By ARNEWSMarch 14, 2012
FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service, March 14, 2012) -- Service members, veterans and their spouses have until midnight Friday to apply for the Pat Tillman scholarship.
"We plan on awarding about a million dollars in scholarships this year," said Hunter Riley, director of programs for the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The scholarships will go to 60 veterans and their spouses who plan to go to back to school full-time. Active-duty military, Reserve and National Guard troops are eligible, Riley said.
Over the past three years, the foundation has awarded $2.2 million in scholarships to 171 students, he said.
Those interested in applying for this year's scholarship need to go to the foundation's website at www.pattillmanfoundation.org and explain what motivated them to join the military. Spouses are asked to discuss their service to others and the community.
"We're building a community of what we consider to be the leaders of the next greatest generation," Riley said.
Capt. Rob Anders received one of the first Tillman scholarships in 2009. He served in Afghanistan 2005-2006 and then went to Iraq 2006-2007. He graduated last spring from Georgetown University with a master's degree in environmental and energy policy. Now he's serving a fellowship with the Department of Energy as he continues his military career with the the District of Columbia National Guard.
Funds for the scholarships come primarily from fees collected at the annual "Pat's Runs," according to Riley. These runs are held around April 22, the day Cpl. Pat Tillman was killed while serving with the 75th Rangers in Afghanistan.
The largest of these races takes place at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., where Tillman played for the Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the wake of 9-11. It's a 4.2-mile race because Tillman's jersey number for the Cardinals was 42, Riley explained.
About 25 "shadow" runs are held across the nation in April, Riley said, with about 32,000 runners participating last year. Nine "troop runs" were also organized last year at forward bases overseas, Riley said. Three of those were in Afghanistan.