Salutations Sentinels of Freedom Staff and Donors,
On this occasion of my graduation from the University of Texas at El Paso, I would like to express my gratitude for the gracious support you have given me for the past two years while pursuing my education goals. On May 18th, 2019 I walked across the stage at UTEP in front of my friends and family earning a Master’s of Science degree in Intelligence and National Security Studies. This day marked the culmination of my educational endeavors. In 2013 upon leaving the Army I began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international studies at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston Texas. In 2016 when I earned my bachelor’s degree, I struggled to find meaningful employment in my field eventually having to take work as a security guard in order to make ends meet. My transition from the military to the civilian workforce was made more difficult because the military experience didn’t directly translate to the international affairs field in which I desired to work in. Hoping to make myself more employable I decided to pursue a master’s degree. Around the same time, a veteran former classmate of mine told me about sentinels of freedom, a chance conversation that would immensely change my life for the better.
Throughout the course of my graduate program, SOF helped my family both financially and emotionally as well. I can’t say enough about how comforting it is knowing that you have such a stellar group of individuals in your corner as the counselors and staff at sentinels of freedom. I will forever be grateful for their understanding when I had to take an extra semester to complete my degree because my wife became ill with tuberculosis. This extra time enabled me to reduce my course load so that I could focus on supporting my wife through her illness. This is just a small example of the support Sentinels of Freedom provided my family. Perhaps the most impactful contribution made to me by Sentinels was the monthly housing stipend. This enabled me to focus 100% on my graduate program without having to experience the financial strains that I experienced during my undergrad years. This stipend was especially helpful when my wife was unable to work due to her illness.
Now that I have graduated, I hope to work in the private sector for a year while I pursue work in the intelligence community of the federal government. This will enable me to pursue my desire of continuing to serve my country. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Sentinels of Freedom and the donors who have supported my education and the education of other disabled veterans like me. Thank you for the confidence you have placed in us and for helping us to achieve our educational goals.
With Respect and Gratitude,
Durrell Marquez Green