Kirkwood Community College has created a “Purple Heart Scholarship” for recipients of the military honor, or their spouses or children, after an anonymous donor gave $350,000 to help “wounded veterans and their families.”
The husband and wife behind the five-year gift, who don’t want their names made public, are Kirkwood alumni who have been a part of the Cedar Rapids community for 37 years, according to Kirkwood officials. They were non-traditional students balancing family life with full-time jobs and college courses.
In a news release, the couple praised Kirkwood for being “a great school for working parents.”
“Quality education that is conveniently available is hard to come by,” one of the donors said in a statement. “Given the affordable cost and the high caliber of education I received, I think Kirkwood is an outstanding value.”
The couple chose to direct their donation toward members of the military who have been wounded or killed while serving to honor the sacrifices they’ve made, according to Kirkwood officials.
“It’s so painful to see people who laid their lives on the line for this country while working for horrible pay, in miserable conditions and seldom, if ever, complaining,” one donor said in a news release. “Often overlooked but just as important are the sacrifices the service member’s family makes on our behalf.”
The Purple Heart Scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and books for recipients for their entire two-year stay at Kirkwood. The first awards will be granted in the upcoming spring semester.
Vicki Terronez, veterans services coordinator for Kirkwood, said in a statement that the donation will “go a long way” in creating opportunities for Purple Heart recipients and their families.
“Simple words can’t express how deeply grateful we are for this generous donation,” Terronez said. “Our wounded heroes and their families deserve all the help we can give them.”
The Purple Heart is an honor given to U.S. military service members who have been wounded or killed while serving. It is the oldest military award still given to service men and women.
Kirkwood, which boasts more than 25,000 college-credit students, repeatedly has been named a military-friendly school. It currently has nearly 800 veterans enrolled in some capacity, and officials expect that number to rise.
That is why the donors said they chose Kirkwood for their donation and are challenging others in the community to raise additional money for Purple Heart recipients.
“My hope is that others will join in the effort,” the donor said in a news release. “This is the chance to provide matching dollars to support courageous people in our own community.”