While our time at Walter Reed was filled with both good and bad memories, many good things did come out of it. One of these was a wonderful opportunity for a scholarship to Colorado Technical University Online. While Allen was an outpatient at Walter Reed and we were staying at the Mologne House, CTUO had a table set up in the lobby of the Mologne House. One day while we were heading in to eat, a man sitting at the table invited us over to talk to him. He was a representative of CTUO and was there helping wounded servicemembers apply for a wounded warrior scholarship to Colorado Technical University. They were awarding 25, full ride scholarships to wounded warriors and were inviting Allen to apply. Along with the scholarship came an apple laptop and books. The entire degree would be cost free to the recipient.
Allen decided that it would be a great opportunity to apply. He had always wanted to go back to school, and with his future so undecided at this point, he felt it was a great opportunity. Over the next few days, we worked on the application, which included an essay over why he should get the scholarship. He worked really hard on the application and the essay, and I helped him polish it up. His essay was based on the Soldier's Creed and turned out great. I really hoped that he would be chosen.
About a month after turning in the application, he was contacted by CTU. He had indeed been chosen as a scholarship recipient and classes would start in April 2008. They were going to have an awards banquet at Walter Reed for all of the recipients. We were really excited. We knew that going back to school would be a struggle for him with his brain injury, but also the doors it could open for our future.
The banquet ended up being right before we left Walter Reed to go home. So, we were able to attend and ask questions to learn more about the program. Allen received a full ride scholarship in an associate's degree in IT. All of the classes are online and it is set up to be an accelerated program. The classes are taken two at a time in five and half week sessions. A mac book was being provided by Apple to each of the recipients to make sure they had all they needed to be successful. Allen was among the first group granted this awesome scholarship and the university was hoping to continue offering more.
Currently, Allen is working on his associates degree in IT. It has been a real challenge for him to keep up with his studies and his health. Migraines keep him down a lot and makes it a difficult task to get assignments finished and submitted on time. His professors have been wonderful and very flexible with him. He has really enjoyed it so far. I have to help keep him on track and do a lot of proofreading. But, it is worth it. There have been several sessions though, that I really wondered if it was just too much. He gets so many feelings of accomplishment though out of it and has been able to remain on the Dean's list. He has had to only take one class a session in order to keep up, but the school has been incredibly flexible. It will just take him longer to complete his degree. However, he figures he would rather do it right than worry about the speed.
My advice to anyone who was wounded or a caregiver of someone who was wounded, always explore your possibilities and what is available to you. You sacrificed so much, and there are many organizations out there who want help. Let them help you. If school is what you think is right for you, do your homework. Look around at many programs to decide what is right for you and if there are any scholarships available. Talk to other wounded warriors and their caregivers. Often, we are each other's own best resource.
And, most importantly, remember, you are not alone. Other's are out there even if you do not personally know anyone else. We are out there.