CHICAGO, Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On October 3, Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Dakota Meyer, USMC (Ret.) will be in Chicago, Illinois to meet the 12 students who have received scholarships to attend college this year thanks to the Dakota Meyer Scholarship Initiative. In partnership with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Sgt. Meyer has raised $1,000,000 and is renewing his Challenge to America to match his efforts and raise an additional $1,000,000 to educate the children of wounded Marine and Navy Corpsmen through college graduation.
The Dakota Meyer Scholarship Initiative allows Americans to help wounded Marines from all conflicts, especially those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sgt. Meyer's initiative is part of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation's 50-year history of honoring Marines by educating their children, and a testament to the support that has come from the military community since the Scholarship Foundation was founded. Since 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded nearly 30,000 scholarships valued at over $70,000,000. This year, close to 2,000 students will receive more than $6,000,000 in vocational and post secondary scholarships.
The funds that Sgt. Meyer has raised to date have been used to create endowed scholarships in the name of the Marines, Navy Corpsman and Afghani soldiers who served with Sgt. Meyer. Each scholarship will be awarded annually in perpetuity, with the help of a strong response to Sgt. Meyer's Challenge to America.
"With the Dakota Meyer Scholarship Initiative I wanted to honor my comrades, those who put themselves in harm's way to protect their country and the families whose hardships continue when a wounded Marine comes home from combat," said Sgt. Meyer. "The students who have received scholarships to attend college this year through my initiative are not only deserving of the help, but have proved that they will go on to do great things. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation empowers students to beat the odds, graduate with competitive degrees and become the next generation of American leaders."
Sgt. Meyer's renewal of his Challenge to America coincides with the release of his memoir Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle of the Afghan War, which details the heroic efforts at the Battle of Ganjigal that earned Sgt. Meyer the first Medal of Honor awarded to a living Marine in three decades.
"Sgt. Meyer showed unparalleled bravery in Afghanistan and continues to fight for what he believes in. His determination to help his fellow Marines and make college a reality for their children is inspiring. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is lucky to have a partner who understands the challenges that Marine families face, particularly when a parent has been wounded in combat, and confronts those challenges head-on," said Margaret Davis, President and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
Like Sgt. Meyer, the parents of Dakota Meyer Scholarship recipients have demonstrated the utmost bravery and selflessness in service to their country. Hayley and Jordan Barber both received scholarships in honor of their father, Master Sergeant John T. Barber, USMC (Ret.), who served for 20 years and was wounded in Iraq. Master Sgt. Barber received numerous shrapnel wounds while positioning members of his platoon to return enemy fire.
"Like most military families, my life has been shaped by both the absence and the presence of my father, a proud Marine. I hear his stories and know he has sacrificed, and like many who have served, he has faced unique challenges including long separations and being wounded, from which he is physically healed but carries scars that we will never see," said Hayley Barber, who studies nursing at Coastal Carolina Community College.
To help Sgt. Meyer raise an additional $1,000,000 to educate the children of wounded Marines, go to http://www.dakotameyer.com/.
About the Foundation: Celebrating its 50th year, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to U.S. military families. Since inception, the Foundation has provided more than 30,000 scholarships valued at over $70,000,000 to Marine Corps children whose parents have been killed or wounded in combat or have demonstrated financial need. The Scholarship Foundation has a four-star Charity Navigator rating. For more information on the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation please visit http://www.mcsf.org/.
Eugenia R. Gardner, Director, Communications & Investor Relations
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
SOURCE Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation