March 4, 2008 - While skimming through GX Magazine, Staff Sgt. Tyler Heleine said he was intrigued when he read that Grantham University teamed up with the National Guard publication to offer a four-year scholarship to one National Guard Soldier per state in the United States.
His interest led him to Grantham University's Web site for more information about both the scholarship and the school. Within 10 minutes, Heleine, of the 1544th Transportation Company in Paris, completed a 1,000 word essay explaining why he deserved the scholarship.
"It was easy for me because I know what my goals are and why I want to get an education," he said.
Heleine, who lives in Charleston and grew up in Casey, Ill., is the first person in his family to strive for a college education. He said he has pride in his family, especially his mother, who raised him and his two sisters as a single mother. Although Heleine does not have children, he said his pride and joy is his 6-year-old niece Julena June Price.
Heleine currently works in law enforcement and hopes to attain a college degree in that field. He began law enforcement studies at Lakeland College in Mattoon and plans to earn a bachelor's degree online in law enforcement from Grantham University. He said working in that field is something he has always wanted to do, which ultimately goes hand-in-hand with his military career.
Heleine said it was obvious to him that Grantham goes the "extra mile" for military personnel.
In 1951 Grantham University began offering certification courses to veterans and has continued to offer their services to members of the U.S. Armed Forces today.
"Ever since then, meeting the educational needs of the military community has been central to our mission," said Johanna Altland, Director of Communications at Grantham University. "Service members make sacrifices each and every day for our country."
Since winning the scholarship, Heleine said he is even more impressed with how much the university has taken care of him and ensured he is on the right path to success.
Heleine's advisor at Grantham University said she has no doubt he will achieve success.
"He appreciates the scholarship that he won and is working diligently to complete his course," said Tanisha Washington, Admissions Representative and Heleine's advisor at Grantham University. "He has set high expectations for himself, which keeps him motivated to do well."
Along with his education, Heleine hasn't lost focus on his other career as an Illinois Army National Guard soldier. He deployed with the Paris unit in December 2003 and said his first love is the National Guard.
"I love leading soldiers," he said. "I know how important it was to me as a younger soldier to have veterans and experienced soldiers when we deployed to Iraq. Now I am one of those experienced soldiers."