SKY SOLDIERS FOUNDATION
(Formerly known as the 173D Airborne Brigade Foundation)
a 501(c) 3 corporation recognized by the IRS as a tax deductible donation
THE FOUNDATION’S ROOTS
It started in the 1970’s with simple donations for college as we developed a scholarship fund. Over the years our Scholarship fund grew and we were able to give out more money, but we had become a dead man society and had no active unit and our age and resources began to decline. Then in 2000, the 173d Airborne Brigade was reactivated again and a bright new future stood before us. Visionaries started looking forward and asking how we can prepare to meet the challenges that wouldcome.Then the world changed and 9‐11 was upon us. The War on Terror was in full swing. The Brigade jumped into Iraq and we found ourselves playing catch up football when it came to support. But we learned from each experience, each deployment. As the Brigade transitioned into the 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, we transitioned into the 173d Airborne Brigade Association. Over time our old scholarships fund of the 1970’s, transformed into the 173d Airborne Brigade Association Foundation of today, a 501 C3 Tax‐Free corporation that now has a bigger mission and broader support.
Each year we award scholarship grants to students that are family members of the Association or 173d Airborne Gold Stars and their families.
The scholarship fund is a living memorial to our comrades who died in Combat. Unlike us, they were denied the chance to advance their education. These awards are given in their honor. The scholarship committee seeks to award scholarships to applicants displaying the potential for a degree in higher education, whether it is technical, university, or professional. A scholarship committee rates each applicant sent to them without knowing the names of applicants. Each committee member passes their decision to the National Scholarship Director. The National Scholarship Director working with the Chairman decides the number of Scholarships and the amounts. This varies from year to year by the amounts donated previously by members.
On every deployment Chapters select Units to support downrange. At Christmas we send Santa suits and things to remind our Sky Soldiers about the season. We have sent children to soccer camp and we have supported Sky Soldiers wives for an Army run. We support the 8th of November Annual Run, and we stand ready to support the Troops and Families in any way we can!
WOUNDED WARRIOR PROGRAM
Once a Sky Soldier is wounded and evacuated out of the Combat Theater, the Unit notifies the Association. We in turn contact the local Chapter Hospital Representative. They go to the hospital and visit the wounded (Walter Reed, The Burn Center, etc.) We have had the Chapters put on baby showers for families while their soldiers were in the hospital. We just developed a “Hospital Kit” to be given to each soldier. It contains goodies donated by various Chapters for the wounded. We also developed a 173d Purple Heart Coin. We have taken Wounded Sky Soldiers and Families on fishing, boating, sailing trips, and amusement parks to take their minds off current circumstances.
With the coming of the War on Terror, came the price of our Liberty. Our Sky Soldiers on the front lines in this war are paying the ultimate sacrifice for our safety and freedom. We have long promised
to be there for them and we are. Once notified of a soldier killed in action, our Brigade Liaison notifies local Chapter Presidents. We send flowers to the Families and attend every funeral of a Fallen Sky Soldier.
First we appointed a National Gold Star Representative ‐ 173d Gold Star Mother herself. Our Gold Star Rep reaches out to the family in their hour of need and lets them know we are here and will be there for them. We attend the funeral and our Gold Star rep stays in close contact with the families long after. Many Chapters open their arms and invite the families into their activities, if and when they are ready. Later in the year our national Gold Star Rep sends cards and letters reminding Gold Star families they are not forgotten. We also have developed and give a special 173d Gold Star pin. We have started a National Gold Star Luncheon at Reunions. We send gifts to the younger children at Holidays.