Cpl Ziolkowski's Legacy Lives on with American Legion
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Cpl. Nick Ziolkowski always knew he wanted to serve in the Marine Corp. So, shortly after graduation, he made arrangements to do just that. Ziolkowski was deployed to the Middle East. A 2001 graduate of the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, he had developed strong ties to the community while growing up and attending school. Ziolkowski flourished wherever he was and the military was no exception. Ziolkowski was assigned to the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina-based 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.While in that position, he witnessed a lot of horrendous events, but still, amidst it all, he remained a pillar of strength until the day he passed away, in active duty. Although his details of his death are unknown, on his Arlington Cemetery page it is stated that “they said they did not know the details of his death, but they believe he had led his squad into heavy combat several times in Fallujah before he was lost.”

As friends, family and those who mentored Ziolkowski grieved the loss of him, preparations to honor Cpl. Nick Ziolkowski began. His mother, Tracy Miller is a Towson University academic advisor and begun to use the connection of the school, which Ziolkowski was planning on attending upon his arrival. Ziolkowski’s legacy lives on. His mother set up a scholarship in her son’s honor, which to present date have supplied over $30,000 in academic assistance. The Nick Ziolkowski Memorial Endowment has issued more than $30,000 in scholarships since the first $900 annual award was granted in 2008, according to university officials. This year’s award will be $5,000, divided between two students. And this year, it’s a little bit different because the American Legion is going to help honor Ziolkowski’s legacy. Towson American Legion member John Ruffer said the veterans organization often holds fundraisers to help the community. The group voted recently to donate $500 to the endowment fund, but members decided it wasn’t enough and reached out to Towson University’s Student Veterans Group to find out what else could be done. They have decided to also open up the Legion without charge and create a fundraiser during Superbowl Sunday for the endowment fund. “Now we [can] build community awareness to the scholarship and hopefully gain some support for our veterans,” Ruffer said. “They have already earned it.”

From his Arlington National Cemetery webpage, the following is said about Ziolkowski: Ziolkowski was a team leader and scout sniper, said his family members, who gathered yesterday at his mother's Towson home. They said they did not know the details of his death, but they believe he had led his squad into heavy combat several times in Fallujah before he was lost.Family and friends remembered Ziolkowski as an intensely patriotic young man, one who began planning for his military service in ninth grade and left for active duty in the Marines the morning after high-school graduation. They said he firmly believed he could help make the world a better place. "He loved his country more than any person I know that age," said Baltimore City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., who taught Ziolkowski and his older brother Peter U.S. history at Boys' Latin. "I don't think I could be any prouder of Nick."

For more information you can read: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/nlziolkowski.htm or http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/ph-tt-legion-0124-story.html