By the end of May, more than 100 students will have graduated from college and other post-secondary schools under circumstances all of us would wish to have avoided. Each lost a parent in the attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City fifteen years ago today.
The bombing was, until 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in United States history. In its wake, donations poured into the headquarters of the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA) from around the world. This overwhelming response sealed FEEA’s pledge to provide a full-tuition scholarship to each of the surviving children, including the youngest who was not even born.
Says Jeffrey Weaver, a beneficiary who now works and owns a home in Oklahoma City, “The scholarship made our lives a lot easier. It gave me a better chance at success than I would have had otherwise.” Weaver’s younger brother Tim, who also benefited from the scholarship, is a successful medical student at the University of Oklahoma.
As of today, more than 100 of the surviving children have completed post-secondary degrees, and nearly one-third of them have continued on for masters or professional degrees. A large number chose to attend school close to home, and a disproportionate number pursued helping professions, such as counseling, special education, or health care.
For many, Oklahoma City was hauntingly recalled his past February when a deranged pilot, using his single-engine plane as a weapon, crashed into an office building housing employees of the Internal Revenue Service. In honor of Vernon Hunter, the IRS employee who lost his life in this attack, FEEA’s Board unanimously approved the creation of a $5,000 endowed, scholarship.
FEEA was formed by government and union leaders in 1986 to provide a safety net for federal employees. Annual scholarships, along with no-interest loans and disaster grants, form the core of FEEA’s programs. The organization is also providing a full-tuition scholarship for each child who lost a civilian, federally-employed parent in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. Donations may be made online or by check sent to FEEA Headquarters, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO, 80227.