On Monday, November 30th, MSFS hosted a reception to honor the first annual recipient of the SoldierStrong scholarship. MSFS is proud to work with SoldierStrong, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of veterans in the United States. SoldierStrong, under the leadership of Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board Chris Meek, recently established an endowed, partial-tuition scholarship for an MSFS student. Mr. Meek's passion for philanthropy and veterans' affairs is fundamental in making this scholarship possible. The first annual recipient is Antonieta "Toni" Rico. Toni is a US Army veteran. She spent more than 6 years as a public affairs specialist and military journalist, and she served in Iraq.
MSFS was honored to welcome several special guests to the reception, including Mr. Meek and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who gave remarks. The Dean of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Joel Hellman, also spoke and Senior Associate Dean and Director of the MSFS Program, Anthony Clark Arend, gave the welcoming remarks. MSFS student and alumni veterans were also in attendance to meet and hear from the special guests and to honor Ms. Rico's accomplishments.
SoldierStrong is at the forefront of non-profits dedicated to improving the lives of our nation's heroes. This innovative organization began in 2009 with the mission of providing soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan basic essentials like tube socks and baby wipes, cherished items in the harsh deserts of the Middle East. SoldierStrong shipped over 50,000 pounds of items to troops abroad, drawing praise here at home, including receiving a commendation from the US House of Representatives and a Presidential Call to Service Award from the White House. Today, the organization provides state-of-the-art medical devices and educational opportunities for veterans.