A partnership between Heroes United and the Kansas City Chiefs have turned into a Gold Star Memorial Scholarship for one local high school student the past four years.
The four-year renewable scholarship totals $20,000 and in the past participating universities includes UMKC, Missouri Western and Grantham.
Park University — the official higher education partner of the Chiefs — presented a scholarship to Jendayah Gist at a football game this season.
“Looking back on it, it was pretty cool,” said Gist, who was honored during the Chiefs game versus the Arizona Cardinals in November. “It means a lot. Not everybody gets this and it doesn’t happen every day. It is a once in a lifetime thing.”
The scholarship is awarded to surviving family members of the military that was killed in action since Sept. 11, 2001. The money covers tuition and books for a Gold Star family member.
She is the daughter of the late Sgt. Milton Gist Jr., who was in the Army and killed in action on Jan. 30, 2007 in Iraq. The St. Louis native attended Roosevelt High School and earned a football scholarship to Missouri Valley College. He joined the Army in 2003, after serving a stint in AmeriCorps, where he met his wife, Raheisha.
The first recipient of the award was Jakweli Gist, Dayah’s brother, who went to UMKC.
Retired U.S. Marine Maj. Fred Galvin founded Heroes United in 2014 as a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Overland Park, Kan.
Gist, who goes by ‘Dayah,’ is a sophomore at Far West Family School and lives in Kearney.
Dayah plans to go to the Parkville campus her first year of college in 2021, but likes the variety of different locations and could possibly transfer.
She isn’t sure what she will major in but has a lot of interests. Some of those include journalism, public relations, wellness and fitness, music or multi-media journalism.
“The best thing about Park is they offer different things, different locations and different places and she can explore what she wants to and go where she wants,” Raeisha said.
Dayah went to a summer camp in 2018 at the Parkville campus and got a chance to stay on campus and loved the views and knowing part of the campus is underground.