Military spouse, veteran receives Pat Tillman Foundation scholarship
TORII STATION, Okinawa -- Heather Pahman, a military spouse, an Air Force veteran and a mother of two, received some exciting news early morning on May 22 when her telephone rang at 4 a.m.
A representative of the Pat Tillman Foundation called to notify Pahman that she had been selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship from the foundation to fund her graduate studies.
Pahman, who arrived on Okinawa March 18 with her husband, Sgt. Timothy Pahman, assigned to the 333rd Signal Company at Fort Buckner, and their two children, had been trying to figure out how she was going to pay for graduate school when she learned about the Pat Tillman Foundation.
"I read the requirements and as soon as it opened up to applicants in January, I applied for it," said Pahman.
"As a military spouse overseas, you don't always get the opportunity to work to be able to pay for school and I've already exhausted my G.I. Bill, so getting this scholarship really determined whether or not I could finish attending graduate school because of the high cost," she added.
According to the Pat Tillman Foundation website, the foundation provides resources and educational support to veterans, active duty service members and their dependents.
Pat Tillman was a starting safety with the Arizona Cardinals before leaving a pro-football career just months after the 9/11 attacks to enlist in the Army, along with his brother Kevin Tillman and was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Following Tillman's death, his family and friends created the Pat Tillman Foundation, which has awarded more than $4 million to date in scholarships to veterans and their spouses.
It is the foundation's mission to invest in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships and building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.
One of the questions the foundation asked Pahman was to apply as either a veteran or a spouse.
"How do you differentiate between the two?" said Pahman.
Pahman said for her, being a veteran has made it easier for her to be a military spouse.
She said she has led Family Readiness Groups and if it wasn't for the understanding she has of how the military works, she would not have been able to comfort some of the younger wives who have never been through deployments before.
"I know what it means to be the person deploying and carrying out the mission, but I also know what it means to be a military spouse," said Pahman.
There are several responsibilities that go along with getting the scholarship. Recipients are required to attend a three-day leadership seminar in Chicago in July. They are required to be a member of the online Tillman Military Scholars community. They are also required to continue to volunteer and serve their communities and report their volunteer service.
Pahman is one of 60 recipients of the Pat Tillman Foundation scholarship this year. She is pursuing a master's degree in Professional Studies of Strategic Public Relations through George Washington University.