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FROM INJURY TO EDUCATION

How a Scholarship Changed One Man's Life

Grandpa-and-I.jpg
Joshua Eckman and his grandfather, who served in WWII

Joshua Eckman, 26, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an Aviation Operations Specialist. 

“It was a longstanding tradition in my family to stand up and serve our country,” said Eckman. “Being a Marine was the only path for me. It was the hardest path, but it came with the greatest rewards.”

After just two years of active duty, an unfortunate back injury ended Eckman’s military career. His life plans went up in smoke. He was left reeling, unsure of what to do next. To make matters worse, he was suffering from severe PTSD. 

“After several years of personal and professional therapy, I decided I was ready to return to school,” said Eckman. “My next daunting question was how I was going to pay for it. My GI Bill benefits were limited due to my injury and early discharge.”

Eckman’s life changed when he saw a commercial on the VFW "Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship.” Eckman applied and was granted a $5,000 scholarship, which he is now using to study law at the George Washington University Law School.

“Ultimately, I would like to become a corporate attorney, but I also hope to assist veterans in completing VA claims and securing their benefits,” said Eckman.

Eckman is humbled by the generous support.

“I wish there were words that could fully encompass my gratitude,” said Eckman. “This scholarship has eased my mind tremendously.”

To other student veterans out there, Eckman offers some candid advice … 

“When you go back to school, you’ll run into many young people who haven’t encountered the struggles that we have as veterans. At times, their behavior demonstrates this lack of understanding. You must simply rely on your discipline and keep pushing forward. One day you’ll finish with a degree and boundless opportunities.” Eckman concluded.

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