Military Appreciation Month from the PTF Staff

Blog, Military Appreciation Month, Military Appreciation Month, Military Appreciation Month | 05/03/2023

May kicks off the official Military Appreciation Month, a special time to reflect and give thanks to the brave individuals who have served our country. The selfless act of putting on a military uniform for the betterment of others is a first step many of our Tillman Scholars have done that has put them on the trajectory for making their impact on the world. For many of our more than 800 remarkable scholars, their days of serving in uniform have past; however, their dedication to service has yet to falter.

We are inspired everyday by the work of our Tillman Scholars here at PTF and to kick off our month of reflection during Military Appreciation Month, we wanted to voice our appreciation by sharing why we do what we do:

“The broad perspectives and clear loyalty to the PTF team that I have been grateful to be part of within my time so far at the foundation is priceless. I’m inspired by their experiences both within and outside of the military, and their humble leadership that I strive to mirror in my own life. The wonderful group of Tillman Scholars we serve here are the Pat Tillman Foundation give us daily reminders of working through adversity, finding your purpose, and continuing to be a student of life.” – Ivy Richey, Operations Coordinator

“Every single day, I see the impact our scholars have on each other and the world. It is so incredible to get to come to work everyday knowing I will encounter some of the very best leaders and human beings. If I can bring even a fraction of their passion to my daily work, I will have succeeded.” –Nora Beirne, Development Manager

“The work of our scholars is inspiring as a veteran and PTF team member both professionally and personally. I see their ambition and constant stream of success, and it is a reminder that there is always room for growth and success in and out of the military and that we are far more than just our service.” –Julio Lopez, Video Manager

“A cursory look at any of the Tillman Scholar bios will tell you immediately that this is a community of incredibly special people…but a few conversations with Tillman Scholars will tell you that these special people are some of the best you’ll ever get to know. From medical research to education to public policy and so much more, the work that our Tillman Scholar community is doing for the betterment of others keeps me going. Watching their successes (and there are MANY of those!) makes me super happy and I’m proud to be a tiny part in sharing their stories.” –Erica Abdnour, Marketing Manager

“Scholars inspire me daily by reading of the selflessness and dedication to being a part of something larger than themselves. It makes me reflect on how working at PTF helps those people accomplish hugely significant goals to better the lives of others. Working at PTF allows me the opportunity to live in accordance with my personal values while helping others achieve. I feel truly blessed beyond measure.” –Kevin Burke, Program Manager

“Being named a Tillman Scholar ten years ago remains one of my greatest accomplishments in life thus far. Now, I give back to the same community that pushed me to charge ahead. Scholars are always lifting each other up on their way to making an impact, never boastful and never taking the easy road. They’re the real deal.” –Tabatha Renz, Director of Leader Development, TLI

“Our Tillman Scholars are out in their communities, making a difference and changing the world. Their service, scholarship and action have a global impact, while they carry out the legacy of Pat. I want to be with them and support them while they are out ‘doing the thing,’ and hope that their energy rubs off on me. I can make a difference in my community, and my work at PTF is part of my commitment to being a part of something bigger than me.” –Kathy O’Neill, Scholarship Coordinator

“The commitment to service that is shown by everyone affiliated with the military in their respective capacities is inspiring as it is. Knowing that these individuals are not done making their impact takes my appreciation to a whole other level. I’m in awe of the work our Tillman Scholars do everyday and feel incredible honored and humbled to be a part of their journey.” –Neil Miele, Marketing Associate

“I am in awe of the depth of knowledge and academic support in the Tillman Scholar community. As a current graduate student myself, the dissertation phase is very isolating for a researcher. Knowing there is an amazing group of individuals who have gone through this same grueling journey through a dissertation has made me feel very supported. And without asking or inquiring. The Tillman Scholar community has reached out to me on several occasions asking how my ‘journey’ is going and how they can support me. These gestures, while at the time might seem small, inspire me to give back my time, talent, and treasure to support the foundation.” –Colleen Reaney, Head of TLI

To learn more about the impact of our remarkable Tillman Scholars, check out