EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – Continuing an American soldier, who died serving in Afghanistan, students from up and down the west coast are gathering in Eugene this weekend as part of a summit through the “Pat Tillman Foundation.”
Corporal Pat Tillman's story is one many people know from the war in Afghanistan. Tillman left his role as a professional football player in the NFL to become a U.S. Army Corporal following the September 11th attacks.
Tillman died when he was killed in a friendly fire incident in April 2004.
That same year, the “Pat Tillman Foundation” started up with a goal of helping veterans with education and helping the community.
This weekend of February 17th – 19th, 2012, members are hoping to increase the foundation's presence in Oregon.
More recently, the foundation started a "military scholars" program, giving university scholarships to service members and their families.
There are 7 "Tillman Scholars" in Oregon and 171 across the United States. Many from around the west coast are taking part in this weekend's summit at the University of Oregon, where members will make bonds and learn about leadership.
“Provide them an opportunity to lead, we want to elevate them. They're all amazing individuals, but we want to elevate them to the next level where they can make an impact both on campus and then when they graduate in their careers,” says Hunter Riley, Director of Programs at the Pat Tillman Foundation.
A veteran marine corps sergeant, Robin Williams from San Diego is one of the Tillman Scholars taking part in the conference this weekend.
Williams is earning a PHD in audiology and hopes to work for the VA in the future.
"I feel like it kind of gives me a good example of what i strive for, in terms of service, back to the community,” says Williams.
“Keep serving that population, the veteran population, not just the operation iraqi freedom or enduring freedom but, vietnam veterans, the world war ii veterans and then the people who still continue to serve our country,” says Williams.
On Sunday, Tillman Scholars in Eugene will give back to Eugene. The group is teaming up with St. Vincent de Paul for a community service project at "Oakwood Manor." Scholars will be painting some apartment rooms and bark mulching a playground.
If you're interested in helping the Pat Tillman Foundation, visit the group's website at the following link: http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org/.