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Folds of Honor helps local family with educational scholarships after losing service member

In Indiana, on average the organization grants anywhere from 60-110 scholarships annually.
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Posted at 5:56 PM, May 27, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS –On Memorial Day, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice but sometimes we forget about the families of fallen service members.

They are often hit with a massive financial burden after their service member passes away. It’s an experience no one wants to go through but one that Jessica Mendenhall knows all too well.

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"I think I was in just such a raw state of emotion, and it was just hard to even think past how I was going to get through the day,” Mendenhall said. “Let alone how I was going to continue to pay our mortgage or the kid's tuition and so it was just a day-by-day situation of trying to survive.”

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The picture below is of AJ White, Mendenhall’s late husband. He died in 2015 after complications from injuries he sustained while serving in Iraq.

She had three kids with AJ. Those kids were in a private catholic school at the time of his death. Schooling, that Jessica was worried she would no longer be able to pay for without her husband.

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"Someone told me about Folds of Honor and that's when they stepped in and helped me fill the gap with helping with their tuition,” Mendenhall said.

 

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Folds of Honor is a national non-profit founded in 2007. They have chapters all over the country, including here in Indiana.

The organization helps with education funding for the families of fallen and disabled service members and first responders.

"After VA benefits and state benefits like in Indiana, we are blessed to have state benefits for that we come in and fill that gap,” Diane Markle with Folds of Honor Indiana said. “May it be for housing, books, anything of that nature, we pay it straight to the educational institution and get that taken care of so there is nothing holding them back."

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The nonprofit can help families of the fallen through fund raising. Fund raising that helps make sure families like Jessica Mendenhall's have a bright future.

"If you think about it,” Markle said. “If we honor their sacrifice by educating their legacy then we can be doing something that reduces that long term impact of that loss.
 
In Indiana, on average the organization grants anywhere from 60-110 scholarships annually.

The scholarships are typically awarded in $5,000 increments. The funds can be used for private school, tutoring, trade school or higher education.

They accept applications from starting in February of every year until the end of March or beginning of April depending on how the calendar year falls. For more information about the organization or to donate click here.