Dedham Resident Receives Scholarship Through Maine Air National Guard Service.
AUGUSTA, ME (04/10/2021) (readMedia)-- Airman 1st Class Madison Drake, of Dedham, Maine, was named the recipient of the Master Sgt. Nunzio Biondello Scholarship Award last month. Drake, a 2019 graduate of Bangor High School, is a member of the Maine Air National Guard's 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor, where she is a Materials Management Specialist in the Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Drake, daughter of Kelly and Brent Drake, is a student at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. She enlisted in the Maine Air National Guard in 2018 as a high school senior. She is pursuing her degree in Aeronautical Science and hopes to fly KC-135 refueling aircraft for the Wing.
There were twelve applicants for this year's scholarship. Applicants were required to provide proof of enrollment at an accredited institute of higher learning, be a member or dependent of a member of the Maine Air National Guard, and provide an essay on what the word "Veteran" means to the applicant.
"A veteran can resemble numerous amounts of individuals that have sacrificed their time or even their lives to serve our country," Drake explains in her essay. "My great grandfather served in World War II, both of my grandfathers served in the Vietnam war, and my father joined the Marines straight out of high school and now serves in the Air National Guard where I serve right beside him. Seeing and growing up with these individuals, I can assure you that a veteran is a person that is willing to sacrifice many hours, days, and months to protect the people and the country that they love."
Scholarship recipients are selected by the Chiefs Council Scholarship Committee, composed of the senior enlisted leaders within the Maine Air National Guard. It is made available through the Master Sgt. Nunzio Biondello Trust. Biondello, a WWII and Korean War veteran and retiree of the Maine Air National Guard, was a radio operator on a Navy landing craft transport on D-Day at Omaha Beach. He retired from the Wing in Bangor in 1984.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, there was no formal presentation of the award to Drake. Instead, Chief Master Sgt. Douglas Brazz, called Drake to notify her of the selection.
"It is imperative for us to continue supporting our Maine Air National Guard members during the pandemic," said Brazz, Chair of the Chiefs Council Scholarship Committee. "This scholarship is so very important to both the applicants and Nunzio that we really didn't want to postpone this because of COVID and we had many great applicants who made this year's selection difficult."