Zander Insurance Recipient

Natalee Reis

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: East Tennessee State University
When I was three, I lost my father to suicide. As I lay sleeping one July morning, I heard a “boom”, opened the bedroom door, and there he was, my father. A gunshot wound to the head. The images are forever embedded in my mind. My mother quickly shut the door and started screaming. I could have never imagined what would be in store for me because of his death. The sequence of events would soon unfold. Many hardships, heartache, but finally acceptance and understanding.
My mother was a stay-at-home mom at the time of my father’s death. The lack of adequate life insurance was felt enormously. Any money my mother had from life insurance was fast depleted on our basic needs. If my parents would have only planned better for the moments that are so uncomfortable to imagine. Death. We soon lost everything, including our home.
Not only was our family was suffering so many financial challenges from not having enough life insurance, my mother, my only parent left, began deteriorating at a rapid pace, mentally, before my very eyes. I was a helpless little girl. I was confused. I was sad.
My brother and I were soon shuffled around from family member to family member. My mother’s absence was greatly felt. She was suffering from PTSD. The flashbacks of my father were intense for me, I could not imagine what my mother saw that morning. She was in and out of therapy for the next 12 years. I remember many times doing normal things with my mom and then waking up the next morning only to find her on the floor of the hallway crying and screaming. Her nightmares became my nightmares. Her problems became my problems. Its really like I lost both of my parents when my father committed suicide. I started working when I was fifteen to help my family.
Today I am happy to say that all those open wounds are now closed. I will get my degree and I will be able to provide for myself. I am driven to educate myself with every humble experience life has shown me. My life may have turned out differently if my parents had more life insurance. I won’t have those regrets.
I have overcome many obstacles in my life. I am grateful my nightmares of that July morning are over. I understand the importance of planning life and preparing for the unthinkable. One day I will make sure I leave my children enough life insurance so they can survive without facing the hardships I now face pursuing my bachelor’s degree.
I know education is the key to unlocking my future. That’s why I am writing this today, sharing my story. I am currently a freshman at ETSU. I am a nursing major. If I am awarded this scholarship, I would be forever grateful as it would help relieve the financial pressures I face while pursuing my goal. Thank you for taking time to consider my application.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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