Two Missouri Western students have been honored with college scholarships due to the ultimate sacrifice of their father.
Taylor and Landry Collins received the recognition from Heroes United, a non-profit organization that promotes events and educational opportunities for surviviors of fallen servicemen and women.
The father of Taylor, a 22-year-old senior, and Landry, a 20 year-old sophomre, Army Sgt. First Class Gary Collins, died in 2003 while serving in Iraq. Now, his two girls are learning how to become young adults without a father's guidance.
"People expect you to do so much stuff. We have school and we have to work and we have to live our lives," said Landry, who is majoring in nursing.
However, their lives have gotten a little easier due to the scholarships thanks to the Gold Star Memorial Scholarships.
On Saturday, they were recognized at halftime of the Missouri Western home football game.
The help couldn't have come at a better time.
"I was in a panic," Landry said. "What was I going to do? How am I going to pay for my last two semesters of college."
The university was more than happy to coordinate the award.
"I was unaware that they were a Gold Star family," said Kim Weddle, the university's director of development. "They are Griffons already and it's a great way for us to give back and help them with their education."
Taylor and Landry also earned notice from the Kansas City Chiefs. They also were part of a pregame ceremony honoring veterans and their families at Arrowhead Stadium in advance of a Monday Night Football game.
The sisters said it was an experience to remember.
"To see our pictures on the big screen and us up there and everybody," Landry said.
For their mother, Kassie, being a single parent has been hard. However, she says she's proud of the two young women her daughters have become.
"To see what they've accomplished and how far they've come for what could have been, I'm beyond words," she said.
Taylor and Landry say they are just as proud of their father, who through his service in the past is still helping his family today.
"I know if he were here and he would have known that you guys were still supporting his three supporting family, he'd be so appreciative," Landry said.
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