COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
sergeant. Johanny Rosario Pichardo illustrated the expression “service and sacrifice” until the end. Pichardo was an online student at Columbia College who gave her life serving in the Marines.
The Veterans United Foundation has endowed Columbia College with $50,000 to start a scholarship in its name. The scholarship was announced at spring graduation ceremonies when Pichardo’s mother and sister accepted his posthumous degree in social services.
Pichardo was one of 13 Americans who lost their lives in the August 2021 Kabul airport suicide bombing. His body was returned to his family on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the event that triggered US involvement in the war in which Pichardo ultimately died.
The scholarship has not yet been presented. Half of the $50,000 will be awarded to up to 10 students in 2023. The other $25,000 will endow the scholarship for future years.
Rob Boone, associate vice president of the College of Military at Columbia College, said when he and other staff heard Pichardo’s story, they knew they had to do something to commemorate it.
“We understand the sacrifices those who serve our military make, but when someone makes the ultimate sacrifice like she did, we want to make sure we honor them and their legacy lives on because that’s the good thing to do,” Boone said. .
A picture of Pichardo hangs proudly in the Columbia College military building to remind all who enter of his sacrifice and the sacrifice of many others.
“You know, his mom basically said, ‘Please don’t let his memory go,'” Boone said. “And I said, ‘Well, she’s now holy forever in the house here.’ Anyone who walks up these stairs and she is the picture of Sergeant Rosario Pichardo will ask this question, whoever gets their scholarship, we will let them know of their sacrifice and who she was.
With 47% of its students tied to the military, Columbia College ranks third in its class for being the most military-friendly.