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Recipients - 2012

2012 Recipients

Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship


Vincent Harris – Locust Grove, GA (Dependent of Firefighter) “I would like to further my Associate Degree in Fire Science to a Bachelor’s degree in a similar field. In the past year, I have received the Henry County Fire Department’s highest award – The Chief’s Award. I developed a “Read to Succeed” program with the elementary school next to my fire station. This program was developed to help aid the school with two early intervention second grade classes. Education is very important to me and for me to play a very integral part at such an early level is very important to the basic values I sought in this profession.”

Penny Durio – West Fargo, ND (Spouse of U.S. Navy Service Member) – “The Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship Program would afford me the opportunity to complete my undergraduate education in business. Through the many tribulations, I have attained my GED, an Associate in Science in Business Administration, raised two wonderful children, and have held down a full time job. I have accomplished all of my goals that I have set for myself up to this point. I now have a goal to further my education and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. I always tell my kids that there is room for more learning. I live by my word and I am ready to move forward and continue my education.”

Amy Bottger – Brooklyn Park, MN (Spouse of Firefighter) “This scholarship would change our lives as a family by allowing my wife to complete her dream of going to college, getting a degree, and landing a job that she loves.”

Heather Aloise – Prior Lake, MN (Dependent of U.S. Navy Service Member) “Receiving the Hero Behind the Hero scholarship would be an unbelievable opportunity to realize my aspirations for a college education from a great institution. Receiving a scholarship to Waldorf College would be a life-changer. I am excited for the educational experiences and personal growth opportunities that college life in Forest City would provide me.”

Paula Bloom – Thorsby, AL (Spouse of Law Enforcement Officer)  “I want to continue to support my husband, be a strong, educated leader in my community, and raise my family to love and respect all our American Heroes. This scholarship can make it all possible.”

LaTriece Nichols – Glendale, AZ (Spouse of U.S. Army Service Member) “As a military spouse with over 20 years of continual, faithful support to my husband, our family of five, and the United States Army, serving others has always seemed second nature to me. Going back to college to continue my education is a big step for me, and at the same time a little scary, however, I have a strong family support system from my husband and three boys to encourage me that I can do anything that I put my mind and heart towards to accomplish.”

Denise Sirmans – Ballinger, TX (Spouse of Firefighter) “I would like to nominate my wife for the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship. She has always wanted to go back to school, but family has always been above her. This scholarship would change her life because for once she would be doing something she wanted to do.”

Sonja Foust – Evergreen, CO (Spouse of U.S. Army Service Member) “I feel that this opportunity to get a scholarship with Waldorf College would help me fulfill my lifelong dream in getting a college education.”


Kevin Ansel – Kanawha, IA (Dependent of Firefighter) “I believe that the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship will help me by giving me a chance to better my education as well as giving me a chance to be someone else’s hero. Through this scholarship, I would enter the Criminal Justice program in an attempt to become a police officer.”

Melissa Ingram –  Southampton, NJ (Dependent of U.S. Air Force Service Member) “In receiving the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, I would love to start my real college experience and finally figure out what I want to do with my life. I want this scholarship to not only better myself and to educate myself, but to actually provide something of importance to the world.”

Sailor of the Year Scholarship

Petty Officer Cheyenne E. Shasky (Fleet Forces Sailor of the Year) – A native of Portland, OR, Shasky enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1999. In January 2008, she transferred to Center for Information Dominance Learning Site Norfolk as Couse Manager for Information System Maintenance Course and Master Trainer.

Petty Officer Joseph Santos (Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year) – A native of Spain, Santos enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1999. As of 2012, Santos was set to deploy with IMARDIV, 29 Palms.

Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command Shannon N. McQueen (Navy Reserve Sailor of the Year) – A native of Crete, IL, McQueen enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1993. Upon reporting to NCDOC, McQueen served in a myriad of roles to include Sensor Operations Lead Analyst and Watch LPI, Threat Analysis and Network Forensics LPO, and Command Career Center Counselor, where her efforts were instrumental in the awarding of the 2008 and 2009 Retention Excellence Award.

First Class Petty Officer Brian DeNike (Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year) – A native of Poughkeepsie, NY, DeNike enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1992. In 1999, DeNike earned a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College. In 2004, DeNike deployed to Baghdad International Airport, Iraq support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of joint Special Operations Aviation Detachment-Arabian Peninsula with HCS-4. 


Learning Partner Scholarship


Michael Hudson – Columbia, TN (Columbia Fire Department) “I was able to obtain my first degree, an AAS in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University. However, now I am hungry for more. The scholarship will be of great value to me and my organization, and the knowledge will be used to provide a better quality of emergency care to my community.”

Robert McConnell – Hampton, GA (Henry County Fire Department) “I consider myself a good candidate for this award because I have dedicated myself to a life of service. In order to fulfill this dedication, I have realized that I have to continue to develop and challenge myself. Obtaining this scholarship would allow me to continue my journey for higher education.”

Jeff Eastman – Mason City, IA (Mason City Fire Department) “I have been in the Fire Service and EMS for 8 years, and I have a vested interest in it. I am currently holding a 4.0 GPA with Waldorf after 14 credit hours, and I know that this leadership experience will make me a more diverse and capable leader in the future.” 

Iowa Association of Professional Fire Chiefs Scholarship


Danny Birkett – Waukee, IA