The Unified Arizona Veterans (UAV), the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society (AVHOFS), and Veterans Heritage Project (VHP) recently presented $45,500 in scholarship funds to ten individuals.
This year, UAV established the inaugural ‘Army Specialist Lori Ann Piestewa Veteran Family Scholarship,’ named for Specialist Lori Ann Piestewa. She is the first Native American female to fall in combat on foreign soil. These funds go to the children of soldiers killed in action. The first recipients of this scholarship are Piestewa’s children: Brandon Whiterock and Carla Piestewa. The Arizona Lottery is the sponsor for their award.
In presenting these awards, Arizona Department of Veterans Services Director Wanda Wright, couldn’t help but reflect on the life of Lori Piestewa.
“Army Specialist Lori Piestewa has left a great legacy in her children. She is the ultimate tribute to the upbringing and training from her family, the Hopi nation, and the United States military, “ said Wright.
“I feel honored every time I say her name. She represents the best in all of us who served but especially the women who served in the military. I feel privileged to be here today to celebrate her children,” she added.
The UAV also partnered with AVHOFS to present three scholarships to veterans of the United States Armed Forces to assist in their efforts to earn degrees in higher education. Those recipients are Armando Escalanti, Dontē Day, and Thomas Brown.
VHP – an after-school civics and education program that connects students with veterans to record personal histories of veterans’ experiences – awarded scholarships to five of their alumnae: Alina Joseph, Emma Suttell, Lauren Kobley, Carla Rock, and Emily Ahern. Additionally, Joseph, Kobley, and Rock also received scholarship awards from AVHOFS.
These nonprofits understand that in supporting our veterans, and their families, for their pursuit of higher education, our community can thank them for their service and allow them new avenues to bring the leadership and dedication gained in service to new industries.
Michelle DiMuro, Executive Director of VHP, said, “Education is a fundamental pillar of our democracy. It is only right that we offer those who cherish that democracy every opportunity to pursue their passions, and in so doing, enrich the lives of the thousands of Americans they will reach in their lifetime.”