Patriot Foundation Gala

Gold Star families were honored at the Patriot Foundation’s 2019 Soldiers Appreciation Dinner at Pinehurst Resort. Methodist University freshman Angelina Morales was one of the scholarship recipients. She was 18 months old when her father died while serving in Afghanistan. 

The Patriot Foundation donated $840,000 to charities that help families of fallen and wounded soldiers in the global war on terrorism during a dinner Sept. 21 at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst,

The donations during the 17th annual Soldiers Appreciation Dinner were awarded to nonprofit organizations serving Fort Bragg, Seymour Johnson and the N.C. National Guard, as well as those assisting families in the Fort Carson, Colo., and Fort Campbell, Ky., areas.

Since its founding in 2003, the Foundation has donated more than $6 million for military charities that have helped more than 2,000 families with scholarships.

The presentation of the donations is one of the highlights of the dinner.

Before awarding the donations to the five organizations, the crowd of more than 400, which included top military brass, retired veterans, active duty personnel and corporate donors, heard firsthand about the impact its support has on those it has helped.

Angelina Morales, one of the beneficiaries, was only 18 months old when her father died while serving in the 7th Special Forces Group in Afghanistan. She now attends Methodist University in Fayetteville.

“I know that I definitely try to do my best to carry on his legacy and push myself,” Morales said. “These foundations have allowed me to have those opportunities to push myself even that much more so that I could carry on his legacy and be someone that he would be proud of.”

Retired Army Gen. Dan McNeill, who followed Morales, emphasized that without donors, success stories like hers would not be possible. The Patriot Foundation depends on individuals and corporate partners to provide the resources each year.

The amount of funds awarded by the Moore County-based foundation and the nonprofits it helps received a major boost earlier this year when the N.C. General Assembly included the NC Patriot Gold Star Family Scholarship Program in the state budget. It is jointly administered by the Patriot Foundation and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

The state’s Scholarship Act will provide the Patriot Foundation with nearly $800,000 recurring every two years for post-secondary scholarship grants to NC children and spouses of fallen and disabled military. It is the first time the state has partnered with a private nonprofit to benefit military families.

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