First Blair Memorial Scholarship awarded
More than five years after Jonathan Blair’s death during a combat operation in Iraq, the scholarship established in his honor will help another veteran continue her education.
Sharon Beeler has been chosen as the first recipient of the Corporal Jonathan F. Blair Memorial Scholarship.
Ron and Cathy Kantorak established the scholarship fund for Indiana Tech students in 2008 as a way to honor the memory of Blair, who was Cathy Kantorak’s nephew. The family chose Indiana Tech for the fund because Ron Kantorak is a 1970 graduate of Indiana Tech.
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces or children of those who have died while serving.
Beeler served in the Army National Guard for four years. She enrolled at Indiana Tech in 2007 to pursue a degree in business administration – management. She will complete her associate degree this spring and then continue working toward her bachelor’s degree. “This scholarship means a lot to me,” Beeler said. "It makes me sad because someone died, but it means a lot that the family created it to ensure that he is remembered."
Blair, a graduate of Elmhurst High School in Fort Wayne, was 21 when he and three other soldiers from his Army unit were killed in an IED explosion. He was serving his second tour of duty in Iraq at the time.
Kantorak said that Blair was so affected by the terrorism of 9/11 that he enlisted in the Army right after high school in hopes of making the United States a safer place.
The Jonathan Blair Scholarship is an ongoing, endowed scholarship and the scholarship fund is open for contributions so that it can continue benefiting eligible student veterans at even greater levels.
Individuals, associations, and organizations who wish to contribute to the Corporal Jonathan F. Blair Memorial Scholarship Fund or who would like to know more about scholarships at Indiana Tech can contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 800.937.2448, ext. 2219.