The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, has awarded $50,000 in scholarship funds to 42 students in its annual essay contest for employees of NSSF Voting Member companies and their family members.
This year NSSF doubled the amount of funding in the Voting Member Scholarship Award program, allowing it to provide 20 additional scholarships.
“It is an honor for NSSF to present these scholarships to students who understand and express so well what our Second Amendment and shooting sports freedoms mean to them and to our country,” said Bettyjane Swann, NSSF director of member services. “The scholarships also allow NSSF to recognize its Voting Member companies for their extraordinary commitment to their trade association.”
To earn one of the 42 scholarships offered, employees of NSSF Voting Member companies or their qualified family members submitted applications and essays on one of four topics: “Why Hunting is Important to Rural Businesses”; “The True Meaning of the Second Amendment”; “Power at the Polls: The Importance of the Gun Owner Voting Bloc”; and “WSFR 75th Anniversary: How Industry and Sportsmen Support Conservation.”
NSSF makes the scholarships available as a means of thanking its Voting Members for their substantial financial support of NSSF and its efforts to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.
Earning the Grand Prize $6,000 scholarship was Joseph Taylor Stevens, an employee at Action Target and a student at Brigham Young University whose essay traced influences on the development of the Second Amendment. He wrote, “The Second Amendment is an essential component to the preservation of the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Taking the First Prize scholarship of $3,000 was Daniel Bronson Driggs, son of Smith & Wesson employee Dagoberto Martin Driggs and a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Daniel’s essay focused on the importance of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms to a free society. Recounting his father’s experience as a child in Cuba, Daniel wrote, “Fortunately, my father was able to flee Cuba under the Freedom Flights in 1965, to a country where numerous freedoms, including the right to bear arms, existed.”
Earning the Second Prize scholarship of $2,000 was Trent Douglas Kessmann, son of Winchester employee Linda Kessmann and a student at Southern Illinois University. In his essay, Trent emphasized why hunting is important to rural communities like the one in which he grew up. He wrote that hunting provides “revenue for landowners, prevents animal-related crop damage, and mainly [creates] jobs.”
Thirty-nine other students earned $1,000 scholarships. Among them was Sarah Butler, daughter of Marjorie Hart of Mossberg and a student at the University of Connecticut, whose essay on “Power at the Polls” pointed out, “”Protecting our Second Amendment rights should be far more important to us as Americans than choosing the next American Idol. Gun owners need to . . . use their immense power to insure that we elect candidates that do not take our freedoms for granted.”
Samantha Hughes, NSSF’s member services coordinator, oversaw the Voting Member Scholarship Award Contest. “The judges and I were extremely impressed with the quality of this year’s essays,” said Hughes. “I hope the number of applications we receive increases again next year.”
Logo courtesy of the NSSF