Chicago, IL (November 7, 2013) – The Pat Tillman Foundation is proud to announce that Army Sergeant First Class Blake Schroedter has been selected by the National Football League (NFL) as the 2013 NFL-TILLMAN MILITARY SCHOLAR for his outstanding leadership, service and academic excellence in the field of military clinical psychology. Schroedter will be recognized onfield at the Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions Salute to Service game at Soldier Field on Sunday, November 10th.
Schroedter, a native of Newton, IL, served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Illinois Army National Guard. He is the 4th Tillman Military Scholar to be selected. He is pursuing a Doctorate in Psychology at The Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. His goal is to become a psychologist specialized in veterans mental health. In Adler’s Military Track program, Schroedter is developing a modified stress reduction program he hopes to launch in early 2014 for Army National Guard soldiers. He believes his research will help detect and reduce commonly found psychological problems in veterans returning home from war, especially after trauma in combat.
“Blake is living the soldier’s creed. He is passionate about making a difference for fellow veterans impacted by the invisible wounds of these wars, especially Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury,” said Marie Tillman Shenton, President and Co-Founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “Our country needs his leadership and advocacy to help break the mental health stigma that has isolated too many veterans and claimed lives in the military community. As the last troops start returning home from Afghanistan, it’s an honor to recognize Blake as this year’s NFL-Tillman Military Scholar.”
“My own war experience and struggles to reintegrate back into society have made me more perceptive to problems in troops that are difficult for some non-military psychologists to comprehend,” said Schroedter. “I believe this understanding will allow me to help develop more veteran-focused treatments and programs, making me an asset to not only veterans but the field of psychology and mental health.”
In 2010, the NFL and Pat Tillman Foundation established the NFL-Tillman Military Scholar award to annually honor an individual who exemplifies Pat’s legacy of service. The scholarship is part of the Tillman Military Scholars program established in 2008 by the Pat Tillman Foundation to support educational opportunities for military veterans and their spouses. Tillman Military Scholars are committed to a life of service both in and out of uniform, pursuing studies in the fields of medicine, law, business, government, education or the arts. The Tillman Military Scholars program covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and books, basic housing and childcare needs. As a result of fundraising from last year’s NFL Salute to Service campaign, the Pat Tillman Foundation will be able to fund an additional 15 scholarships, bringing the annual total to 75 Tillman Military Scholars who can pursue degree programs of their choice.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association will continue its long history of honoring veterans and active duty members of the military with its annual Salute to Service campaign which begins with tonight’s Thursday Night Football Vikings-Redskins game on NFL Network. For every point scored during the NFL’s 32 designated Salute to Service games, the league will donate $100 to each of its three core, military non-profit partners – the Pat Tillman Foundation, USO and the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) – for a total of $300 per point. Last year, the first year of the campaign, the NFL donated nearly $800,000 as a result of the Salute to Service campaign. Fans can find out more about the NFL’s year-long commitment to the military and veterans by visiting www.nfl.com/salute.
Since the Foundation’s inception, the NFL and Arizona Cardinals have recognized Pat Tillman’s sacrifice for his country in a variety of ways that celebrate his memory. In 2004, the NFL donated $250,000 to the United Service Organizations to build a USO Center in memory of Tillman on Bagram Air Base. In addition, Arizona Cardinals’ Team President Michael Bidwill and Senior Advisor to the Commissioner Joe Browne are represented on the Pat Tillman Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Schroedter is the 4th Tillman Military Scholar to be honored by the NFL. Previous honorees include Marine Sergeant Emily Thompson Schelberg (2012) of Towson, MD; Petty Officer Third Class D’Onior Felton (2011) of Clarksdale, MS; and Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Nelson (2010) of Dawson, MN.
If you are a member of the media who wishes to arrange an interview with Tillman Military Scholar Blake Schroedter or Pat Tillman Foundation President Marie Tillman, please contact Michelle McCarthy at (201) 675-1063, [email protected].
About the Pat Tillman Foundation
In 2002, Pat Tillman proudly put his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals on hold to serve his country. Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat’s death in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat’s legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing educational support and resources to veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses. Inspired by Pat’s leadership attributes, passion for education and spirit of service, the Foundation annually awards educational scholarships through the Tillman Military Scholars program. To date, the Pat Tillman Foundation has invested over $9 million in educational support for 290 Tillman Military Scholars – military veterans and spouses – committed to a life of service in and out of uniform in medicine, law, business, government, education and the arts. For more information on the Pat Tillman Foundation, visit: www.pattillmanfoundation.org.