It has already been 15 years since the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing, which destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building on April 19, 1995.
According to the Associated Press, more than 200 children had parents killed or disabled when an anti-government conspirator’s truck bomb launched the largest domestic-incurred terrorist attack in the country’s history.
In an effort to remember and honor the victims that were killed on that day, and to provide support for those children whose parents died in the attack, administrators of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation created a scholarship program for the children affected by tragedy. To date, the foundation has provided almost $6 million for tuition, housing and other educational costs.
From that funding, about two-thirds of the children, who have since become adults, have gone to college or another continuing education program. Some have even completed graduate school and received their doctorate degrees.
Kyle Loudenslager is a veterinarian with a degree from Ohio State University. His father was a general services administration employee who perished in the attack. Without the Oklahoma City scholarship program, his career may not have taken the trajectory it did.
“It’s not that I couldn’t have done it. It’s just that I wouldn’t have done it. They gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do.”
After the attack, social workers and case workers worked tirelessly to provide much needed support to the children and families affected by the bombing. To this day, many mental health workers still keep in contact with the victims to provide additional support when needed and just simply to check in.
“It was not about distributing money,” said Nancy B. Anthony, executive director of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “It was about how to help people restore their lives.”
And the scholarship program is doing just that.