By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Twenty-five Sailors and family members were presented Reagan Legacy Foundation scholarships during an all-hands ceremony aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), March 15.
Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan, presented the scholarships on behalf of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which annually awards $1,000 scholarships to eligible Sailors and family members of those who serve aboard America’s Flagship.
“Thank you so much for your service,” said Reagan. “I will be back again in Japan every year to give out more scholarships. The scholarship program is available to family members also, because they serve as much as you [military members] serve. They are at home fighting the battle as you’re at sea fighting the battle. So, thanks to the family members, all your families, for their service to this great country of ours also. Thank you for what you do and thank you for serving aboard USS Ronald Reagan, the finest craft in the United States Navy bar none.”
Michael Reagan is the founder and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the causes Ronald Reagan began and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency. The organization also leads a global initiative to educate youth about the former president’s role in the fall of communism and the spread of democracy throughout the world. Projects include a permanent Reagan exhibit in Berlin, as well as the Liberty Education Tours, a student program offering future leaders education in the principles of liberty as they study the words and actions of Reagan and other world leaders while visiting sites significant in the history of freedom worldwide.
Following the awards presentation, Capt. Chris Bolt, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer, expressed his appreciation for the continued support from the Reagan family and the Reagan Legacy Foundation.
“For the crew of the greatest warship ever made in the history of the world, you can see how special we are. Across all ranks, across all families, all departments, we have a group of great Americans gathered here today,” said Bolt. “It is sincerely heartfelt to be remembered. To promote not only the legacy of the president, but just the fact that you [Michael Reagan] would make the continued effort to support us to raise the money for these scholarships for our Sailors and their dependents is fabulous.”
Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Enoch Kasunmu, a scholarship recipient from Columbus, Ohio, said he applied for the scholarship not only to help pay for education costs, but to set an example for junior Sailors.
“I feel blessed, greatful and humbled,” said Kasunmu. “Everyone can use some extra funds for school, but I also wanted to be a role model for those Sailors who may not have the courage to take a chance. This just shows that hard work and dedication pay off in the long run.”
Selection is based on the criteria of academic achievement or demonstrated commitment to future academic performance, proven leadership and extracurricular activities. Applicants are also required to provide a brief written essay on former President Ronald Reagan.
The foundation also supports outside institutions and other non-profit organizations that conduct education and research on the presidency of Reagan, such as the Young America’s Foundation, Reagan Ranch Project, and the Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program and Museum at Eurkea College, Reagan’s alma mater.