Country Financial Recipient

Dylan Billhartz

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: Kaskasia College
Growing up, I was raised in a very happy home, even though my parents got divorced when I was just three years old. Regardless, both my father and mother are outstanding parents to my older sister and I and have always made sure we had what we needed to be successful in life, and even things we just flat out wanted as kids and then as teenagers. Unfortunately, in 2011, my father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is also known as ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which caused my father to grow progressively weaker to the point where he was unable to walk or have much use of his arms.

From 2011 until 2014, my uncle, my grandfather and my older sister became my father’s main caretakers, taking turns being there during the days and evenings to ensure he was taken care of. My sister and I spent much of our time at our dad’s house during these years, trying to make the most of the short time we knew we had with our dad. Although it was difficult emotionally and physically at times, helping my sister take care of our dad during that timeframe taught me a lot about myself, family and what it means. It really was incredible how we all were able to come together to make my dad’s final years of his life happy and for him to be able to continue living comfortably in his own home with our assistance.

Losing someone you love is extremely difficult, and it makes it that much harder to process when you’re only thirteen years old. My dad will always play a role in my life, from how I carry myself day-to-day to big decisions, such as my education and future goals. My dad has always been a positive role model for not only being a hard worker, but also for the way he treated others. I strive to one day be as successful as he was and to make him proud.

Growing up I was mainly raised by my mother and my older sister, due to our father getting sick and eventually passing away in 2014. Since then, our mother has worked multiple jobs in order to support my older sister and I. For example, she cleans houses for a living, and when she had to start supporting us on her own, she took on additional homes to make ends meet. Also on the weekends, she started working at the local Walmart. In addition, I started working to help out with any of my expenses. For example, during the summer, I help my uncle lay brick and stone on new home exteriors, fireplaces, patios, etc. During the school year, I started working at Rehkemper’s as a shop hand, doing odd jobs or whatever the shop owner needed done after school.

The lack of adequate life insurance coverage that my family received to cover our expenses has impacted my family immensely. Having a larger life insurance policy would have been extremely helpful to my family, for it could have replaced my father’s income when he died, rather than just pay the funeral costs and some of my parent’s debts. Life insurance policies are especially important for parents who have children or adults who would find it difficult to sustain their standard of living if they no longer had the income provide by their loved one. By investing in a life insurance policy, my parents could have also created an inheritance for my sister and I, which is a great way to plan for a solid financial future and provide for any monetary needs that arose. However, because of my mother’s strength and perseverance during such difficult emotional and financial times, she was still able to send my older sister to college with the help of FAFSA and scholarships. Regardless of my family’s financial situation, with my determination to succeed, I too, still plan to pursue my educational goals of an Associate’s Degree in General Studies then eventually a Bachelor’s Degree in CMIS.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

Pin It on Pinterest