Audrey Gill is a recipient of the Coast Guard Foundation's Fallen Heroes Scholarship. Audrey's father, AM1 Michael Gill, was killed while flying a rescue mission in California. She is entering her second year of college at the University of Georgia, in Lawrenceville. Audrey graduated in December of 2013, a full semester early.
She said her scholarship, which she was not expecting to get, is "definitely helpful — college is expensive and it's getting more expensive."
Audrey Gill being held as a baby by her father Michael.
Audrey, who received a $20,000 scholarship that will be disbursed over four years, was just three years old when her father died, so her memories of him have been mostly passed down from her mother, Donna. However, Audrey has letters from her dad that she reads often, as well as pictures and stories from her father's friends to help keep his memory alive. One of her most prized possessions is a wooden rocking horse that her father made "completely from scratch" as a Christmas gift for her.
"My dad was a car person, a mechanic. He was always fixing everything around the house, but I didn't get that gene," Audrey joked.
Audrey said she is honored to be the recipient of the award in her father's memory.
"It's a really big honor that my dad served in the Coast Guard," she said. "He's my hero."