BROWNSBURG — The 40 & 8 Voiture, a group of invitation-only veterans, and do charitable works across the country including here in Hendricks County, recently presented an $800 scholarship check as part of their Nurses Training Scholarship program to Hendricks County resident Nikki Garrison this past week.
The ceremony and pinning took place at the Brownsburg American Legion Post 331.
The Hendricks County 40 & 8 Voiture was established in 1974 and is a group of veterans who have tackled tough and perplexing problems in their military careers. Currently, the membership in the Hendricks County chapter has 58 members.
Paul Sorrentino, Chef de Gare of the 40 & 8 said that the grant is given to a Hendricks County nurse enrolled in an accredited school not in their freshman year. They’re interviewed by Lori Turpin, their nurses training director who is a retired U.S. Navy captain nurse.
“We started putting money aside, raising money to build a fund where we could start giving money out,” Sorrentino explained. “We haven’t had any income in two years, so we’ve been spending the money out of our savings. Overall, I’d say we’ve approached 50 nurses who’ve graduated since 1974.”
The scholarship program has no fixed guidelines for the number of scholarships or the dollar amount to be awarded. The program was enacted to curb the oncoming shortage of nurses going into the field.
“We could see the handwriting on the wall,” explained Sorrentino of how the program started. “A bunch of doctors wanted to put money together to help people become nurses. They had a need for nurses, and it’s (widespread) across the United States right now. We probably on a national basis spend $3 million to $4 million in the nurses training program.”
The 40 & 8 Voiture was established by veterans of World War I. Soldiers at that time were shipped to the front lines by the French Railroad in boxcars. The cars could hold 40 soldiers or eight horses. So it was chosen to have a “boxcar” in every state and country.
They also have programs aimed at aiding children through their Child Welfare Program, which began in 1923 to ease the pain and suffering of children whose fathers didn’t return from war. Today, the program has expanded to include all children with emergent needs. Sorrentino said that a member of the group will go shopping with children for immediate needs to help them pick out what is best for them.
They also have a National POW/MIA Program that raises funds in honor of servicemen or women who were prisoners of war or considered missing in action while serving. The scholarship trust fund helps aid the spouses, veterans, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Lastly, they sponsor a flag education program where they give more than 24 presentations a year to local schools in Hendricks County to help get first-graders information on what the flag stands for.
To learn more about the 40 & 8, visit the website at www.fortyandeight.org.