Patriot Foundation reflects on 18 years of honoring Gold Star families with scholarships

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PINEHURST, N.C. (WNCN) — Saturday night Gold Star families were honored at the Patriot Foundation’s 2019 Soldiers Appreciation Dinner at Pinehurst Resort.

The non-profit Patriot Foundation started in 2003.

The foundation provides scholarships to children of soldiers who have died in combat or training.

“The idea was that we knew we were going to need a helping hand to our military families that were going to be in for a long fight, and as it turned out here we are 17 years later and it’s truly been a long fight,” said Spike Smith, founder of the Patriot Foundation.

Methodist University freshman Angelina Morales is one of the beneficiaries. She was 18 months old when her father died while serving in Afghanistan.

“I know that I definitely try to do my best to carry on his legacy and pushing 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.”

Afghan Ambassador to the United States Roya Rahmani also spoke at the dinner Saturday night.

“My message is the investments that they have made over the past 18 years both in terms of blood and treasure, it’s working, it has made a difference and it will continue to make a difference moving forward,” Rahmani said.

Smith says the Patriot Foundation has provided $6 million in scholarships to help about 2,500 military families.

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