National Guard April 2017 : Page 78

EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION NEWS Educational Foundation recognizes more big donations, BY JOHN GOHEEN ETIRED BRIG. GEN. ROY ROBINSON will never forget Feb. 3, 2005. It’s the day he lost his first soldier in battle. Sgt. 1st Class Sean M. Cooley, a member of the Mississip-pi Army National Guard’s 150th Engineer Battalion (Combat), 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, died like so many U.S. troops at the time lost their lives in Iraq. He was driving a lightly armored Humvee that was no match for an improvised explosive device. Robinson was his battalion commander. He had served with Cooley for a while, knew him well and was stunned when word of the deadly blast reached his tactical operations center at Forward Operating Base Dogwood near the village of Owesat in Anbar province. “It’s part of the job, but nothing fully prepares you for the news,” says Robinson, the new pres-ident of NGAUS. “Sean was killed serving his In n M Me e m mo mor o y o of f country and serving under my command. Even SF C S SFC Se e a an n M. M Co C ole le e y years later, I feel we owe him a debt of gratitude I can never repay. It’s something every com-mander feels about those we couldn’t bring home.” While he cannot square what he believes he and the nation owe Cooley for his service, Robinson has helped memorialize the soldier. He and his wife donated $10,000 in Cooley’s name to the National Guard Educational Foundation. “It’s just something that Susan and I wanted to do for Sean,” Robinson says. The contribution was among those the foundation recognized March 11 during a special reception at the National Guard Me-morial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C. In all, NGEF honored 17 recent donations from corporations, individ-uals and families. The gifts were through the foundation’s Legion de Lafayette (LdL) program, which is reserved for contributions of at least $10,000. Two of the others recognized that evening were also personal tributes. 78    NATIONAL GUARD   April 2017   WWW . NGAUS . ORG R BACK ROW Maj. John Fesler Tennessee Air National Guard Col. Don Prewitt (Ret.) Director, Business Development (Platforms & Services) BAE Systems MIDDLE ROW Tom Nicolett Director, National Guard Business Development Sikorsky Col. Andy Wolkstein (Ret.) West Virginia Air National Guard Brig Gen. Roy Robinson (Ret.) President NGAUS & NGEF SEATED Barbara Wolkstein PAUL GILLIS Susan Robinson |

Educational Foundation News

John Goheen

AN EVENING TO REMEMBER

Educational Foundation recognizes more big donations, including a few made as tributes to some special individuals

RETIRED BRIG. GEN. ROY ROBINSON will never forget Feb. 3, 2005. It’s the day he lost his first soldier in battle.

Sgt. 1st Class Sean M. Cooley, a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard’s 150th Engineer Battalion (Combat), 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, died like so many U.S. troops at the time lost their lives in Iraq. He was driving a lightly armored Humvee that was no match for an improvised explosive device.

Robinson was his battalion commander. He had served with Cooley for a while, knew him well and was stunned when word of the deadly blast reached his tactical operations center at Forward Operating Base Dogwood near the village of Owesat in Anbar province.

“It’s part of the job, but nothing fully prepares you for the news,” says Robinson, the new president of NGAUS. “Sean was killed serving his country and serving under my command. Even years later, I feel we owe him a debt of gratitude I can never repay. It’s something every commander feels about those we couldn’t bring home.”

While he cannot square what he believes he and the nation owe Cooley for his service, Robinson has helped memorialize the soldier. He and his wife donated $10,000 in Cooley’s name to the National Guard Educational Foundation.

“It’s just something that Susan and I wanted to do for Sean,” Robinson says.

The contribution was among those the foundation recognized March 11 during a special reception at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C. In all, NGEF honored 17 recent donations from corporations, individuals and families. The gifts were through the foundation’s Legion de Lafayette (LdL) program, which is reserved for contributions of at least $10,000. Two of the others recognized that evening were also personal tributes.

One was a family contribution. The grandchildren of the late Capt. Victor Thomas pooled their money to honor the World War II veteran. Thomas was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division, rising to the rank of master sergeant. He earned a battlefield commission while with the division in Europe.

The other tribute recognized came from NGAUS. The association made an LdL-level donation to honor retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, who officially stepped down as NGAUS and NGEF president that day, and his wife, Shirley.

NGEF fundraising was one of his priorities, and he delivered, raising more than $5 million in his seven years in Washington, D.C., much of it through the LdL program. The Hargetts helped set the standard by contributing $50,000 to the foundation over the years. They are one of NGEF’s largest individual donors.

Individual honorees March 11 also included retired Gen. Frank J. Grass, the National Guard Bureau chief from 2012 to 2016, and his wife, Pat; and retired Maj. Gen. Jack D’Araujo Jr., the Army Guard director from 1993 to 1995, and his wife, Eileen.

The two generals said their contributions were a way to give back to an institution that has provided them so much.

“We don’t owe the Guard anything,” D’Araujo said. “We owe the Guard everything.”

NGEF also recognized retired Maj. Gen. Thomas W. Powers and Phyllis Kennedy; retired Col. Andy and Barbara Wolkstein; and Maj. John Fesler, a member of the NGAUS board of directors now assigned to the military staff at the White House, for their donations.

All nine of the corporate contributions honored came from companies adding to previous donations. The honorees were representatives of AM General, BAE Systems, Brede Exposition Services, CALIBRE Systems, Cobham, LORD Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Sikorsky and Textron.

Sikorsky’s gift brings its total contribution to $220,000 over the last 19 years. The manufacturer of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, a Lockheed Martin company, is NGEF’s largest corporate donor.

“We are honored to support the effort to preserve the National Guard’s history and educate Americans about the heritage and contributions of the National Guard,” said Tom Nicolett, Sikorsky’s director of National Guard business development

All of those recognized donated $10,000, except for AM General, which contributed $30,000. The foundation operates the National Guard Memorial Museum and other programs designed to preserve and tell all 380 years of the Guard story.

They received a replica of an 1832 medal the New York militia presented to Marquis de Lafayette, for whom the LdL program is named. A French aristocrat who served in both the American and French revolutions, he played a major role in the development of the state-based militia in this country now known as the National Guard.

Lafayette commanded the famous Garde Nationale de Paris in France. During his visit to New York in 1824, the militia unit that provided his honor guard adopted the designation National Guard out of respect to his unit in France. The name stuck, growing in popularity until it became the official name of the organization of state militias nationwide in the early 20th century.

First-time contributors also have had their names added to the NGEF Legion de Lafayette wall at the National Guard Memorial. The Robinson’s gift is listed under others from Mississippi just below a contribution in tribute to Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, the legendary congressman and Guard supporter.

In Memory of SFC Sean M. Cooley.

“That’s all it needs to say,” Robinson says.

Scholarship Deadlines Set for June/July

Application deadlines for two unique scholarships programs administered by the National Guard Educational Foundation are quickly approaching.

The deadline for the Leonardo DRS Guardian Scholarship Fund, which supports the children of Guardsmen killed in the war on terror, is June 30.

It provided 12 college scholarships worth $63,000 last year. The figure brings to $250,000 the amount awarded since 2011.

The deadline for Van Hipp Heroes Scholarship Fund is July 1. It provides college scholarships to Guardsmen wounded in action. The fund awarded eight $1,000 scholarships last year.

More information on the two scholarship programs is available at www.ngef.org.

JOHN GOHEEN is NGAUS director of communications. He can reached at 202-306-0918 or john.goheen@ngaus.org.

Read the full article at http://nationalguardmagazine.com/article/Educational+Foundation+News/2768078/402332/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here