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Bank, organization team up for military family scholarships

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fifth Third Bank and national non-profit organization Folds of Honor are teaming up to educational dreams come true for local military families.

Kalen Moldovan knows firsthand how tough life can be for military families. The one thing worse than the distance is the constant worry.

"When my husband was wounded, it was a very helpless feeling. I couldn't be there to help him. I couldn't be there to nurse him back to health. I actually couldn't even speak with him on the phone for him for a few days after he was wounded. So I basically just heard, 'Your husband's been hit,'" Moldovan said.

Her husband, Sergeant Jon Moldovan, was critically injured in Afghanistan.

"I woke up to an explosion. A rocket had exploded and shrapnel went into my leg," Sgt. Moldovan said.

Just days later, he was granted a Purple Heart. While still in his hospital bed, he re-enlisted for another five years. But Sergeant Moldovan's days as a paratrooper were over. He was headed home. He now works as an Army recruiter. His wife is working toward her associate's degree in psychology. She wants to become a therapist and counsel veterans returning home from war.

"My husband was wounded and he made something positive out of a horrible situation," Moldovan said. "My best friend's brother actually committed suicide in January 2009. He did three separate deployments and could not handle his PTSD."

Despite a strong GPA, Moldovan had doubts about whether she could pursue a higher degree. She says she doesn't qualify for federal assistance. Now, a joint effort between Fifth Third Bank, www.53vets.com, and a national non-profit called the Folds of Honor Foundationfoldsofhonor.org, is helping to fill the gap. They provide $5,000 educational scholarships to family members of slain or wounded warriors.

"Our company decided to do something with the veterans, with the military, with the families of those in the military," Clarence Welton, Fifth Third Bank, said. "We really wanted to do something that affected the community."

Sergeant Moldovan says he is as proud of his wife as she is of him.

"I get a lot of recognition, people thanking me for my service, but what I see a lot is people don't take notice to the sacrifices other family members make, especially spouses," Moldovan said. "It feels good to see my wife get recognition, you know and being honored."

The Folds of Honor Foundation scholarships, foldsofhonor.org, can be used by spouse or children of service members or held for young children until they are old enough to attend college. The Fifth Third Bank, www.53vets.com, partnership has a fund-raising goal of $100,000 for the scholarship fund. The efforts will culminate in a celebration at Union Station on Veteran's Day.

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