By Eric Mitchell, AW2 Advocate in Colorado
The snow and freezing weather conditions could not stop five Fort Carson wounded warriors and seven spouses of wounded warriors from attending the Colorado Technical University Wounded Warrior and Spouse Scholarship Awards Reception and Dinner held at The Briarhurst Manor Estate in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Each of the wounded warrior and spouse recipients are members of the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Unit (WTU).
During the reception, recipients and their guests had the opportunity to meet and speak with CTU leadership as well as their individual CTU Mentor/Student Advisors. Fort Carson AW2 Advocates Susan Holmes and Marlo Walker were invited to attend the event as a result of their dedicated work in assisting these wounded warriors and spouses apply for, and receive scholarships. Also in attendance was Ms. Annie Oatman-Gardner from U.S. Senator Bennett’s office, Mr. Casey Howard from Senator Udall’s office, and Mr. John Herd from U.S. Congressman Lamborn’s office.
After feasting on a dinner of various salads, London broil, turkey and dressing, ham, pasta, shrimp, and oysters, CTU President and CEO, Dr. Wallace Pond, welcomed the recipients into the CTU family. He also noted that AW2 Soldier SPC Andrew Trotto and his wife Danielle were the first couple to both receive scholarships. They were officially christened CTU’s “First Couple.” Each of the recipients was presented a certificate of scholarship, a fully loaded laptop computer, and a CTU backpack. As part of their scholarships, the awardees will also receive personalized student advisor mentor support, books, materials and lifetime technical support and job placement.
To be eligible to compete for award of these scholarships, the Soldier had to be “a member of a selected Warrior Transition Unit receiving treatment for injuries as a result of combat operations or as a result of training preparing to deploy to combat.” The wounded warriors/spouses were required to complete an application, receive a Commander’s certification, and write an essay explaining how they will use the scholarship. AW2 Soldier and Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs Tammy Duckworth convened the CTU selection board and I was honored to serve on the board with her.
This is the third year CTU has provided this yearly scholarship opportunity to wounded warriors, and this is the first year that CTU has awarded scholarships to spouses of wounded warriors. CTU has awarded 100 scholarships to date. Similar events were held in Washington, DC and Fort Bragg, NC.
CTU awarded scholarships to the following AW2 Soldiers and Spouses: SSG Michael Francisco, SGT Cynthia Galvin, SGT Jason Nash, SGT Eric Sassenfeld, SPC Andrew Trotto, Martha Ann Claiborne, Samantha Friese, Barbara Huntington, Jillian Rickman, Nicole Smith, Danielle Trotto, and Katelyn Jordan.
Congratulations to all of you on your scholarships and may your studies be successful!