View Full Version : Pat Tillman's legacy: more help for military veterans in college

03-12-2010, 11:49 AM
Pat Tillman's legacy: more help for military veterans in college

By Jack Stripling, Inside Higher Ed

If the late Pat Tillman is remembered for his selflessness, then it seems fitting that the foundation created in the professional football star-turned-soldier's name would ask the same of the veterans it serves.

Now partnered with eight universities across the country, the Pat Tillman Foundation's Tillman Military Scholars program offers funding to veterans who demonstrate a record of service to their communities and pledge to continue those activities. The program disbursed $642,000 to its inaugural class of 52 veterans and their families last year, and its ultimate goal is to provide $3.6 million annually — an amount equivalent to the lucrative Arizona Cardinals contract Tillman turned down to join the Army Rangers after Sept. 11, 2001.

It is the hope of foundation officials that the scholars program can be the bright spot of a soldier's story that has thus far served up nearly as much controversy and pain as it has inspiration. Cpl. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan April 22, 2004, but the Army's slowness in acknowledging the true circumstances surrounding his death pitted the soldier's family against the very institution he had served.

"We're not only focused on the veterans, but the scholarship is for their families, and that not only continues that legacy that Pat had as an athlete and a student, but as an American," said Hunter Riley, the foundation's director of programs. "As a foundation, (we) focus on the positive aspects of his life. When you look at Pat's story, that (controversy) is part of it, but it's not something we really discuss here at the foundation." The foundation was created in 2004 by Tillman's family and friends.

More at the link. :)

USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-03-12-IHE-veterans-scholarships12_ST_N.htm)

03-12-2010, 01:19 PM
Last spring my wife and I went to Ohio and while there we visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In there, they have a tribute to Tillman with a small statue of him in his Cardinals uniform and along side they had his Army uniform and his #40 Cardinals jersey. It was the first time I openly wept in public. The display wasn't all that grandiose, it was the combination of being a hardcore, die hard Cardinal fan, pride in my country, and understanding the selfless act and patriotism of a true American hero. An athlete who for once cared more about his country than himself. Here is the display: