Veteran Caregiver Bursary | SNHU

Connie crawford had thought about going back to school for many years, but the time was never right. As a military wife, Crawford worked for her local school district as the coordinator of a parent education program. When her husband Timothy back from war-wounded, she put her career on hold and became his main caregiver.

A decade has passed and Timothy is now in better health, allowing Crawford to once again focus his attention on his own goals. “There was no way I could apply for, attend and excel in any type of higher education,” Crawford said. “As he progressed and became more stable, I am now able to focus a little more on myself and consider going back to school.”

When a scholarship opportunity arrived, everything seemed to finally start to fall into place. To his surprise, Crawford was selected as a recipient of a $ 5,000 scholarship by Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Although her journey towards her new goals may begin, it was her experience as a military spouse and caregiver that led her to seize this opportunity.

Tribute to spouses and military caregivers

To celebrate Veterans Day this year, Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that builds strong, stable and secure military families, has partnered with SNHU to honor the spouses and caregivers of injured veterans, such than Crawford.

“We are very grateful to Southern New Hampshire University for hosting another wonderful waterfront celebration for members of our Caregiver Support Group, as well as the $ 5,000 scholarship for one of our very deserving. ” Quanesha Carman, Senior Director of Caregiver Support for Operation Homefront. “This special group of individuals often faces many challenges as they put their own interests aside. This event and the scholarship are a wonderful reward for their selfless commitment to caring for their wounded veterans. “

During this special Veterans Day celebration on Thursday, November 4, Crawford was awarded a $ 5,000 scholarship to begin his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

“It is an honor to be able to work with Operation Homefront in a show of support for such a resilient and dynamic group of people who have had to make their own sacrifices to care for their wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans,” mentioned Melissa Escobar-Pereira, regional manager of military alliances at SNHU. “These veteran caregivers deserve the spotlight for all the sacrifices they have made, the hardships they have overcome and the courage they have shown.”

Ryan day, a TRI CARE-certified mental health counselor and SNHU Counseling Clinic faculty member, spoke with military spouses about the importance of taking time for yourself.

“When mental health supports are not sought, veterans and their families face challenges leading to family dysfunction, broken homes, divorce, employment issues and increased exposure leading to mental illness. Day said.

Day discussed the importance of self-care and the importance of something simple like listening to music you love or going for your hair. Many spouses at the event agree that it can be difficult to find time for themselves. Some spouses said that being able to find time to brush their teeth was like taking care of themselves for the day.

Putting their military and family first is a common theme for military spouses. Often, like Crawford, their own goals are put on hold while they take care of others.

“When military spouses continue with their education, it opens up new opportunities for them to support their families, offers increased financial opportunities and gives them meaning by earning a degree that better prepares them to make their career dreams come true,” Day said.

Take your business to the next level

Crawford and her husband have spent the past 10 years working in the VA medical system, pursuing various programs and therapies for her husband across the country to advance his recovery and improve his health.

Timothy’s job in the military was to operate and maintain satellite connections and communications for his unit. He was sent home after an explosion left him with both a brain injury and numerous physical injuries.

“Part of my husband never came back from this deployment. He’s having a lot of memory loss and behavioral changes, ”Crawford said. “It’s been a long road to recovery from the physical injuries as well, but he’s made a lot of progress with everything.”Connie Crawford and her husband Timothy

In between taking her husband to his dates, Crawford has cleaned up for work and to make time for himself. “I found it quite therapeutic,” she said. “I get a sense of accomplishment when I’m done with a house. I was able to earn some extra money, which gives me a feeling of independence.

As she began to have more and more clients, she realized that she could make it a legitimate business and knew that going back to school to pursue her MBA in Entrepreneurship was the right decision for her.

“I didn’t know there was such a need for housekeeping! I would love to start my own legitimate business, hire employees and advertise, ”she said. “However, I have no experience in this area and I don’t even know where to start. I have never been in the business world.

Grateful and ready to go

Although Crawford has put others first for many years, she has never lost her optimism for what lies ahead. She is ready to take on her academic and personal goals.

“Connie Crawford was chosen for her tenacity during unprecedented times. She pivoted her career path and found a niche that would fit her family’s new lifestyle, ”said Victoria White, regional manager of military alliances at SNHU. “Resilient and multifaceted are two words synonymous with military spouse. Connie embodies both characteristics and continues to pursue her future goals with optimism.

Crawford couldn’t hide his enthusiasm and gratitude when presented with the scholarship. She knows this degree will give her the edge she needs. “It could really take my cleaning business to the next level, which would not only help me financially, but be great for my personal development,” Crawford said.

She plans to start right away, so that she can complete her degree at the same time as her youngest daughter, who will graduate with a master’s degree in 2023.

“I’m really looking forward to this moment and appreciate this opportunity,” she said. “Thank you, SNHU, for believing in me. “

Alexa Gustavsen ’21 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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