RENO, Nev. – Sara M. Gardner, who has spent more than 600 hours spanning a five-year period volunteering at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Ark., has been awarded $20,000 by DAV (Disabled American Veterans) to pursue her educational goal of becoming an attorney serving veterans.
The 18-year-old is the top recipient of the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship, which is awarded annually to the top youth volunteers in the DAV Voluntary Services program. Named after former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown, this award honors the memory of a DAV leader dedicated to serving veterans through recognition of those who carry on his legacy of service. The scholarship is open to volunteers age 21 and younger who have contributed a minimum of 100 hours credited through DAV or DAV Auxiliary.
The scholarship will be presented to Gardner at the DAV and Auxiliary 97th National Convention July 14 in Reno, Nev.
“Sara’s involvement with veterans began when she was 8-years-old and developed a presentation on flag etiquette in 4-H,” said DAV National Voluntary Services Director John Kleindienst. “Since then, she has educated over 21,000 people about etiquette, patriotism and honoring our veterans. Her dedication to educating the community as well as gathering volunteers to join her in volunteering for veterans is truly inspiring.”
“Sara is an extraordinary young woman with a very bright future ahead of her,” said DAV National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “Her goal of becoming an attorney in order to continue to serve the best interests of veterans shows her dedication and love for the men and women who served. Her time volunteering has given her the knowledge about the issues veterans face and the sacrifices they have made. Her compassion and sense of duty will help her reach her goal and continue to serve and advocate for veterans at the highest levels.”
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; providing employment resources to veterans and their families and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932.