The Our Family for Families First Foundation awarded more than a half million dollars in grants and scholarships on Thursday.
The foundation is a division of Picerne Military Housing.
From building houses for military personnel, to building families, the Our Family for Families First Foundation provides grants and scholarships to military spouses and children who want to pursue higher education.
On Thursday, four recipients met with founders John Picerne and Maria Montalvo.
"You know it's like every little sister, every little brother you just [love] every single one of them. You go out there and get emotionally invested because you know they're about to start and it's just one of the best feelings in the world," Montalvo said.
Megan Stockhausen will take her scholarship on the road to Clemson, and relived the moment she learned her education was taken care of. "Actually, it was the night of prom, and my mom was like you got the $40,000 dollar scholarship and I was jumping up and down."
As a daughter of a Picerne Employee, Meredith Pringle wasn't sure if she'd be the first to qualify for the scholarship.
"I was truly surprised,” Pringle said. “I was coming home from school and the lights were off. They turned on the lights and there were balloons and cake and everything; I was completely shocked. I was very stunned and very exited.”
Grant recipients Erica White and Maria Hoffman are spouses of current servicemen.
Hoffman, a mother of three knows nursing school is now a reality. "[It] makes it possible for me to go to school. I literally got accepted, but was like I can't accept it and get into it before I have a scholarship because my school is paid for. But child care is twice the cost of nursing school.”
"I drive an Expedition and it costs a ton of gas,” White said. “It just helps with everything and my tuition so I’m really grateful."
Over the history of the program, foundation has awarded 33 scholarships and more than 50 grants to the military and their family members.