In 2018, the Fund established a Preschool Scholarship to provide tuition assistance for preschool programs, which can be a costly out‐of‐pocket expense. This need was brought to our attention after the death of a warrior who left behind a family with a three‐year-old toddler, an 18-month-old infant, and a widow who was seven months pregnant. Studies show the importance of an early, structured education; the benefits are higher intelligence, better school enrollment, grades, behavior, and health; and higher levels of achievement later in life. It was noted inequality that begins before kindergarten lasts a lifetime; children who don’t get formal schooling until kindergarten start off a year behind in math and verbal skills and never catch up. The ‘left behind’ kids are more likely to end up in lower‐paying jobs.
The Special Operations Fund is one of the first organizations called upon by casualty assistance officers when a Joint SOF Warrior is killed or dies on Active Duty. The only qualification for the Fund’s assistance is the highest one of all —a parent killed in the line of duty while serving their country.
The Fund provides a scholarship of up to $20,000 per academic year, per student. Since its inception in 1992 through 2019, the Special Operations Fund has granted over $14 million in scholarships and financial assistance. Hundreds of lives have been changed through educational grants that enable spouses and children of fallen warriors to pursue their higher educational goals.
Since 2001, ongoing deployments around the world have resulted in dramatic increases in the number of eligible recipients. The Special Operations troops and their families remain our concern. Their service and sacrifice over the past 18 years are unprecedented in our Nation’s history. The Fund remains committed to providing support to those who have paid the ultimate price.
“No one in my entire life has been there for me and been as understanding, forgiving, encouraging and motivational as the SOFund has been to me. All in all you guys have again and again gone above and beyond for me. Having the degree opens so many doors for so many different career choices and paths because it’s almost impossible to support oneself, much less a family, on a minimum wage salary. I won’t have to perform heavy duty manual labor anymore either, just to earn decent wages. The quality of my life will be increased and forever changed.” – Christine
CAPTAIN RICK WOOLARD SCHOLARSHIP
In recognition of President Emeritus SEAL Captain Rick Woolard’s concern that unmarried fallen Joint SOF Warriors be remembered, in 2018 the Fund established the Captain Rick Woolard Scholarship. This memorial scholarship may be used at the discretion of the fallen Joint SOF Warrior’s parents in a way they feel most appropriately celebrates and commemorates their son’s or daughter’s life.
“Nick loved to wrestle. I can still remember how loud my voice carried throughout this field house in support of Nick. It is only fitting that we honor Nick at his high school with this Special Operations Fund grant for the new wrestling mat and warm-ups. Our family wants to thank you for making this happen here today and for your continued compassion and support.” – Sharon