US Army Veteran Rob ClinedinstUS Army Veteran Sgt ES Rob Clinedinst was about to rule out the opportunity to get his EMT certification—a valuable stepping stone on the way to a nursing degree— because he refused to bring on debt his family budget couldn’t bear. 

Another $1,295 in tuition fees just wasn’t feasible for Clinedinst. He was already a full-time student who had exhausted as many scholarship avenues as he could find to obtain his Associate’s Degree from Tri-County Technical College while helping to support his family. In addition, he was saving and planning so that, with financial help from the GI Bill and FAFSA, he could attend Anderson University’s nursing program.

When he found Ron Demonet’s card while rummaging through his book bag, Clinedinst realized he may have the answer in his hands. He remembered meeting Ron at a Get Connected event at Tri-County Anderson’s campus the year prior. Rob remembered that Demonet had been working on a scholarship fund to cover certificate programs, so he gave him a call. The resulting conversation put Clinedinst back on course to pursue his Emergency Medical Training (EMT) certification.

Clinedinst applied for the scholarship and was approved. VSF covered the tuition cost and Tri-County’s Foundation covered the $170 book fee.

“After earning my EMT certification, I plan to work for an ambulance service to obtain experience and skills that will help in the future.  It will be a great foundation for my career,” says Clinedinst, whose goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Rob’s rich career history has led him to where he is today. He spent 11 years in the U. S. Army as an airborne military policeman and later an active reservist in the S.C. Army National Guard as a combat engineer with tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

After experiencing health issues resulting from being hit by roadside bombs and injuries to his chest and back, coupled with personal family losses, he made the decision to leave overseas and find work at home. Clinedinst went on to pursue similarly dynamic jobs, in which he sacrificed his own safety for that of others, spending a decade as a SC highway patrolman and three years as a private military contractor assigned to elite military units under the Special Operations Command.

At the age of 38, Clinedinst returned to school at Tri-County Technical College for a career change—career shift may be a better term, as his focus on service to others remains consistent.

“It’s been a debt-free education, thanks to Tri-County scholarships and now Veterans Scholarships Forever,” Clinedinst says.

We hope to see many more experience the same financial freedom!