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Professional organization supports Airmen and their families

Mary Grace Heustess (third from right), daughter of U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bo Heustess (second from right), from the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Aircraft Maintence Squadron's Weapons Section, receives a $2,000 scholarship check from Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Lawrence Crowson (far right), executive director for the National Guard Association of South Carolina, and from Chief Master Sgt. Dean Widener, S.C. State Command Chief, during a unit formation at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. Sept. 20, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

Mary Grace Heustess (third from right), daughter of U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bo Heustess (second from right), from the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Aircraft Maintence Squadron's Weapons Section, receives a $2,000 scholarship check from Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Lawrence Crowson (far right), executive director for the National Guard Association of South Carolina, and from Chief Master Sgt. Dean Widener, S.C. State Command Chief, during a unit formation at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. Sept. 20, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- The National Guard Association of South Carolina and the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States show its support to Airmen and their family members who are pursuing higher education goals during a check presentation ceremony, here Sept. 20.

A $2,000 scholarship check was presented to Mary Grace Heustess, a full-time sophomore at Clemson University, who is a pre-medicine student working toward a degree in Human Services.

Retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence Crowson, executive director for the NGASC, made the presentation to the Heustess family. Senior Master Sgt. Bo Heustess, an active member of the NGASC from the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's Weapons Section, sponsored his daughter for this honor.

Crowson said that each year only seven, $2,000 scholarships, named in honor of U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Virgil R. Williams, are awarded by EANGUS and Heustess was the number four recipient for 2015. Additionally 67 scholarships for full-time students, totaling more than $69,000, were awarded this year to South Carolina National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and their family members by the NGASC National Guard Foundation. Four of the scholarships were for $1,500 and the remaining scholarships were awarded for $1,000 each.

"These scholarships are for deserving, full-time students who are members or dependents of members, active or retired of the South Carolina National Guard. The sponsor must also be a current member of the association [NGASC]", said Crowson. "The scholarship program is the most untapped program we offer and I would like to see every eligible student apply."

Representing the SCANG leadership during the check presentation was Chief Master Sgt. Dean Widener, state command chief. He emphasized the importance of the scholarship program and made a special appeal for every Airman.

"Whether you belong to the Air Force Sergeant's Association, AFA (Air Force Association), NGASC or EANGUS, just to name a few, it is important that your voice be heard on the important issues that affect the military," said Widener.

Widener reminded everyone that the Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure [the little, brown book], requires every Airman to belong to a professional organization to enhance their development.

"We need increased membership in professional organizations so when our leadership and legislative group goes to the National Guard Bureau, they will be in a better position to lobby and in some cases demand what is needed to support our missions and people," said Crowson. "The days are gone where all you had to do was show up and be the best at your job and expect to receive new equipment or benefits."