(Featured photo: The Honorable Allen B. West, former U.S. Congressman, and Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Retired, featured speaker; Luncheon chairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Air Force (Ret) Rose Gault and Colonel (U.S. Army, Ret) Jeff Gault.)*
The 3rd Annual Help Our Heroes luncheon at the Brook Hollow Golf Club benefited the Army Scholarship Foundation (ASF) which provides scholarships for children of US Army soldiers and spouses of active duty enlisted soldiers.
Chaired by Rose and Jeff Gault, US Army, Retired and CEO of the Army Scholarship Foundation, the luncheon had an impressive attendance of over 250 sponsors and supporters, including many active duty and retired soldiers.
Jon-David Wells, emcee and host of the USA Radio Network’s “The Wells Report,” began with welcoming remarks followed by the National Anthem sung by Matt Nall, Sergeant First Class, Music Director for the Metropolitan School of the Arts and a baritone vocalist member of the United States Army Chorus.
After the invocation by Reverend Jamie Malakoff, Jeff welcomed Lieutenant General Stanley Green, Lieutenant General Jay Garner, and today’s featured speaker, Congressman Allen B. West, US Army (Retired). He also thanked Gold sponsor Bell Hellicopter; Silver sponsors AT&T and Hillwood, a Perot Company and 7-Eleven; Bronze sponsors NexBank, Christus Health, Glass Doctor of Dallas Metroplex and USAA.
Following lunch, Jeff thanked gave heartfelt thanks to his wife and co-chair, Rose Gault, President of ASF, Carmaleta Whiteley, Advisory Chair and other members of the committee and host committee. He spoke about the Foundation’s goals and mission, saying that 126 scholarships were funded last year and yet the need is much greater.
He gave profiles of scholarship recipients beginning with Samantha Nance, who has now graduated TWU and works fulltime with Gold sponsor, Bell Helicopter; Alexis McFarlan and Tony Beck, who are all in strong pursuit of their education. The ASF scholarship students have a 95% graduation rate as compared to a 65% national rate.
Jon introduced Lieutenant General Jay Garner, US Army, Retired, who was appointed as the Director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in 2003, was Commanding General of the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command and many commands prior to that. He presented the featured speaker, Congressman Allen B. West, US Army (Retired), who spoke about the spouses and children who benefit from the Foundation’s scholarships, asking those serving in active duty or who have served to stand. At least half the crowd stood and the rest of the crowd’s standing ovation recognized their bravery and service.
Congressman West also said the strength of the US troops depends on stability at home and the Army Scholarship Foundation’s work is critical to enabling quality of life, making college education available and filling a void in their lives. He said the United States has a world class Army because of the strength of the troops and everyone has a responsibility to continue supporting AFS’s mission, that 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.
An emotionally charged video spotlighted the Army Scholarship Foundation and its beneficiaries, bringing home the message of the Foundation, moving some in the crowd to tearful moments and then everyone stood and sang a rousing rendition of The Army Goes Rolling Along.
Colonel John Antal, US Army (Retired) and author of 7 Leadership Lessons of D Day and 7 Leadership Lessons of the American Revolution, was invited to the stage and presented Congressman West with copies of each book.
In closing, Jon praised the troops for their dedication and brave service, both at home and abroad, in keeping the United States strong and protecting freedom, encouraging everyone to invest in these young people, which is an investment in the country’s future.
The luncheon Host Committee included: Lieutenant Colonel (USA Ret) Woody Alexander, Association of the US Army; Darcy Anderson, Hillwood; Jon Arnett, AT&T; The Honorable Allen Clark; Michele Vonnegut Costello; Otis and Carmaleta Felton; Lt General (USA, Ret) Jay Garner; Roger Gault, The Gault Company; Stan Graf, Graf Chevrolet; Lt. General (USA, Ret) Stanley Green; Robert Gunby, RTG Capital; Robert Hastings, Bell Helicopter; Dierk Hohman, NexBank; Colonel (USA, Ret) J.P. Hogan, Association of US Army; Colonel (USAF, Ret) Ralph Hodge; Ellen Houlihan, Raytheon; Congressman Sam Johnson, Texas; Ambassador Robert Jordan, SMU; Colonel (USA Ret) Richard Kaniss, Association of US Army; Michael Lunceford, Mary Kay Foundation; Major General (USA, Ret) Mike Marchand; Tad McIntosh, HumCap, Inc.; Andrew Nall, Radiant Financial; Larry Patterson, Glass Doctor of North Texas; Patrick and Mary Sculley, The Exercise Coach of Dallas; Congressman Pete Sessions, Texas; Thomas and Joan Stephens, Stephens & Associates; Meredith Walker, East West Institute Board of Councilors; Congressman Allen West, NCPA; The Honorable Alberto Zapanta, USA, Ret, US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.
Media sponsors are The Park Cities News/The Waters Family and KDBT 1160 AM.
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 65% – 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.
- Photos by Dana Driensky
(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent the Army Scholarship Foundation.)