Matthew Ostrowski joined the U.S. Army, shipped off to Afghanistan less than a year in and spent his time as a medic doing “everything that you can think of that a medic does.”
Yet, it was his stop in at Fort Mill are pharmacy where the retired soldier got his latest honor.
“It’s humbling, to say the least,” said his wife Cecilia.
The Rock Hill residents, more specifically their daughter Felicity, 6, were recipients Monday of a Rite Aid Foundation scholarship through Folds of Honor.
The Rite Aid Foundation began in 2001. To date it contributed more than $32 million to nonprofit groups. The foundation is in the second round of a three-year, $6 million campaign partnering with Folds of Honor. The nonprofit offers scholarships to children of fallen or disabled service members.
The ongoing effort is part of the larger KidCents program. Rite Aid customers can round their purchases to the next even dollar amount, with that change going to one of nearly 450 charities aimed at improving the health and well-being of children. Customers on Rite Aid’s membership program can select which nonprofit they want their change to support.
The company held a similar presentation event three days prior in Lexington. Combined, the Fort Mill and Lexington events awarded $31,200 in scholarships to seven students.
“There’s so many other organizations there that do go as well, but they kind of forget about education,” Cecilia Ostrowski said. “We have to raise our children in society to become good citizens, and without that education it might be a little more challenging.”
Rock Hill resident Tyrone Jenkins joined the U.S. Army in 1992, serving more than 22 years. He then graduated from culinary school in Charlotte, and now teaches at a public high school in Rock Hill.
He and wife Ceslie have two daughters at St. Anne Catholic School. Reagan, 11, and McKenzie, 7, might not be there if not for the foundation scholarship.
“They were looking to remain in Catholic school and of course that was outside of our budget,” Ceslie Jenkins said. “So I applied for the scholarship. Without them, it probably wouldn’t be possible.”
The Ostrowski family has a budding artist on their hands, while the Jenkins girls enjoy music and other subjects. Both families say the scholarships are important. So too, they say, are events where veterans and their families are recognized for service.
“I don’t think that veterans get the recognitions they should,” Tyrone Jenkins said. “But just to see, to be able to come out to this, and see them put something together, means a whole lot.”
Folds of Honor began in 2007. An Oklahoma Air Nation Guard fighter pilot, having served three tours in Iraq, began the group that since awarded more than 13,000 scholarships. Recipients include residents of all 50 states. Last year the group awarded more than 2,500 scholarships.