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Bryent Smothermon PTSD Awareness Scholarship

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
May 14, 2025
Winners Announced
Jun 14, 2025
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Military veteran or child of a military veteran

In 2021, the world lost a selfless, kind, and thoughtful son, grandson, brother, nephew, cousin, and best friend when Bryent Smothermon passed away.

Born on Flag Day, his love of the military, country, and the sense of comradery he felt led Bryent to have an accomplished career in the military before he left this world too early. 

Bryent, or as his close friends and family would call him B or Smo, was the life of the party. He was a fierce protector of those closest to him, a miracle worker with kids, an animal lover, a gentle soul, and most of all was behind many laughs and happy times. He was always focused on ensuring everyone around him was having a good time and laughing. Bryent had strong values, lifelong friendships, and great memories that were created in his short time on earth. 

To honor his legacy, the Bryent Smothermon PTSD Awareness Scholarship exists to support military veterans and their children and spouses who have suffered from PTSD due to their service. All military vets, military spouses, and children of military vets currently in school are eligible. 

To apply, please write about how your experience with military service-related PTSD has affected you. Please also discuss how you hope to use your experience to help other veterans who are currently suffering from PTSD.  Preference will be given to applicants who tell their story from their perspective vs. utilizing AI.

Selection Criteria:
Essay, Veteran, PTSD, Ambition
Published June 14, 2024
Essay Topic

What have you learned about yourself or the world around you through your experiences with service-related PTSD? How do you hope to use your experience to help other veterans who are currently suffering from PTSD?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Noelle King
McNeese State UniversityRAGLEY, LA
michael howe
Bellevue UniversityBurlington, IA
Upon retiring from the US Army in 2014 I found my transition to the civilian lifestyle to be extremely difficult and a near-impossible adjustment. What I failed to accept was the fact that I had PTSD and other mental health issues. Instead of accepting these medical conditions and seeking help, I leaned on alcohol to temporarily take away the pain. I faced many dark nights where I contemplated ending my life to escape reality and the numbness of everyday life. In September 2019 I found myself intoxicated and blacked out at a house party where a shooting homicide occurred. I was within arms reach of the man who was shot and suffering from a sucking chest wound. Upon hearing the gunshots my consciousness returned and I was back to reality except there was now a man dying at my feet. I attempted to apply pressure to his wound and apply CPR however, the man succumbed to his injuries and died a short time later. Following this traumatic event, my PTSD took over my life and altered my everyday reality. I finally decided that I needed to seek help if I wanted to regain control of my life and live it with any sense of comfort. Since that night I have been sober and receiving help for my PTSD regularly. In making these necessary changes my life has taken a complete 360-degree turn for the better and I like the person that I have begun. I have maintained regular employment at the management level in manufacturing plants since 2017 while going back to school. In 2020 I decided to further my education and went back to school for my Master's degree in Homeland Security with a concentration in emergency management. In 2021 and 2022 I found myself advocating regularly for PTSD awareness and other invisible wounds. More and more often I found others confiding in me for help as they had seen the changes that I had made and how drastically my life had changed. At the end of 2022, I started up "Change Your Perspective LLC" ( a life coaching LLC). Following the start of this life coaching venture I began looking at going back to school for Mental Health Counseling as I feel that it is my calling. In December 2022 I submitted my admissions packet to Bellevue University to enroll in their MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. I plan to complete this degree and become an LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) working primarily with soldiers who suffer from PTSD and other invisible wounds. I feel with my background and living what I have lived through it will give me the necessary tools to make a difference in many people's lives.
Steven Braxton
University of PhoenixWELLFORD, SC
The shadow of war has made a signature in my mind with loud cannon fire and rocket explosions. It should be known that South Carolina, especially my area in Spartanburg, loves fireworks. I black out sometimes with my wife holding me as I sob in tears. Many said that an Air Force Master Sergeant should have never been embedded with the U.S. Marines. Yet, I served with greatest group of men I could ever be assigned with. War is indeed hell, but I survived and scarred more inside than out. But I still wasn’t done with dreams and goals. I was located at Camp BlackHorse, as an Air Force Administrator for a Marine Detachment from December 2009 to June 2010. It seemed I was always trudging uphill on a daily basis to the Afghan Army encampment. At times, it reminded me of the old television series M.A.S.H. But I did my duty and met my Afghan counterparts. One morning, our camp was hit by a RPG that had a timer. Chaos is what comes to mind. I distinctly remember Gunny yelling at me to get my gear and get out to the bunker. Men and women soldiers scrambling to get cover and me doing roll call to ensure my Marines were accounted for. I had to bury the fear because I had a job to do. Nobody can really understand unless you are there that someone wants you dead every day. We lost 4 in a week. I was assigned to a special duty at FOB Airborne for about two months to assist with administrative duties. On the first day in the FOB, I witnessed the DFAC tent. As sat down at the table, I heard a large BOOM! Then, another and another after that! It shook the tent to the poles. I noticed, nobody moved and continued eating. Everything in me told me to dive under the table. My Gunny looked and me and smiled. Everyone looked plastic, as dust came under the tent into the DFAC. I literally was puzzled on why nobody was running for cover. Gunny said to me plainly, “Its outgoing Braxton. Finish your food. Relax.” We had more outgoing night fire that literally went on for several days while I stationed there. One morning, the Major told me we had incoming close to our connex. He decided not to say anything to me because if the rocket came through the roof, we would die anyway. I have live with that. You can’t unstop being terrified in war. You just bury it. Deep. It scars you as much a bullet hole. People sometimes just can’t see what I carry. Now, through my educational goals, I want to help our Veterans. Those who can’t shake what they experienced. Educate and help them. Some are worse than others, but I want them to know I’m here. I was told by my a therapist at the VA while my wife was sitting right next to me, “Why don’t I just forget about it.” This told me I need continue my goals to be a leader of education. To use that power to help those whose PTSD is pure demon. I get it. And there are many times I feel survivor’s remorse to make it out alive. Avoiding IEDs, Afghan spy army soldiers, terrorists, incoming bombs, and snipers off the ridges of Jalalabad Pass. I still hate sounds of fireworks, but I love the colors. I’m home and I want to do something with the Doctorate I’m pursuing. Serving my veterans is the perfect honor and salute.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 14, 2025. Winners will be announced on Jun 14, 2025.