America Luna awarded VFW Sport Clips "Help A Hero Scholarship."

America Luna

“I can’t explain it … I just knew,” said America Luna. “I was only 13 when I told my dad I would one day enlist.”

As Luna grew up, her passion only strengthened.

“After high school, I wanted to go off to college, I just wasn’t ready yet,” said Luna. “My parents were Dominican immigrants, and they worked very hard to become U.S. citizens. Joining the military and making a future for myself was my way of showing them how much I appreciate their sacrifices.”

While in the Army, Luna deployed twice to Baghdad and Maysan Province, Iraq, where she worked as an Interrogator/Human Intelligence Collector. This role gave Luna a sense of pride and taught her to be an effective leader.

After the military, Luna was ready to go back to school.

“At first, I thought I wanted to be a police officer for the NYPD,” said Luna. “I soon realized that wasn’t what I wanted at all. I was lost. I went through the motions for the first two years of college, still unsure.”

At the same time, some of Luna’s friends were getting out of the military and returning to college. They wanted advice from someone who’d been there, and she was happy to oblige.

“I found myself sharing tips and telling student veterans about resources available to them,” said Luna. “Even if they were complete strangers … I wanted to help.”

With that, Luna decided to dedicate her life’s work to helping veterans who are transitioning out of the military. She changed her major to Human Services and served as Vice President of the Student Veterans Association (SVA) at her school, Old Dominion University. She plans to become a college advisor for student veterans.

She had finally found her path when she had to hit the brakes …

Luna’s GI Bill benefits ran out right before her last semester. Fortunately, Luna heard about the VFW Sport Clips “Help A Hero Scholarship” and decided to apply.

“I was in disbelief when I got the letter,” said Luna. “I just read it over and over to be sure.”

Luna was one of 43 students veterans to receive the scholarship, which gave her the opportunity to finish what she started.

“It warms my heart and fires up my spirit to continue to work towards a degree that means so much to me,” said Luna. “I look forward to using what I’ve learned to help my fellow veterans.”

Luna is beyond grateful for the VFW, Sport Clips and all the donors and contributors who made this scholarship a reality.

“I am so grateful for their encouragement,” said Luna. “They support veterans in our ambitious endeavors, and their support is helping the veteran population accomplish their dreams.”

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