On this Veterans Day, we pause to honor and remember all the brave men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Frederick County has lost numerous warriors. Their selflessness has created legacies when they were much too young to have one but earned it through the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life for their country.
The Community Foundation has many funds created by families of military personnel. Through the funds, they have found some comfort in their loss by helping veterans and others with need in the community.
The 1LT Rob Seidel Wounded Soldiers Fund and The 1LT Robert A. Seidel III Memorial Scholarship Fund honor a man who graduated from Catoctin High School, and then the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served as a platoon leader with the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq and felt tremendous responsibility for his troops. Rob Seidel was killed in action in Iraq in May 2006. Grants and scholarships from the two funds exceed $157,000, helping nonprofits such as Yellow Ribbon Fund, Homes for Our Troops, and 22 Needs a Face, and scholarships have benefited a dozen students.
The Sgt. David J. Smith Memorial Fund pays tribute to a Marine who died in Germany after suffering injuries in the Helmand province of Afghanistan in early 2010. A graduate of Frederick High School, David’s first tour was in Iraq in 2006-2007, with the 4th LAR BN, Bravo Company of Frederick. In his memory, grants totaling more than $141,000 have been presented to Operation Second Chance, Fisher House, Semper Fi Fund, Wounded Warrior Project, the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, Heartly House, Frederick Rescue Mission, SHIP of Frederick County, and more. Also, scholarships totaling more than $55,000 have helped more than 13 students with their postsecondary education.
The Captain John Ryan Dennison Scholarship Fund and The John Ryan Dennison Memorial Fund remember a man who had followed in his family’s military tradition by attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, after graduating from Urbana High School. Ryan proudly served as a platoon leader and a member of Task Force Lightning. He died in the line of duty in November 2006 while serving his country in Iraq. In his memory, family and friends worked to build a memorial to those who have lost their lives in the War on Terror in Urbana Park. It honors eight fallen heroes, including Dennison. Scholarships have been provided to 12 students, totaling just over $26,000.
The Community Foundation manages several other funds that honor veterans who have given their lives. The SSGT. Charles I. Cartwright, USMC Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded by parents Howard and Carol Ann Cartwright to provide scholarships to students who graduate from Walkersville High School, Cartwright’s alma mater. The SSGT. Michael McCauley Foundation Fund was founded by parents J. Scott and Debra Kemp McCauley to provide grants and scholarships in the community.
These families who have lost loved ones through military service have turned tragedy into good and are helping countless others in the process. We are honored to have a role in remembering these heroes.