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"I think Michael is looking down from heaven smiling in approval of the new career that I am pursuing," said Loisanne Diehl of her husband, who was in his office at Fiduciary Trust Company International at the World Trade Center when it fell. At that time, Loisanne worked part time as a secretary earning $5,000 a year.
Now, with the help of a Families of Freedom Scholarship, Loisanne is training to become a patient care technician by studying phlebotomy, EKG testing, physical therapy, and a multitude of other skills. "I hope to become a registered nurse and secure health benefits for my family, something that will run out on me by the end of this year," said Loisanne.
Loisanne’s son Jason, a senior at Caldwell College, is also a Families of Freedom Scholarship recipient. Next year, he hopes to teach high school English while attending graduate school at night, and to eventually teach college-level English. Loisanne’s daughter Jeannette is a junior at Brick Memorial High School. To say she is gifted in music would understate her talents; she plays 11 instruments. Jeannette is registered for a Families of Freedom Scholarship, which she hopes will help fulfill her desire to play in a symphony orchestra, or to teach music.
Loisanne and her children stayed home for several days after the attacks hoping to get news that Michael was alive, returning to school when the rescue effort turned reluctantly into a recovery effort. Once the paperwork started, Loisanne took eight weeks off from work, without pay, to try to file the necessary documents. "There is no end to the paperwork," said Loisanne. "But the experience we have had with Scholarship America during the registration process and the scholarship application process has been a positive one. There are so many other funds, grants, etc., out there that were so complicated, it almost discourages you from going on."
"Our main concern was that our children grow up to be good providers for their families one day," said Loisanne. "To the donors of Scholarship America and the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, I don't know where to begin to thank them for the more than generous financial aid you have given to our family. Without it, my children and I would not be able to continue our education in a way that would help us attain our goals."
Note: Loisanne shared the above story with the donors of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund via Scholarship America’s 2002 Annual Report. After completing a course that typically takes two years in four months, Loisanne is now a licensed patient care technician at a local hospital, and a nationally certified member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Her son has graduated from Caldwell College and is teaching children with learning disabilities while going for his masters in English. Her daughter attends Berklee College of Music on a Families of Freedom Scholarship.
"The Families of Freedom Scholarship sustains the memories of all those lost or suffering due to 9/11. It is so humbling that donors, who are seemingly strangers, can show such kindness and compassion. Scholarship America gives me strength and hope for a better future."
The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund benefits financially needy dependent children, spouses, and domestic partners of 9/11 victims. If you are eligible to receive assistance, you'll need to complete a one-time registration; after that, you will need to submit an application each year.
Use the "Planning Ahead" Estimated Award Calculator to stimate what the family is expected to contribute to the student's college expenses, and the amount that may be awarded to you for the upcoming academic year.