By Mary K. Talbot
Brown University has announced that it is one step closer to its goal of doubling the number of U.S. military veterans enrolled as undergraduates by 2024 with a multimillion-dollar gift from 1st Lt. Joseph P. Healey, an Army veteran who served in the Medical Service Corps at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Half of Healey’s $20-million gift will create a permanent endowment for the Elaine and Joseph Healey Scholarship for Veterans. The remaining $10 million will honor Healey’s mother by funding a scholarship for students in Brown’s Resumed Undergraduate Education program — an initiative that admits qualified prospective students who take an indirect route to college because of family, financial, military-service, health issues or other compelling reasons.
Healey — cofounder of HealthCor, an investment management firm — came from humble roots. He was raised by a single mother in Warwick, and at one point, his mother, Tonia, lost her job. The family went on welfare.
Looking for a means to improve their circumstances, Tonia applied to Brown. For four years, she rode a RIPTA bus between Warwick and Providence to gain the education that would let her start a career in psychiatric nursing to support her family.
“I saw the power in what Brown was able to offer to my mom, who showed me what it means to be a fighter and a survivor,” Healey said.
Six years later, as he approached high school graduation, Healey was determined to follow in his mother’s footsteps and earn a college degree. But the cost of tuition was still an obstacle.
“Coming from a single-parent family, finances were tough, even with financial aid packages,” Healey said. “Thankfully, I applied for — and was awarded — an Army ROTC four-year scholarship.”
Healey attended Boston University before serving in the Medical Service Corps and remembers that “those years taught me invaluable lessons about discipline, honor, service and camaraderie that remain with me every day.”
Healy made the gift to Brown out of appreciation for the educational opportunities his family was given, and in recognition of the pivotal impact that those college educations made on their collective futures.
“A Brown degree is a ticket that opens doors for the rest of your life,” Healey said. “My hope is that this gift will open the doors of higher education to student veterans and students exploring education later in life, who didn’t think a Brown education was even possible. … I want to give someone else the chance that I had.”
Brown University’s president, Christina H. Paxson, said: “This generous gift from Joe Healey and his family marks a major step toward fulfilling our promise.”
Paxson and the university community pledged to admit veterans through a need-blind process and provide full financial support during their years of undergraduate education, beginning with the class of 2024. To date, the university has raised $11.3 million of its $25-million goal to fund the endowment.
The announcement can be found at www.brown.edu/news.
Free access to national parks
Are you dreaming of the day when it would be safe to take your family on vacation again?
Start planning a trip to a national park.
As of Nov. 11, veterans and Gold Star families gained lifetime free access to America’s national parks, wildlife refuges and other public federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior. And land and water managed by the U.S.Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Army Corps of Engineers will take part.
In a press release, Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said: “With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting veterans and Gold Star Families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect.”
Entrance fees will be waived for the veteran or Gold Star Family and traveling companions who occupy a private non-commercial vehicle. If they use other transportation, the veteran or voucher-holder and three people (ages 16 and older) will receive free admission where fees are charged.
Veterans should present proper identification where fees are collected. This could be a:
Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card), Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), Veteran ID Card, or veteran’s designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card.
Gold Star Families can download and print a voucher to present to a ranger that certifies their status. It’s available at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/upload/Gold-Star-Family-Free-Access-Voucher.pdf.
For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/veterans-and-gold-star-families-free-access.htm.
Discussions of veterans’ issues
WaterFire and Leadership Rhode Island presented two discussion panels on veterans’ issues last week, moderated by Overwatch Project/FORGE executive director Casey Woods.
The one-hour presentations were recorded and can be found on Leadership Rhode Island’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/LeadershipRI.
“Innovative Treatments and Approaches for Post Traumatic Stress” features Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, who discussed the group’s MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTS; Dr. Erik Won, retired Navy flight surgeon and president of Wave Neuroscience, who shared his work treating PTS with magnetic e-resonance therapy, a type of transcranial magnetic stimulation; and Dr. Noah Phillips, attending psychiatrist and director of the Psychiatric Neuromodulation Clinic at Providence VA Medical Center, who discussed his work using intermittent theta-burst stimulation to treat PTS.
“Managing Post-Military Employment Success” is a conversation with retired Army Capt. Florent “Flo” Groberg, Medal of Honor recipient, who discussed his transition into the civilian workforce and his LinkedIn Learning course, “Finding Your Purpose After Service”; Cmdr. Karen Fine Brasch, retired Navy pilot, and Intuit Military and Veteran Initiative Global leader, who discussed Intuit’s initiatives focused on creating jobs and financial empowerment for veterans and military families; and Maj. Amy Bernard, retired USMC logistics officer and senior program manager at the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, who shared resources to help veterans succeed in the civilian workforce.
Do you know a living veteran who would be willing to share their story? Do you offer a program or service focused on serving retired military? Are you planning an event aimed at veterans or their families? Email Mary K. Talbot at ThoseWhoServedAmerica@gmail.com.
Calendar of Events
All meetings are in person unless noted. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Nov. 16, Coping with Prostate Cancer During a Pandemic, by Jessica Madison, APRN and Michelle Travis, APRN, 9 a.m., VA Medical Center, Building No. 1, fifth Floor, classroom No. 3. Info: (401) 273-7100, ext. 13258.
Nov. 16, monthly meeting of DAV Chapter 6, 6:30 p.m., 113 Beach St., Westerly.
Nov. 18, (Virtual) Veterans Town Hall with leadership from the VA Providence Healthcare System and regional benefits office and the R.I. Office of Veterans Services, 5:30-7 p.m. Call (404) 397-1596, and enter code 199 243 8680# to participate.