Stand Up for Heroes Luncheon Earns $100,000 benefiting the Army Scholarship Foundation
(October 29, 2015 – Dallas, TX) The inaugural Stand Up For Heroes luncheon at the Brook Hollow Golf Club recently brought in $100,000 to benefit the Army Scholarship Foundation (ASF) and provide scholarships for Army family members.
(Top photo: Jeff Gault, US Army, Retired and CEO of the Army Scholarship Foundation and his wife, Rose, luncheon chairs. US Army Private First Class Marty Nance and his wife, Samantha, a 2015 Fluor Honorary Scholarship recipient. Photo by Dana Driensky.)
Chaired by Rose and Jeff Gault, US Army, Retired and CEO of the Army Scholarship Foundation, the luncheon had an impressive attendance of over 200 sponsors and supporters, including many active duty and retired soldiers.
Jeff began with welcoming remarks followed by the National Anthem sung by Miss Texas Shannon Sanderford. Chaplain Wes Geary, Colonel, US Army Retired, gave the invocation. Chaplain Geary is a retired US Army Colonel. He is a graduate of the SMU Perkins School of Theology and is an ordained minister with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Colonel Geary was decorated for valor, and also received the Purple Heart medal while serving in Vietnam.
After the invocation, Jeff welcomed Lieutenant General Stanley Green, Ambassador Robert Jordan, Congressman Alan West and County Judge Keith Self and recognized Gold sponsor, Bell Helicopter, Silver sponsors AT&T, Hillwood (a Perot Company) and Mr. Colin Brown from Florida, and Bronze sponsors Graff Chevrolet, Willow Bend Retail Partners, PepsiCo and Frito-Lay.
He thanked his wife and co-chair, Rose Gault, President of ASF and Carmaleta Whitely, Advisory Chair and other members of the committee. He spoke about the Foundation’s goals and mission, saying that 50 scholarships were funded last year and yet the need is much greater.
Following lunch, Jeff introduced Lieutenant General Jay Garner, US Army retired, former Assistant Chief of Staff of the US Army, and Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq. LTG Garner introduced General John Abizaid, US Army, Retired, former Commander US Central Command. The crowd’s standing ovation applauded both gentlemen for their bravery and service.
GEN Abizaid spoke about the nation’s strategic situation and the necessity of giving US forces the tools to win, saying it is crucial to fund the nation adequately for defense. He said it is the responsibility of the nation’s citizens to keep its military a capable and a highly talented force. Part of that responsibility includes honoring our soldiers by educating their family members for our future. ASF provides a very rare opportunity to help the children and spouses of soldiers achieve a higher education and that opportunity is now. He concluded saying, “Our best days are ahead of us.”
Former US Ambassador Robert W. Jordan presented both GEN Abizaid and LTG Garner autographed copies of his book, “Desert Diplomat: Inside Saudi Arabia After 9/11,” followed by a standing ovation.
An emotionally charged video featuring the song “I’ll Stand By You” spotlighted the Army Scholarship Foundation and its beneficiaries, bringing home the message of the Foundation, moving some in the crowd to tearful moments.
A personal testimonial by Samantha Nance, a 2015 Fluor Honorary Scholarship recipient, gave insight into the real-life situation, every day struggles and triumphs facing many active troops today. She is a senior majoring in business and human relations at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Samantha is married to US Army Private First Class Marty Nance, assigned at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, who also attended the luncheon. Samantha and Marty have two young children, and in addition to being a college senior with a full load, she works full time in Denton. These are members of the community of young patriots who are making daily sacrifices in defense of our freedom and way of life every day. Samantha said that without this scholarship, her education would not be possible. Her plea did not fall on deaf ears, moving the crowd again, to a standing ovation.
Jody Dean, KLUV 98.7 FM Morning Show Host and emcee, closed by praising our troops for their dedication and brave service, both at home and abroad, in keeping our nation strong and protecting freedom, encouraging everyone to “go to the wall” for the US armed forces and show appreciation by supporting the Army Scholarship Foundation.
The luncheon Host Committee included: Darcy Anderson – Hillwood, a Perot Company, Mark and Patricia Armstrong, Jon Arnette – AT&T, John Avila -Thomas Byrne Construction, Shawn Black – DRS Technologies, Michael Blount – Balfour Beatty Construction, Sanford “Sandy” Brown – Bracewell & Giuliani, L.L.P., The Honorable Allen Clark, Michele Vonnegut Costello, Jeff Forbes – Beck Group, Otis and Carmaleta Felton – Otis Felton and Associates, Roger and Marena Gault, Stan Graff –Graff Chevrolet, Lieutenant General (USA, Ret) Jay Garner, Robert Hastings – Bell Helicopter, Jim Hathaway – PepsiCo, Mark House – Beck Group, Ambassador Robert Jordan, SMU, Michael Lunceford – Mary Kay, H. Ross Perot, Jr. – Hillwood, Bob Pikna, Agora Worldwide, Dave Scalera – Frito Lay, Patrick and Mary Sculley – Exercise Coach of Dallas, Joe Siniscalchi – L-3 Corporation, & Thomas and Joan Stephens – Stephens & Associates.
Media sponsors: The Park Cities News/The Waters Family; 98.7 FM KLUV.
Mission Statement: The Army Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit organization created by United States Army Veterans to serve soldiers and their families. The Army Scholarship Foundation’s purpose is to help children and spouse of soldiers to fulfill their dreams of higher education.
Key facts and figures:
- Nationwide college graduation rate is 60% – our recipients 95%.
- 48% of our students have STEM majors
- 50% of our students are first generation college students in their families
- Average student family income is less than $50K
- Most significantly, ASF is forced to turn down 7 out of 8 applicants due to funds shortages
History: In the year 2000, a handful of U.S. Army veterans joined together to develop plans for establishing a foundation to assist the needy sons and daughters of soldiers and Army veterans in achieving their dreams of higher education. It was the vision of these Army veterans that the Foundation would grow and be able to benefit an ever increasing number of deserving children of soldiers.
Following the events of 9/11, the Foundation took on a new meaning for its founders and volunteers. They established a scholarship in memory of a fellow soldier, Captain Jennifer Shafer-Odom who was killed during the war on drugs in Columbia, and additional scholarships were soon established in memory of those fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2001, the Internal Revenue Service recognized the Foundation as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, making all donations to the Foundation fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by federal law. In order to recognize the sacrifices of the spouses of serving enlisted soldiers, in 2006 the Board opened eligibility for scholarships to such spouses as well.
The Army Scholarship Foundation continues today as an all-volunteer organization, run by caring individuals seeking to assist Army family members in their educational pursuits as a small way of saying “thank you” for the many sacrifices made by our Army families.
(Press release courtesy Army Scholarship Foundation. Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations represents this organization for this event’s public relations. Photos by Dana Driensky.)