Twenty-two family members of current and former 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Green Berets received scholarships from the 1st SFG Special Forces Scholarship Fund on July 7 at the group's regimental mess facility on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Since its founding in 2012, the fund has distributed more than $190,000 to 82 students. "It's an honor to celebrate the achievements of these 22 1st Group children," said retired Col. Rick Thomas, former 1st SFG commander and volunteer director who established the fund in 2012. "We recognize the next generation of our leaders whose futures are so promising," he said.

Thomas praised the high caliber of applicants who had competitive SAT/ACT scores, grades, athletic achievements, and community service.

"As a parent, I know it's hard to put kids through school," said. Col. Guillaume Beaurpere, 1st SFG commander. "The opportunities provided by the Special Forces Scholarship Fund are tremendously value-added."

Thomas and retired Col. Charles Higbee, fund co-director, presented the certificates to the students, who could apply for scholarships for up to four years of undergraduate education and two years of graduate scholarships.

Andrew McCaulley, who graduated from Yelm High School and will study aerospace engineering at the University of Washington, placed first in the scholarship order of merit list.

"With so many students applying to college, all scholarships are so competitive," he said. "I feel lucky to have the support of 1st Group for continuing my education past high school."

Some of the scholarships were named for donors, such as the Heritage Scholarship sponsored by the Heritage Distilling Company, or a scholarship sponsored by the Special Forces Association Chapter XVI.

The outstanding scholars receiving 2017 1st SFG Special Forces Scholarships and the schools they will attend are:

Kylie Ada, Pacific Lutheran University
Julia Bagshaw, Washington State University
Lauren Colonair, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mary Margaret Deedrick, Catholic University
Sierra Dickinson, Linfield College
Taylor Fernandez, Whitworth University
Caitlin Guiao, Chapman University
Taylor Guthrie, Ohio State University
Victoria Holcom, George Mason University
Bailey Hunt, Skagit Valley College
Seth Koivisto, Pacific Lutheran University
Madison Littlefield, University of San Francisco
Andrew McCauley, University of Washington
Alexis Orosco, University of Washington
Preston Palmer, University of Washington
Noah Prokopowicz, Seattle University
Jordan Reed, Florida Southern University
Teresa Shreve, University of Montavello
Bailey Stehn, Washington State University
Trentan Walker, Santa Clara University
Bobbye Wardlow, Hendrix College
Alex Wilson-Heid, Pennsylvania State University

The 1st SFG Special Forces Scholarship Fund is a 501(c)3 charitable, non-profit fund that provides merit based scholarships to the children of Special Forces Soldiers. Every dollar donated to the fund goes directly to scholarships for children and is fully tax deductible.