business coupled with the massive medical bills not covered by insurance from my husband’s accident, my staying in school depends on in large part to help from this scholarship.

I am thankful that there is no age limit on this scholarship application. I was told “Once the child of a Marine, always the child of a Marine
With this in mind, I want to take the opportunity once again to say Thank you! Your support truly means the world to me. You are making a difference not only in my life, but also in the lives of my entire family and for that I will be eternally grateful. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.