A common character trait among ThanksUSA scholars is the desire to help others. Abigail Betts hopes to do that as a speech therapist. The daughter of an Army Reserve Chaplain, Abby was awarded this year's $3,000 Sam V. Suplizio/ThanksUSA scholarship to begin undergraduate studies at the University of Louisville.
When a friend suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, Abby witnessed his slow, but steady progress through recovery.
"When he awakened after months in a coma, he could not communicate with doctors or with his family. It was a speech therapist that unraveled the puzzle and allowed my friend to communicate with loved ones. His progress amazed me and demonstrated the significance of speech therapy. I want a member of the team that brings healing to those who are disconnected -- a bridge builder that assists in rebuilding thought processing skills, communication skills, and even social skills."
Abby begins her academic journey with a major in Psychology. After completing her undergrad, she will continue on to graduate school to earn credentials in Speech Therapy. "In visiting hospitals, military rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and schools with my father, who is an Army Reserve chaplain, pastor, and teacher, I have found a burden and passion."
Abby demonstrates her passion for helping others as a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities. She is also preparing for her third mission to Haiti which will take place during the summer of 2017.
"Words cannot express my gratitude for receiving this scholarship. My Dad serves in the Army Reserves and works really hard to balance a civilian career, military career, and family. As I was applying for scholarships, we noticed that most military awards seemed geared for Active Duty Soldier families. It was very validating for my Dad that this award came through. He would serve our country with or without a scholarship, but it made his day to know his service was helping me pay for school. I am honored to be a recipient and hope to use your gift to gain a skill that will improve the lives of others. Thank you so much!"