Life can change in an instant and that’s just what happened on June 9, 2010 when a helicopter, call sign Pedro 66, was shot down by enemy fire in Afghanistan. Captain Anthony Simone, mission co-pilot, suffered life-changing injuries that day when he and his crew attempted to accomplish a combat search and rescue mission. The search and rescue community rallied gifts of encouragement and support worldwide as he endured multiple surgeries and painful therapeutic recovery. And now, as he prepares to retire from active duty service, he is about to receive another gift, this time for his children.
According to Jim “Yogi” McElhenney, Executive Director for That Others May Live Foundation, “Normally, when a member of the military is killed in action, their surviving children are eligible for post-secondary educational benefits. But simply because Captain Simone miraculously survived such a traumatic incident, his children cannot benefit from those other death benefits. So, the board of directors of That Others May Live Foundation voted unanimously to bring the Simone children into their fold of post-secondary scholarship assistance when they become of age.”
That Others May Live Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization that provides critical support, scholarships, and immediate tragedy assistance for the families of United States Air Force Rescue Heroes who are killed or severely wounded in operational or training missions. The Foundation provided the families of Simone’s mission aircraft, “Pedro 66” with immediate tragedy assistance as well as continuing to administer a scholarship in the name of one of the fallen, TSgt Michael P. Flores. In all, there were five brave rescue heroes lost that day while Captain Simone and MSgt Christopher Aguilera, the aircraft aerial gunner, were the only survivors.
The Foundation announced the scholarship awards pledge to the Simone family on the occasion of his retirement on Friday, January 18, 2013 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Lt Col Tom Dorl, Simone’s commanding officer at the time of Pedro 66, officiated the retirement.
For more information about the TOML-Foundation, news and events, please contact Laura Lerdall, Deputy Executive Director for Operations at 229-563-3549 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.thatothersmaylive.org