Meet a 1st Lt. Robert Kelly Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Dear General John F. Kelly Family,
Words cannot describe how thankful I am for my scholarship in memory of 1st Lieutenant Robert M. Kelly. Without the financial assistance you have provided me, I would never have been able to attend my dream school, Gettysburg College. Your scholarship has allowed me to go to college without the heavy burdens of debt and loan payment. I am also able to pursue graduate school immediately after my undergraduate studies. I am so blessed to have this opportunity. Not only has the 1st Lieutenant Robert M. Kelly Memorial Scholarship assisted me financially, it has also inspired me to do my best in school and, most of all, to honor our heroes in everything I do. Again, thank you dearly for providing for my collegiate education and career.
The United States Marine Corps has been a major influence on my life and in my family. My father, a former Marine Corps sergeant, inspires me each day to follow my dreams and live by the Marine Corps values of honor, courage, and commitment. My father served in the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment for four years. He enlisted at the young age of 17 and never had the chance to graduate from high school. Instead of receiving a high school diploma and playing as the captain of his high school football team, my father travelled across the world to Camp Pendleton, Okinawa, the Philippine Islands, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, defending our country. After serving, my father immediately wanted to continue serving the American people by becoming a police officer in Kansas City and Maryland Heights, Missouri. He was a police officer for ten years, worked for the City of Wildwood government, attended Webster University for degrees in History and Political Science, and then, in 2002, founded the Missouri Civil War Museum, a museum dedicated to honoring all our servicemen and women. After 11 years in 2013, the museum finally opened and has had an enormous impact on the Jefferson Barracks Historic Site area in St. Louis. With this museum, however, our family has been strained financially. My mother is a physical therapist at St. Luke’s Hospital and was the only source of income for my family until the museum’s opening. Today, my father is still paying off
massive debts for the museum’s contractors and staff members. Unfortunately, my parents cannot afford to help me financially for school, which requires me to still pay for college on my own. Due to their endless support for my career goals and perseverance to accomplishing their dreams, I am inspired to do the best I can do in school and achieve my dreams.
Currently, I am a junior attending Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. I am studying History and Civil War Era Studies, and hope to eventually pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in History. This year, I am taking five classes in the fall semester so I may graduate a semester early. On campus, I am working at the Special Collections at Musselman Library as a student collections assistant. In May 2013, I curated an exhibit called, “Guardians of Gettysburg: Private Herman S. Cook and the College Company,” which focused on the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Regiment during the Battle of Gettysburg. In August 2013, I began creating the online exhibit accompanying the main exhibit. It has been an amazing experience for me. Also on campus, I am participating in the Civil War Club, Catholic Campus Ministry, and the Garthwait Leadership Center. Through the Garthwait Leadership Center, I am pursuing a Leadership Certificate to help professionally develop my leadership skills. Off of campus, I volunteer for the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitors Center and Antietam National Battlefield. This scholarship has allowed me to be active on campus and study more efficiently, because I do not have to worry about my finances. Also, I am able to share Robert’s story with many people on campus. Since Gettysburg students have a fond appreciation for the battle and its heroes, his story is touching to so many of my friends and colleagues. He inspires me to work hard each day and persevere through my work, even when it gets extremely difficult. Even more so, I am committed to honoring Robert in everything I do.
Again, thank you so much for all you have done for me. I would not have been able to accomplish my dreams and attend Gettysburg College. I cannot put in words how appreciative I am of your scholarship you have provided me. Thank you and semper fidelis.
Kristen Michelle Trout