By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - In both 2007 and 2008, Karen Howard received $1,000 scholarships through the Central Texas-Fort Hood Association of the U.S. Army chapter that helped her pay her way at Texas Tech University.
On Thursday night, Howard was back on the stage at AUSA's annual scholarship banquet at Fort Hood. This time she was there to present a check she helped make possible through her own financial contribution.
"It's really important we give back to these scholarships that help students continue on with their education and not stop because of financial issues," Howard said at the end of the ceremony.
Howard was just one of many contributors from the Killeen area who helped make this year's AUSA scholarship awards dinner the most successful to date in terms of sheer money raised.
Roughly $72,000 was handed out to the 71 scholarship recipients, who ranged from graduating high school seniors to college students to soldiers and their spouses.
All of the scholarships were for $1,000 apiece, excluding one $2,000 award given in honor of Gen. Raymond T. and Mrs. Linda Odierno. This year's recipients competed for the money by submitting essays discussing their views on freedom of speech in America.
Susan Jones, the vice president of AUSA scholarships, said the program is all about supporting education and soldiers and their families.
"This is one of the most fantastic things I get to do," Jones said. "Everybody is very grateful. One-thousand dollars may not sound like a lot of money, but it definitely helps these students."
Marty Smith, the president of the local AUSA chapter, said the extra money in students' pockets is especially valuable given the rising costs of education.
"With the economy the way it is and prices going up every year, it is very important to help students out however we can," she said.
Contact Andy Ross at email@example.com or (254) 501-7468. Follow him on Twitter at KDHeducation.
Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the United States Army scholarships:
Brittany Adams, City College of New York
Danielle Allyn, Point Loma Nazerene University
Jose, Alvarez, Trident University International
Adriana Amagliani, Texas A&M University
Kelsey Belcher, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Allan Bishop, Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Jazmyn Bodenheimer, New Mexico State University
Daniel Brindell, Webster University
Whitney Buckley, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Jasmaine Cash, University of Texas
William Chasteen III, University of Texas
Mariya Cheklina, Central Texas College
Matthew Christiansen, Texas A&M University
Annette Cintron, Liberty University
Paul Clady, Louisiana State University
Renee Cowan, University of Texas
Caitlyn Crawford, Texas State University
Christyn Crawford, University of Texas at Arlington
Kelly Ann Donovan-Wagner, South Dakota State University
Emily Dunn, Southern Methodist University
Danielle Durham, Western Kentucky University
Alexander Ferguson, Tarrant County College
Arielle Fritz, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Julia Garza, University of North Texas
Rebecca Garza, Texas A&M University
Thipphawan Grant, DeVry University
Stephanie Haas, John Carroll University
George Hayes, Central Texas College
Nelva Hayes, Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Stephen Heape, Texas Tech University
Kevin Heredia, University of Texas
Jessica Holler, Florida State University
Bernard Hurte, University of Texas at San Antonio
Dakotah Klepinger, Texas State University
Patricia Klepinger, Central Texas College
Molly Knowles, Saint Edwards University
Trenton Knox, Texas State University
Mark Lee, Angelo State University
Darrell Lesikar, Central Texas College
Laureen Light, Tarleton State University
Sarah Marquardt, Texas A&M University
Paige McCord, Concordia University
Kiersten Melvin, University of Texas at Austin
Andy Merlo, Texas A&M
Kenneth Meyer, Central Texas College
LaBrittany Mitchell, University of Texas at San Antonio
Jorge Ortiz, Liberty University
Kassandra Perez, University of Texas at Arlington
Francesca Presta, Stephen F. Austin
Alyssa Price, University of North Texas
William Rabena, Texas A&M University
Bailie Reed, Southern Methodist University
Alana Rice, Texas A&M University
Amanda Rodriguez, University of Texas at San Antonio
Monica Roozen, American Military Institute
Miriam Rousseau, University of Texas
Cody Ruhl, Texas Christian University
Jerald Sancho Jr., Central Texas College
Janica Santos, University of Texas at San Antonio
Savannah Seybold, Texas Lutheran University
Kiefer Shenk, University of Texas
Alison Simerly, University of Texas
Zoe Simpson, Texas State University
Mary Sluss, University of Texas at Austin
Lakrisha Smith, Central Texas College
Christina Upright, University of Phoenix
Brianna R. Velarde, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Jerry Wagner, Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Tanner Wagner, University of Texas at Arlington
Emily Williams, University of Texas at Austin
Alexandria Wood, Texas A&M, Health Science
Jerry Smith Scholarship: Matthew Christiansen
Military Officers Association of America scholarship: Paul Clady