Since 2018, Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon has provided $30,000 in student scholarships, and it will be providing four more scholarships in 2021.

Applications are currently being accepted for four $1,250 scholarships to be awarded in April through Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. Past scholarships recipients are not eligible to apply.

To apply for the ICBYR Scholarship, the applicant must be:

• A military service member or veteran who lives in or has their duty station in Isanti County, or has Isanti County as their home of record if they are active duty.

• The legal spouse of an eligible military service member or veteran.*

• A child of an eligible military service member or veteran.*

* If military service member or veteran is deceased, they must have been residing in or had their duty station or home of record in Isanti County at the time of their death.

Application forms are available on the Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon website, www.beyondtheyellowribbonisanti.org. The application form needs to be postmarked by March 31 (or hand delivered to the Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Office located within the Isanti County Veterans Services Office at the Isanti County Government Center in Cambridge by the end of the business day on March 31).

The scholarships are funded entirely from the proceeds of the Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon 2020 golf tournament.

“We encourage all who meet the eligibility requirements to apply,” Carol Ann Smith said, who serves as secretary of Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and is a member of the scholarship committee. “Your goal may be trade school or college, full-time or part-time. We welcome applications from traditional and non-traditional students of all ages.”

Smith has been an Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon task force member since 2011 and on the executive board since 2015. Her father was a World War II veteran and her nephew has done two tours in Iraq.

“The mission of Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is to support Isanti County’s military service members, veterans and their families,” Smith said. “We feel the scholarships give monetary support to these families and help ease the burden of educational costs. This in turn helps the community by sponsoring secondary education and decreasing the need for loans.”

Smith encouraged all eligible students to apply.

“Recipients have consistently said how much it means to have this money to support their education,” Smith said. “We receive thank you notes from almost every scholarship winner. A few have kept in touch with us and let us know how their educations are proceeding.”

Smith noted the scholarship amounts are less in 2021 than in years past. In years past, the scholarship amounts were $2,500.

“It was a difficult decision to cut the amount of the 2021 scholarship award to $1,250 each, but we felt with the extreme financial need in the community due to COVID-19 we needed to focus more of the golf tournament proceeds to direct support (paying rent/mortgage, car repairs, filling propane tanks, furnace repairs, medical bills, etc.) of our veterans, service members and their families,” Smith said.

Bruce Danielson serves as co-chairman of the scholarship committee and has been a part of Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon for five years.

“The greatest part of belonging to ICBYR is hearing the requests by veterans that need help with rent, with dental care, with furnace maintenance and we have the funds to make a difference in their lives,” Danielson said. “They sacrificed for this country and we are so proud to be there to repay them, thanks to the community’s support.”

Danielson appreciates all of the support given to Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.

“We are constantly impressed with the support of the communities for our veterans by way of the golf tournament and any fundraiser given. These scholarships are a great way to help the veterans’ families meet the demands of secondary education,” Danielson said. “We stress that these are not just for seniors about to graduate, but anyone wanting to pursue a higher education, regardless of one’s age. We have received wonderful feedback from our scholarship winners that this money eased their financial burdens, and we’re so glad to be able to help.”

As part of the application form, applicants will need to write an essay explaining how they meet eligibility requirements, how they will use the scholarship and describe any school or community involvement.

“The Isanti County Beyond The Yellow Ribbon Task Force Scholarship demonstrates our community support for our military families,” Dan Jakovich said, who is co-chairman of the scholarship committee. “Scholarships are available to citizens who are veterans or have a relationship with a veteran or military member and desire to attend a postsecondary school. We want to make the Isanti County community aware of the ICBYR Task Force and its leadership for starting this fantastic scholarship program.”

Jakovich also gives much thanks to the Purple Hawk Country Club for hosting the annual golf tournament.

“The ICBYR Task Force wants to thank the Purple Hawk for hosting our annual September golf tournament, and the many people who play to support this tournament, making the ICBYR Scholarship possible,” Jakovich said. “The ICBYR Task Force encourages Isanti County students and students in neighboring schools to apply.”

The scholarship committee, comprised of Smith, Danielson, Jakovich and Brad Brown, will evaluate the applications to determine the four winners.

Anyone, whether they are a veteran or not, is invited to join Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and attend its monthly meetings the third Thursday of the month from 7-8:30 p.m. The meetings are currently being held virtually, but normally are held at the Cambridge Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center, 505 Spirit River Drive S., Cambridge. For more information, visit www.beyondtheyellowribbonisanti.org.

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