FORT BENNING, Ga. – The Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning housing privatization partners, The Villages of Benning, held its annual Michaels Educational Foundation Scholarship Awards Luncheon July 18 at the National Infantry Museum, Columbus, Georgia.
Project Director George Patterson and Regional Facilities Director Damion Cunningham presented scholars with a Certificate of Academic Achievement. Each student received a scholarship after meeting the criteria to select grant recipients’ academic performance, character, and proficiency in a chosen academic field.
The scholarship is part of a program founded by the Michaels Organization Educational Foundation, a non-profit that awards scholarships during the academic year to students living in military housing communities, through voluntary contributions by companies and private individuals.
“The Army continues to remain thankful for the partnership that we experienced with the Villages of Benning, very appreciative of that [and] that they are going beyond the maintenance in their homes and [by also] taking care of families, through the scholarship and investment in people,” said John Strange, Garrison Chief of Housing.
The Villages of Benning had a total of 19 scholarship recipients for the 2022-23 academic year, who received a combined total of $139,000.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to give back to military families, whether it be the service member, spouse, or the student, and to contribute to their future,” said Heather Bearden, Community Director for the Villages of Benning.
Military family members and student scholarship winners expressed their gratitude at the end of the ceremony.
“I’m very grateful,” said award recipient Maggie S. Harkrader. “I didn’t think I would win it because there are so many more talented people than just me.” She plans on pursuing a biochemistry degree at Central Michigan University.
Award recipient Kaiyu Simmons was just as thankful. “I feel grateful and honored and very proud of what I accomplished this year.” He plans to pursue an agriculture engineering degree at Michigan State University.
Simmons’ brother-in-law, Capt. Christian Nattiel, said, "It feels great for Kaiyu to be able to do this. We're happy, the family is happy, and we are proud of him."