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War hero attending Trine
Veteran Scholarship aiding his studies
Sgt. Maj. Jeffory Aldrich II, a U.S. Army veteran, fires up the Thunder football team on Shive Field the day before their Homecoming win against ranked Franklin College. Aldrich will study at Trine through the university's Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran Scholarship.
At age 17, Jeffory Aldrich II joined the U.S. army. Eighteen years later, he has served in Iraq three times, and completed stints in Bosnia, Panama, Korea, Kuwait, and Australia.
In Iraq, he earned the Bronze Star for a rescue he performed during a fire fight, carrying two comrades to safety while suffering a flac chest wound himself. He leaves for a tour in Afghanistan shortly.
Now a sergeant-major, the 35-year-old Kentucky native travels weekly from his job as a recruiter in Lawrence, Ind., to Steuben County to see his son, Jeff Aldrich III, or “Trey” Aldrich. He began a course of study at Trine University’s School of Professional Studies in 2005, only to have his plan interrupted by another tour of service.
Trine University believes in supporting those who protect our land with their lives, and offers a limited number of Iraq/Afghanistan Veteran Scholarships to defray the cost of classroom courses for Aldrich and other soldiers like him.
Soldiers returning from active duty are eligible on a first-come, first-served basis. They must be admitted to the Trine SPS, apply for the scholarship, and fill out the federal application for free student aid (FAFSA). Those selected from the pool of returnees will receive up to 24 credit hours in the first year, valued at $7,152, free.
Transfer credit is granted from college-level courses completed with grade of C or better, or eligible military classes, police or fire academy training, technical, specialty or career training programs at any SPS location. Credit for life experience is available. Potentially, veterans could complete a degree in 36 months.
Aldrich will take advantage of the Trine Veteran Scholarship Program for the next year and a half. “He came to the Angola North campus and wanted to register in the next eight weeks. I thought of the veteran scholarships, talked to Vice President for Enrollment Management Scott Goplin, and Scott said, ‘Let’s reward him,’” said Angola North campus director Dave Wagner.
On campus to give the Thunder football team a pre-Homecoming game pep talk Friday, Sept. 26, Aldrich expressed enthusiasm for the education opportunity, as well as the play on the field. “I just wish I was 15 years younger,” he said, wistfully watching the fully-uniformed Trine players execute practice plays.
“Hit ’em once for me tomorrow,” he told the players, urging them to have the heart and courage of a warrior in the Homecoming game. Trine players introduced themselves individually after the talk, expressing thanks to the decorated soldier for the inspiring presentation.