The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has announced that its Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship program has raised nearly $762,000 for awards this fall to 165 student veterans attending colleges across the country.

“Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life face a host of challenges, but together with our friends at Sport Clips we’re able to ensure that struggling to finance their last semesters of college isn’t one,” said VFW National Commander Doc Schmitz.

Since it was established in 2014, the scholarship program has given more than $6.4 million in scholarships to more than 1,450 military and student veterans. Awards of up to $5,000 are available. 

“My final semester is the only semester that is not covered by my GI Bill benefits and the only semester I will be financially responsible for,” said Victoria Phelps, an Air Force veteran attending Temple University. “This scholarship will be a bridge to help facilitate a less financially stressful final semester."

Help A Hero scholarships are awarded twice a year to help cover the cost of tuition and fees of service members and veterans in the rank of E-5 and below. Scholarship applications are being accepted for the 2019 fall semester.

Although Westerly does not have a Sports Clip Haircuts location, your support of this program is greatly appreciated. Both the University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island have chapters of Student Veterans of America. SVA provides peer support to veterans transitioning to civilian life and academia. Additional chapter information can be located on their Facebook pages and on the respective school websites. Therefore, veterans attending URI and CCRI will be able to benefit from this financial support.

Camp Resilience Military Sexual Trauma Retreat: The Patriot Resilient Leader Institute will run this retreat from 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, through 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10, in Gilford New Hampshire. This retreat is intended to help veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma build resilience by learning to understand and strengthen interpersonal boundaries and relationships. Activities will include art therapy and group discussions. The retreat will also include sports such as kayaking, hiking, aerial treetop adventures, yoga and water aerobics.

Up to 12 veterans can participate. To apply, visit https://www.camp-resilience.org/apply.html. There is no cost, but participants are generally responsible for arranging for their own transportation to and from the retreat. Questions? Contact: Alyssa Tetreault Mosher, Program Coordinator | Patriot Resilient Leader Institute, (978) 219-4003, amosher@camp-resilience.org.

 Purple Heart Day: On Aug. 7 we honored our military members who have been wounded or killed in action. It is the oldest military honor to be bestowed, and to date over 1.9 million Purple Hearts have been awarded. In 1992 the Purple Heart Trail was approved by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The trail originates in Mount Vernon, Va.,  the home and burial site of George Washington. Washington’s Badge of Merit inspired the modern Purple Heart.

On Aug. 7, Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a proclamation declaring Rhode Island a Purple Heart State, and on the same day the Town of Westerly was declared a Purple Heart Town by the Town Council. The Westerly initiative was led by council member William J. Aiello and VFW Post 8955 Commander Willian Siano. Purple Heart signs will soon be posted at all roads entering Westerly.

Post 8955: The Auxiliary will host a spaghetti dinner on Sept. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. The public is invited to this event, which will benefit all veterans and their families.

Post Riders Post 8955, through coordination with the American Red Cross of Rhode Island, will be host a communitywide blood drive on Oct. 20 at the Post. The Post Riders is the newly formed motorcycle element of the Post. You do not need to have a motorcycle to join this group; Scott Fricke is the point of contact.

New members are welcome to attend our next monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4,  at the Post Home, 113 Beach St., Westerly. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month. Let your voice be heard. If you know of a comrade or family of comrade in distress please contact Comrade Dora Vasquez-Hellner, 401-212-6377 for assistance.

The VFW welcomes as members all who meet our eligibility criteria. It is through service to this country that all our members have earned their elite status. If you have received a campaign medal for overseas service; have served 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days in Korea; or have ever received hostile fire or imminent danger pay, then you're eligible to join our ranks.

Project Outreach: This service is available to all veterans and their families who need information regarding resources and agencies. These are benefits you have earned. Our outreach officer is ready to meet with you the first Wednesday and third Monday of each month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Post Home. Appointments are not needed to meet with the service officer, Walter Kimball; 401-596-0470.

This week in military history: 1944 – “Dammit colonel, I’m looking up at Notre Dame!” became the battle cry of an ongoing feud between two former National Guard units as each claim the bragging rights as the first American unit to enter Paris just as the Germans abandoned it. Capt. William Buenzle, a New Jersey Guardsman commanding Troop A, 38th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, made the statement to his commander, Col. Cyrus Dolph III, commander of New Jersey’s 102nd Cavalry Group, the famous “Essex Troop” to which the 38th was assigned. The 38th was organized in 1942 from former Guardsmen of Iowa’s 113th Cavalry Regiment. 

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