On May 31, 2018, Private Jackson Burtch’s family waited in quiet anticipation for him to arrive at the London Military Family Resource Centre (LMFRC). Private Burtch would be one of five Canadian youths to receive the scholarship, $10,000 paid out over four years towards his post-secondary education.
“The Ted Rogers Scholarship, administered by the True Patriot Love Foundation (TPL), recognizes strong leadership, qualities demonstrated through service to community, so strong leadership qualities,” said Don Denne, LMFRC Executive Director.
In order to be considered for the scholarship, the applicant would have to be enrolled in a Canadian college or university for the first time, starting September 2018; the applicant be a Canadian citizen; the applicant be a youth in a military family with a parent who is either a serving member, or a Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces; the applicant needs to be between the ages of 18 and 24; the applicant demonstrates strong youth leadership through volunteerism, community involvement and/or extracurricular activities; proof of enrollment is required. In addition to the criteria list, the applicant would have to include a thoughtful essay.
“Jackson, I’ve spoken with your mother and father, you wouldn’t share your essay with them, eh? I hate to break it you, but a lot of people have probably read that essay, it definitely got their attention, and I’m willing to pay a hefty wager that it hit the mark,” Denne said to Private Burtch.
Namita Joshi, Head of Granting and Strategic Partnerships, presented Private Burtch with the scholarship.
“I was thinking that we actually did review a lot of applications and what was really humbling was the leadership qualities and the way in which youth from across Canada are using their experience of being a part of a military family and taking that knowledge and building themselves up stronger,” she said.
A majority of TPL’s programs are geared towards ill and injured Canadian soldiers. The Ted Rogers Scholarship shifts the focus to military children, even just for a moment. Joshi said reading through the many applications was very humbling to her.
“Congratulations! I wish you all the best, and you’re going to be a great role model to many youths,” Joshi added.
The 19-year old decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the CAF as a reservist when he was just 16-years old. Angela Hudson, Private Burtch’s mom, had no idea, but he would soon have to tell her as his enrollment ceremony was quickly approaching. Hudson admits she wasn’t excited about the idea when he first told her but figured once he turned 18 there would be no stopping him. Hudson said her son was very determined and headstrong growing up.
“There were days that scared me to think that you were in your BMQ doing the gas training. I was petrified that weekend not knowing and not understanding it. I didn’t understand why Jackson had chosen to do this because, although he did cadets, he didn’t tell me he was going to join the army,” said Hudson.
Private Burtch’s first assignment was to complete an essay. As Hudson was cleaning one night, she had come across the draft essay. She never told her son she had read the essay, but when she had, it was then she understood the reason her only son had decided to join the military.
“Jackson by name is the Son of Jack. Jack Hudson is my grandfather, and he trained (in London) for World War Two and we talk about it often. Jackson has many grandparents that have participated in the wars and his father who had trained. You felt it was your duty to serve your country and follow in generations of commitment,” said Hudson. “I see firsthand how difficult this is, physically and mentally challenging and you always tell me how rewarding it is to see how far you can be pushed and what you can accomplish.”
Private Burtch thanked everyone for their attendance and TPL for choosing him as one of five Canadian youths to receive the scholarship. Private Burtch will follow in his mom’s footsteps, after some convincing from his friend and fire-team partner, Private Tully Cogswell, and attend the University of Western Ontario in the fall of 2018.