Six UMass Boston students whose families have served in the military received $1,000 scholarships funded by the Arredondo Family Foundation at Tuesday's annual Veterans Celebration of Service.
Stefany Munoz, John Narcus, Shanna Townley, Yarielis Ortiz, Young eun Jo, and Julia Patsios all received scholarships.
Townley is a second-year graduate student studying in the Mental Health Counseling program. Her brother has served 12 years in the Army, doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is transitioning to the National Guard.
Narcus's older brother Andy, a Marine who served in the U.S. and Japan, was killed in a car accident in Arizona in 2002 while driving home for the holidays. Narcus was deeply affected, and took eight years off of school before enrolling first at Bunker Hill Community College, and then transferring to UMass Boston. He's now a senior majoring in supply chain management in the College of Management.
Carlos and Melida Arredondo ’92 established the Arredondo Brothers’ Memorial Scholarship at UMass Boston this year for students like Narcus and Townley to honor Carlos’s two sons.
Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo was shot and killed in Iraq in 2004. Brian Arredondo, who struggled with his older brother’s death, took his own life six days before Christmas in 2011.
"As the brother of a fallen Marine, it was very difficult, and we realized there weren’t any services to support him," Melida Arredondo said.
Melida Arredondo says the Arredondo Family Foundation decided to fund a scholarship at UMass Boston because she is an an alumna and because she had hoped both boys would have enrolled here.
"We really want to call attention to the fact that military families, especially the siblings, if they have their brothers or sisters deployed, that they experience a lot of stress. It impacts them, and so this is a way to help them get through their higher education," Melida Arredondo said.
It is also important to the Arredondos to support military families affected by suicide. Yarielis Ortiz's father, an Army veteran who trained in Oklahoma, took his own life last year.
"He was a really kind guy, always did everything he could to help others. He was my hero, my role model, my everything," Ortiz said.
The sophomore (second from right) declared a psychology major just today. Her mother (second from left) and sisters were there to support her as she received the scholarship.
The Arredondo Family Foundation intends to continue to fund this scholarship. Fundraising efforts for an endowment are underway.
One of the two recipients of this year's Kyran Kennedy Scholarship, Francisco Castano, attended Tuesday's dinner. This is the second year of the scholarship, which supports active-duty members of the armed forces, veterans, and family members of both groups who demonstrate persistence toward academic accomplishment. The scholarship is named after army helicopter pilot Kyran Kennedy '83, who was killed in Iraq in 2003.
Former Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences Director Kevin Bowen, who received the Theodore Parker Award for Outstanding Service to the Veteran Community, and Iraq veteran Kathleen Decker '11, who received the William Joiner Award of Excellence, were also recognized at Tuesday's event, along with the recently retired Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Relations Gail Hobin. Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond gave the keynote address.
The Veterans Celebration of Service is a collaboration of the Office of Veterans Affairs and Enrollment Management, Student Veterans Center, Veterans Upward Bound, the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance.