“I just want to make it to the finish line. There seems to be a new obstacle in my path every time I move ahead. I’ve had to rearrange my life in order to make time for my family. I often feel guilty because I need to be home, but I want to make this work and really give it my all.”
—Marjorie Thomas, graduate student, Masters of Public Administration program
For the spouse of a wounded warrior, each day can be a challenge. Marjorie Thomas has encountered this daily struggle since her husband, Henry, returned from Afghanistan in 2011 after sustaining wounds for which he received the Purple Heart. Following his transition into civilian life, he requires continuous rehabilitation therapy.
This puts a burden on Marjorie, who juggles her own career goals with the demands of being a caregiver for her husband, a mother to their four young children, and an advocate for wounded veterans. After working as an administrative professional for nearly a decade, Marjorie decided to advance her education so that she can work in policy or advocacy for veterans issues. She entered the Schar School of Policy and Government as a part-time student in 2015, then made the difficult decision to give up her job to focus on family and school.
Foregoing that income is another challenge, but would be impossible without scholarship support. An ERPi Service-Disabled Veterans Scholarship provides Marjorie with $2,500 per semester. The family covers the rest using student loans. Now, as a full-time student, she is on course to graduate in May 2017.
The Thomases’ children—Tiara, Jayden, Ava, and Olivia—range in age from 14 to 3. Their father is also a student at Mason, pursuing a master’s degree in social work. His plans are to help veterans like himself. For this family, the response to challenges is serving others.
Since 2012, ERPi has donated more than $70,000 to fund immediate scholarship assistance for deserving service-disabled veterans who enroll in the Schar School of Policy and Government.
The ERPi scholarship is just one of many support services offered by Mason’s OFFICE OF MILITARY SERVICES. The need is great: one out of every ten students at George Mason University—nearly 3,400 in all—is a veteran, a current military service member, or the dependent of one.