Oak Ridge, NC -- Lance Corporal Andrew Russoli was a Marine. His goal was to come home from war and save lives as a firefighter.
"I pray for this war will end. So, they can come home to their families. So, they don't have to deal with the empty chair at Christmas or anytime," said Roland Russoli, Andrew's father.
Andrew sacrificed his life while fighting for our country in Afghanistan in 2005. Russoli was killed in action as a member of the United States Marine Corps, while engaged in combat near Nasser Wa Salaam, Iraq.
"What you have to understand is when a young man is killed in war, worlds change in a matter of seconds. The world of the family collapses and all that they are and all that they believe will never be the same again," said Russoli.
"He wanted to save lives. So, we are educating firefighter who will save lives one day."
Now the Russoli family is carrying on his mission of saving others' lives through a $2,500 scholarship fund in honor of Lance Corporal Andrew Russoli. It's called the "Strength and Honor Fund," which is an annual educational scholarship for firefighters and their children.
"Especially, with the education of firefighters because that was his dream and this fulfills his dream of saving lives."
The purpose of this fund is to provide monetary scholarship assistance to qualifying Oak Ridge firefighters or other firefighters as the governing board sees fit for their education. Children of an Oak Ridge firefighter or other firefighters also qualify as the governing board sees fit for the child's education.
Three scholarships have been awarded since 2010 to firefighters. This has enabled two to attend the GTCC Fire Academy and one to attend UNC-Charlotte.
Donations will be accepted at anytime in person at, or by mail to, the offices of the Oak Ridge Fire and Rescue Company, Inc. located at 8325 Linville Road Oak Ridge, NC 27310 or call (336) 643-3783.
WFMY News 2.