ARM Industry Helps Vet Stay in School
May 9, 2012: After serving in Iraq in a designated imminent danger pay area for nearly a year in 2009, Specialist Jason Robertson had a dream of becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college. He qualified for benefits totaling 60% of the cost of attending the University of Maryland through the Post-9/11 GI-Bill because, although he had served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard for six years, he had been on active duty for a little more than a year. With few employment options after completing his tour of duty and the costs of higher education skyrocketing, he needed a way to make up the difference. Like nearly every other American pursuing a college degree, he took out student loans. Jason was still short. He contacted a number of government and private organizations to see if he could find help covering the shortfall, to no avail. He was almost ready to give up his dream when he came across the ARMing Heroes (www.armingheroes.org) website.
When he contacted ARMing Heroes, the organization had recently started its Second Annual Veterans Day Charity Fundraising Drive (“the Drive”). As a result of the drive, the credit and collection industry raised more than $27,000 in only a ten-week period starting on September 11th and concluding on Veterans Day, November 11th. Donations from the drive more than doubled the previous year’s total, thanks to these donors.
The single largest donor in 2011 by far was Southwest Credit (www.sw-credit.com), which instituted an Employee Contribution Program (ECP). The Southwest Credit ECP empowers workers to have the company make donations, through payroll deductions, to ARMing Heroes to help America’s veterans. Employees can choose to do this either on a one-time basis or over the course of an entire year. ARMing Heroes estimates that, if only half of its other corporate donors would implement an ECP, the organization could easily raise $400,000 or more this year.
The ARMing Heroes Board of Trustees voted in December to make a grant to Jason Robertson, closing the gap and enabling him to continue his education. Jason recently took the time to thank ARMing Heroes’ donors in a recent email.
“With bills piling up and our debt increasing, my wife and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t find work that fit my schedule and I came very close to having to shelf my dreams in order to provide for my family. It was a few weeks before Christmas when I received a phone call from this organization. They said that my application had been approved and they would be sending the check. Now I don’t know if you’re a person of faith, but this to me is a miracle … that for me was a very Merry Christmas, a happy new year, and a general godsend.
The people that work for this organization, the people that run this organization, and especially the people that donate their time and money to this organization are heroes! Every single person there is doing their part not only to help veterans, but to improve our country and our community by furthering the educations and lessening the burdens of so many whom only wish to succeed. To everyone that has donated, will donate, and to all the employees and volunteers I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
Please take this opportunity to help spread the word to colleagues or veterans in need. Follow us on Twitter, join our group on LinkedIn, and like our Facebook page. The more awareness we create, the more donations we receive, the more veterans we can help!