ANDERSON --- Sergeant. Anna Grant always thought she would have to win the lottery to pursue her lifelong goal of owning and operating her own restaurant.
A scholarship from Veterans Scholarships Forever is going to make Sergeant Grant's dream come true much faster than she ever anticipated. Sergeant Grant, who spent a total of 14 years in the SC Army National Guard -- six years as a full-time Human Resource Sergeant and part time as an Army National Guardsman -- is the recipient of the scholarship that will pay tuition, books and materials for her culinary certificate classes through Tri-County Technical College's Corporate and Community Education (CCE) Division.
"I couldn't do it without the Veterans Scholarships Forever and Tri-County," said Grant, a single parent of three boys, ages 10, 7 and nine months. "I am so grateful for this scholarship," said Sergeant Grant, who explained that GI Bill benefits can't be used for programs that aren't accredited by the state education board (culinary is one of those). Cooking has always been her passion so when she left the SC Army National Guard in March 2015, she began looking for educational opportunities to prepare her for a career in culinary arts.
She found Tri-County's program and made contact with Teresa Young, operations manager for Tri-County's CCE Division.
As former education manager for the SC National Guard for the region, Sergeant Grant was familiar with obtaining information for soldiers on how to use their military benefits.
"Teresa made some calls to the folks at Veterans Scholarships Forever," said Sergeant Grant. "She advocated on my behalf and did all of the legwork. With her help, it was such as simple process. Teresa is amazing. She updated me regularly on the status and presented me with my options. Things are seldom that easy. I'm really grateful to her, Tri-County and Veterans Scholarships Forever," said Sergeant Grant, who just began the fourth culinary class in the certificate program.
She added that the scholarship and the resources offered through Tri-County are opening doors for formulating her business plan. "I'm headed in the right direction. This is no longer just a dream - it is going to happen," said the Anderson resident and 2001 Crescent High graduate.
Ron Demonet, the scholarship program's managing director, said through contributions from individuals and organizations, scholarship funds (endowments) have been established at Tri-County and Greenville Technical Colleges and Spartanburg Community College through the CCE Divisions to benefit veterans training. The goal is to put veterans to work quickly, said Demonet. Each college will manage its VSF endowment, which will enable them to provide scholarships to veterans with the most need. As the endowments grow, more scholarships will be awarded to veterans for training to enter the workforce.
People interested in applying for the scholarship should contact the Tri-County Technical College's Corporate and Community Education Division. People interested donated to the scholarship fund can contact www.scholarshipsforever.org.