“I hope that I can keep my dad's words of wisdom with me forever; that I remember the lessons he taught me, and the most important one being after his death: that you hold your head high and you love, unconditionally.”
Amy Belisle is one of three remarkable young women who have been awarded the Coast Guard Foundation’s 2015 Fallen Heroes Scholarship, a fund established to support the higher education needs of families whose loved one dies in the line of duty.
Amy’s father, Richard Belisle, was a retired Chief Petty Officer who was working as a civilian employee when he was killed in April 2012. Today, Amy is hopeful for her future, as she builds her dream home in Kodiak with her partner and is excited about furthering her education at Colorado Christian University studying Healthcare Administration.
“Being awarded this scholarship is beyond words,” she said. “I can’t believe it!”
After struggling with the decision to go to school or not due to the financial burden of college, it just wasn’t in her budget to pursue further education at this point. But thanks to the 2015 Fallen Heroes Scholarship, which will cover 100 percent of her education costs, the thought of being able to now follow her dream and “feel more accomplished is just amazing.”
"I was young in this picture - boating on the Nantucket! I was his 'Boats' or his 'Boatswain Mate' which is what he was in the Coast Guard and loved it."
After the loss of her father, Amy remembers the Coast Guard family coming together to support her family, and the ‘you are not forgotten’ feeling when Base Kodiak united to honor her father one last time.
“When my family drove on base to watch the plane carry my father to Anchorage to be cremated, the streets were lined with service men and women in their dress blues standing at attention,” she recalls. “Fire trucks with flags created an archway for us as we drove by… my father would have been so humbled by the sight. I will never forget that honor.”
"Here is my Dad climbing in his job as a civilian employee - he was a rigger and fixed communication towers. He loved to climb and used to rock climb and mountain climb when he was younger. I always wanted to rock climb in Yosemite National Park together."
Amy’s favorite memories of her dad all involve them spending a normal evening together: returning home from horse riding or four wheeling with friends to the smell of her dad’s “amazing” spaghetti on the stove, the sound of Frank Sinatra echoing throughout the house and the two of them dancing together in the living room.
“I dream that I can live a life as exciting as he did, and see all the wonderful places he did,” she said. “I hope that I can keep his words of wisdom with me forever; that I remember the lessons he taught me, and the most important one being after his death: that you hold your head high and you love, unconditionally.”
“I had made the commitment to myself to fulfill my dreams of becoming a nurse after Nathan passed away, but it would have been a huge financial burden for me as a single mom.”