The first time Seth Straw walked onto campus at Auburn University and chanted “War Eagle” with other exuberant fans at the Jordan-Hare Stadium, he knew it was the school for him. During this initial visit, without knowing it, he took the first steps towards following the dream his father died to protect.
“While growing up without a father has been difficult, I have had plenty of support through the community and close family who have helped me become who I am today,” Seth explained. “However, the most difficult part about my life, especially in college where I created many new friends, has been having to explain the loss of my father anytime the conversation of parents comes up.”
In 1997, United States Marine Corps First Lieutenant Robert Straw was killed in a helicopter crash just outside of Dallas, Texas, leaving his wife Mindi to raise their young family. According to Seth, his mom worked countless hours to support their family and save money for Seth and his older sister to attend college.
“While I never knew my father, I think he would be the proudest of me for continuing to pursue my dreams despite what has happened in my life and for never letting what happened to him bring me down.” Seth continued, “Anytime I am having trouble in school or in life, I use my father as encouragement to keep pushing, to get the grade I need, or to make the right decision that I know he would be proud of.”
Seth’s dream was to enroll in Auburn University’s Animal Science program. However, as the deadline for applications approached, he worried about being able to afford the out-of-state tuition. He applied on the very last day applications were due, and Seth was accepted.
He immediately began researching scholarship programs and enrolled with Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots), which has helped Seth follow his dream. Upon graduation, Seth plans on attending veterinary school.
Fallen Patriots works diligently to identify and aid the estimated 20,000 students who have lost a parent in the line of duty. With the help of loyal donors and corporate sponsors, Fallen Patriots has been able to assist over 1,000 bright and motivated students.