Hello, ThanksUSA Treasure-Hunters!
Can you believe...that this is our third year? We talk with many of
you who say that you have played all three of the Hunts and thereby
learned in new ways our country's history. Many of you also go on to
say you know someone in the service -- whether it be a brother,
daughter, father, spouse, cousin, friend -- and we can hear in your
voice how proud and supportive you are of them. Thank you in particular
for the kind words and for your continued support.
Here's, an update on the prizes: Our first drawing for the schools
and youth groups will be held this coming Thursday, February 21.
(Everyone can play at this time, but the first drawings will be for the
schools and youth groups.)
More specifically, on Thursday we'll be drawing a winner for each of
chapters one through four. So, to qualify for any or all of theses
drawings, you will have to have entered as a school or a youth group,
and you will need to have submitted the correct answer for one or more
of these four chapters by 11:59pm on February 21, 2008.
For each chapter, the prize is a $1,000 gift certificate. For the prizes and prize schedule, see www.thanksusa.org/main/public/hunt/prizes.html.
Now about direct support for military families: ThanksUSA has begun
the Treasure the Troops Scholarship Program campaign, a multifront
drive to raise money to support the 2008 Scholarship Program for the
spouses and children of active-duty military personnel. This year our
goal is to award 500 scholarships, each worth $3,000, for a total of
$1,500,000. To reach that goal, we hope we can count on your generous
For now, we'll close with a message that makes very clear how your
help is appreciated. ROBERT JOHNSTON is one of our 2006 scholarship
recipients and he recently spoke at a fundraiser in New York. Here's
what he said...
First off I'd like to say thank you to the Okun family for giving me
the opportunity to speak in front of such a prestigious audience. I'd
like to tell you all a little bit about who I am, how the ThanksUSA
organization has helped me and where I'm going in the future.
My name is Robert Johnston; I am a senior aeronautical engineering
student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY. My home town is
Plattsburgh NY, I'm the oldest child in a family of five, I have one
younger brother age 20 and one younger sister age 8. Some of my hobbies
are Judo, Snowboarding and classic car restoration. I spend the rest of
my free time furthering my education as a cadet in the Air Force ROTC
When I started college my family had been going through some large
changes. On September 11th my father lost 200 of his fellow co-workers
when the twin towers collapsed. Having served 10 years in the Air Force
himself and experiencing the shock of that horrific day he decided he
needed to take what ever action he could to protect his family and our
great country. He lost 70 lbs and enlisted at his former rank of Staff
Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve, he was activated in February of 2002
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and has been on active status
ever since. He gave up his position as a sales trainer at Combined Life
Insurance, which he had worked 15 years to achieve and took a
significant pay cut to remain on active status. Since he's been active
he has been promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant but my family
continues to live at a lower income then we would have, had he remained
At the same time my father was preparing to join the reserves my
mother was still working part time so she could raise my sister. We
were living in Rhode Island at the time and soon moved back to my
mother's home town of Plattsburgh. As my high school graduation
approached in 2004 I began to look into technical colleges as I've
always been good at science and math.
As I noted I come from a family with limited income, my brother is
now attending college and my sister is still in elementary school. I've
received numerous scholarships and aid from many organizations to help
me get through school. But I can say hands-down that without the help
from amazing people like the Okun family I would not have been able to
receive the quality education, from my family to your's THANK YOU.
As I mentioned I've been an Air Force ROTC student at RPI for the
last four years. In May I will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in
the USAF and will pursue a career as an Air Force pilot. For much of my
life I've dreamed of being a pilot but it never really started to
become a reality until I made the decision to join the ROTC. I
sincerely hope to be able to use my education as an Aeronautical
Engineer to secure myself a job at Test Pilot School some time during
my career. And who knows, as incredible as it may seem you may be
looking at a future Astronaut.
From where I stand my future is bright. I'm anxiously awaiting my
graduation date and looking forward to following in the footsteps of my
father, and his father in service of this great nation. I again have to
say that I am over-whelmed to have received this unique opportunity to
thank some of the people who have helped me reach the place I am today.
It is my sincere hope that the ThanksUSA program will continue to
prosper and provide the needed support to other students like me. Thank
you does not sum up the gratitude that my family and I owe to the Okun
family but I can't say it enough, thank you for what your company has
done, thank you for having me here today and thank you for your
continuing support of higher level education.