hero fleecePHOTO: First Lady Mary Pat Christie congratulates the 2013-2014 New Jersey Heroes Heart of a Hero Scholarship recipient US Airforce Senior Airman Meredith Fleece of Belmar.

Trenton, NJ – Broadening the Christie Administration’s strong commitment to New Jersey’s veterans, First Lady Mary Pat Christie announced recently that Monmouth County resident US Senior Airman Meredith Fleece is among ten recipients of the second annual New Jersey Heroes Heart of a Hero Scholarship. Each awardee will receive a $5,000 scholarship award to help pursue a post-secondary education or vocational training. In June, Walmart continued its support of the program by donating $50,000 to assist New Jersey’s military service members make their higher education and career goals a reality.

“Our courageous military servicemembers and veterans have sacrificed so much to protect freedom and democracy,” said Mrs. Christie. “I’m honored that through our partnership with Walmart, New Jersey Heroes is once again able to provide Heart of a Hero educational scholarships to these ten deserving servicemen and women to pursue their desired career paths. The Governor and I offer our congratulations and heartfelt thanks for their commitment and service to our state and nation.”

The Monmouth County Heart of a Hero recipient is:

  • Senior Airman Meredith Fleece, US Airforce (31), Belmar: After losing her brother to leukemia, Meredith became involved in the fight against cancer through Relay for Life. More recently, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, she worked with Family Promise of Monmouth County, helping families affected by the storm. A senior at Monmouth University, Meredith is pursuing a career in social work with the military population.

"Walmart is proud to join First Lady Mary Pat Christie in support of the New Jersey Heroes Heart of a Hero Scholarship Program," said Amy Corso, Director of Operations for Walmart Stores of Metro New York. "At Walmart, we recognize the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans and are committed to preparing them for successful professional lives both during and after their service in the military."

For last year’s recipients, the Heart of a Hero Scholarship is helping to attain educational and career goals, including  the completion of a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing degree in Marketing and providing assistance in alleviating financial burdens such as tuition fees, books, and graduate school applications.

To be considered for the  Heart of a Hero Scholarship, applicants were required to meet several program criteria: 1) be a United States citizen and New Jersey resident;  2) be a high school graduate or have a high school equivalency diploma (GED); 3) served in the military; 4) submit a letter stating goals and how the scholarship will be used; 5)  enroll as a student at an accredited college/university or a vocational training school in pursuit of a degree for the 2013-14 school year; 6) demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism and community contribution, in the spirit of New Jersey Heroes.

New Jersey Heroes is an initiative of First Lady Mary Pat Christie that showcases the positive and unique ways people and organizations are impacting New Jersey and their communities. To nominate a hero, go to newjerseyheroes.org and follow the application instructions to submit the person you believe is a true New Jersey Hero.