Bernadette Fox

Bernadette Fox is pictured with her husband Brean, and sons Gavin, 7, and Owen, 5 months. Fox is the recipient of Hope For The Warriors New Beginnings Scholarship. Photo courtesy Hope For The Warriors.

Arden resident Bernadette Fox has been awarded a Military Spouse and Caregiver scholarship for higher education for fall 2021 thanks to a program administered by Hope For The Warriors.

Fox is pursuing an associate of health science-nutrition/personal trainer degree at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. She received the New Beginnings scholarship of $1,500, which is awarded to those pursuing associates degrees and entry-level classes or training.

“My husband and I have always been very health conscious,” said Fox. “Since his time in the service left him with a 100% disability rating, that lifestyle has only become more important to us. It has shown me what a huge difference taking care of bodies can do for our overall quality of life. However, being 100% disabled has many challenges for both my husband and our family as a whole. My desire to earn a degree in health science is to not only better assist my husband and family, but to also better serve others, specifically veterans in our community.”

A total of 15 all-level scholarships were awarded this semester. Awards were made to recipients across the country, from Connecticut to California.

“I am extremely proud of my husband, Brean, and grateful for his service to our country,” Fox said. “I appreciate all the men and women who have served or are serving currently and their families who are supporting them. I am grateful for Hope For The Warriors and all the work they do to help support our military families in so many different ways.”

Brean served in the Marine Corps between 2014 and 2018. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and assigned to Engineer Support Battalion and Combat Logistics Battalion 24.

Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families.

Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 36,000 through a variety of support programs focused on clinical health and wellness, sports and recreation, and transition. The organization was founded at Camp Lejeune and has headquarters in Springfield, Virginia.

The Military Spouse and Caregiver scholarship program is one of Hope For The Warriors’ very first programs established by the nonprofit.

“I actually learned about Hope For The Warriors while researching different scholarship options available to veteran spouses. Hope For The Warriors was one of the first websites I looked at,” Fox said.

Since the program’s inception, Hope For The Warriors has granted 172 Military Spouse and Caregiver scholarships, totaling $471,222.

The program recognizes and rewards post-9/11 spouses and caregivers for their strength, fidelity and resolve despite adversity as they assume critical roles in the financial well-being of their families.

“As one of the first programs that Hope For The Warriors started after its inception in 2006, the purpose of the scholarship program is to assist military families who may have lost their main source of income due to a service member’s injury,” said Kristy Schwartz, Military Spouse & Caregiver Scholarship lead for Hope For The Warriors. “Military spouses often sacrifice higher education and employment opportunities as they move across the country and world with their spouse. This program allows them to further their education if they’re put in a position where they need to become the family’s main source of income.”

Support for Veterans and Their Families

The Hope For The Warriors Military Spouse and Caregiver scholarship program is an essay-based application process.

“The applicant submits proper documentation outlined in the application, a short questionnaire that accesses academic and professional goals, and an essay on a given prompt. The essay prompt changes each application period. Essays are graded by a committee made up of former recipients, professionals working in the military and veteran community, corporate executives and leaders, and longtime Hope For The Warriors volunteers,” Schwartz said.

“The application process was not difficult, but definitely very thorough. Everything they requested in the application not only verified my eligibility, but also really allowed them to get to know me personally,” Fox said.

Eligibility for the scholarship program is limited to people who are the legal spouse or caregiver of a combat-wounded service member or of a service member who has a 100% permanent and total VA disability rating.

Applicants are recruited through social media, media outreach, internal program referrals and external referrals from Hope For The Warriors’ strategic alliances with fellow nonprofit and veteran service organizations.

“My advice for spouses would be encouraging them to pursue an education and/or get involved with their local community. Hope For The Warriors is a great organization that offers so much support for veterans and their families.” Fox said.

As for the future, Fox explained, “I am going to enter my sophomore year with the spring semester. After graduation, I would like to transfer to a four-year university, but I haven’t decided which one.”

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