Caregivers of injured service members receive scholarships
It's been a busy morning for 32-year-old Secret Brutley. The soon-to-be mother of four manages her home, children, a full-time job, and the care of her husband.
The former Naval serviceman suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder which causes him to experience: "Mood swings, very jittery, anxiety, and not wanting to always be interactive with people," Brutley shared.
Caring for her husband and children has at times put Brutley's educational goals on hold. She's had to take breaks but is making progress with the completion of her associate's degree and upcoming bachelor's from the University of Maryland University College.
"Then I hope to continue on in the fall of 2018 with my master's," she told ABC7 News.
Brutley will pursue that degree at the same school, only this time UMUC will pick up the tab.
Bob Ludwig is Assistant Vice President for Media Relations at UMUC and explained, "These are our true role models. Often times they need to be the one who is going to be bringing in income; so we think the scholarship can play an important role for them."
The Pillars of Strength Scholarship has been in existence since 2013; a partnership between UMUC, The Blewitt Foundation and the Yellow Ribbon Fund. Caregivers of injured servicemembers receive free tuition for an undergraduate or master's degree; saving them as much as $35,000.
Brutley says the gift will have a huge impact on herself and her family.
"For myself I'm looking for more of a financial gain, for my children, to show them you can set expectations and you can achieve them, and overall just a feeling of accomplishment," she stated.
The Pillars of Strength Scholarship was awarded to five caregivers this year.