Mother of dead soldier donates $25,000 to school

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Mother of dead soldier donates $25,000 to school,0,7639240.story
Mother of dead soldier donates $25,000 to school
Associated Press
8:25 a.m. CST, February 7, 2012
The mother of an Army soldier who committed suicide last year has donated $25,000 to help fund scholarships to an alternative school in northern Indiana where her son was a student.

Sherrie Lovely wants to help other families avoid the struggles her family endured trying to pay tuition, The Elkhart Truth and The Goshen News reported in stories published Tuesday.

When she found out she would receive money from the military following the death of her 20-year-old son, Michael, Lovely said she immediately thought of The Crossing.

"I wanted to make the donation because I really feel that it is something that would help other parents to be able to step out on faith and say `I know this is where my child belongs, but I can't afford to send my child,"' Lovely said.

The Crossing describes itself as a faith-based alternative school for students who do not function best in a normal school environment. It has a high school for grades nine through 12 and a middle school for students in grades six through eight.

Lovely said she had to go from being a stay-at-home mom to working three part-time jobs when her husband died, and that the upheaval caused problems for her family.

Michael started attending the Middlebury Crossing his sophomore year of high school, then moved to the Goshen Crossing when the Middlebury branch closed. Lovely said he worked at McDonald's to help pay for his tuition. Two of Michael's three siblings later also attended The Crossing.

Lovely said she hopes her donation will make a difference in another child's life.

"Faith is something that puts forth an effort, and I really believe that God will return that 10-fold to these students," she said.

Michael Lovely was stationed at Fort Campbell when he committed suicide last Oct. 30, six months after returning from serving in Afghanistan. Sherrie Lovely said he wasn't the same when he returned.

"It just seemed like he had lost that boyish joy of life," she said.

She encouraged families of returning military personnel to be supportive and encouraging upon their return from service.

"They don't open up," Lovely said. "They don't tell you what they've seen. It's so bad; I don't think they know how to describe it."

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