Ina resident Christie Maher has become the 41st recipient of the AMVETS Sad Sacks nursing scholarship, and she says the award couldn’t have come at a better time.
Maher has enrolled in Rend Lake College’s Practical Nursing program and hopes to go through the Associate Degree Nursing program as well.
Maher is a member of the National Guard, which supplies financial aid for higher education for its members. However, Maher recently exhausted her supply of tuition from the Guard, so she needed extra assistance. That’s when she applied for the Sad Sacks gift.
Maher’s husband, Caleb, returned home the last week of April from a one-year tour in Iraq. He is a member of the Army National Guard.
Approximately 41 nursing scholarships have been handed out by the AMVETS Sad Sacks organization over the last 39 years to students at Rend Lake College, earning the Sad Sacks the Bronze Major Gift Award at last year’s RLC Foundation Annual Dinner.
A fun-making and honor organization comprised of AMVETS members, the Sad Sacks (who derive their name from the famous cartoon character of World War II) provide, as their chief community service project, scholarships for nurses.
The criteria for this scholarship requires the recipient to be a nursing student, with eligibility based on the student’s academic record, character, interest, activities and financial need. Priority is given to the dependent of a deceased or disabled veteran.
Bob Schalter, the “Saddest” Sad Sack, said, “We’re very pleased and excited about giving these scholarships. We believe we’re accomplishing something and we’re going to keep doing it.”
Schalter added, “We are the ‘fun’ group of AMVETS, but we do take these scholarships seriously.”
“These are the types of students the AMVETS Sad Sacks designed their scholarship for,” said Pat Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of the Rend Lake College Foundation. “It is because of organizations such as this that differences are made as the nursing profession strives to improve the present shortage of healthcare personnel.”
The Sad Sacks are “definitely leaving a legacy” by helping produce nurses to care for others, Mitchell said.
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