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Medal of Honor Recipient Issues Scholarship Challenge

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Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer plans to raise $1 million in scholarship money for the children of wounded Marines and Navy corpsmen, and challenges the American public to match it.

Meyer announced his “Sergeant Dakota Meyer Scholarship,” a $2 million scholarship matching initiative, at the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation 2011 Ceremony and Reception Sept. 13, two days before President Barack Obama presented him with the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony.

“My entire Marine Corps career was about challenges and meeting that challenge,” Meyer said in an interview with MarinesTV. “So what I decided to do was challenge myself to raise $1 million for the scholarship fund initiative, and I’m challenging America to match -- dollar for dollar -- what I can bring into the fund.”

Meyer recently partnered with the foundation to form his initiative and raise the $1 million plus matching funds by the foundation’s 50th anniversary on May 28, 2012.

“I chose to partner with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation on this initiative because of our common mission of supporting Marines and Navy corpsmen families,” Meyer said. “Education paves the path for our future, and the money we raise will lead to a brighter future for the sons and daughters of many Marines.”

Meyer’s challenge to the public to raise a matching $1 million is to honor Marines and Navy corpsmen by educating their children, foundation officials said.

Outlining his call to the public for matching scholarship donations, Meyer set up the “Dakota Meyer Challenge” website.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to U.S. military families, and has provided 26,500 scholarships valued at more than $65 million for the post-high school education of children of wounded Marines and Navy corpsmen, according to its website.

Meyer, the nation’s most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, is credited with saving 37 lives in a six-hour firefight following an enemy ambush on U.S. and Afghan troops in the Ganjgal Valley of Kunar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 8, 2009, when he was a corporal. The nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor is awarded for risk of life in combat beyond the call of duty.

Meyer is the third living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Article by Terri Moon Cronk, American Forces Press Service