By Michelle Dolge
War demands sacrifices from soldiers. Few ever recognize the sacrifice their families bear.
The No Greater Sacrifice Foundation does exactly that: honor the children of fallen and wounded soldiers by granting scholarships for their college educations.
“No Greater Sacrifice actually recognizes that I wasn’t the only one in our family that sacrificed anything,” former U.S. Army Col. Timothy Karcher told CBS Radio’s ConnectingVets in a recent interview.
“And I didn’t … I don’t feel like I sacrificed anything. I got wounded fair and square.”
What Karcher sacrificed is both his legs. On his third combat tour in Iraq, the 26-year infantry officer lost both legs in an IED attack on his armored vehicle. Karcher survived, but only barely.
He flat-lined twice and both of his legs were amputated above the knee.
“My family went through a great deal … and for this organization to honor the sacrifices of my kids and for everyday Americans to give to this organization, and to recognize their sacrifices … my kids all recognize that, and they feel blessed for it,” Karcher says.
No Greater Sacrifice (NGS) stepped in while he was recovering at Walter Reed Hospital. They wanted to finance college for his three daughters, who were only 14, 13 and 7 at the time. Despite being a double amputee who nearly died twice during his recovery, he refused.
“No, no, we’re good, just like any service member would,” Karcher told them. “There are people that need it more than our family does.”
NGS didn’t agree.
“The checks in the mail,” Karcher says they told him.
The goal of NGS is to provide debt-free college educations to the children of fallen and wounded soldiers.
Besides the scholarship, NGS recipients are matched up with mentors who see them through the college process, and teach them life skills.
“A lot of that (mentoring) goes a long way that helps our kids get through the challenges of college,” says Karcher. “Many of these kids are first generation college students. They have questions that maybe mom and dad can’t answer.”
To date, NGS has sent 85 kids to college at a cost of just over $7 million.
Scholarships are offered to children of all ages of wounded or fallen vets who served post 9/11. Information for the application process can be found here.