Two Ohio State University students with ties to the military have set out to establish an endowment at their alma mater to honor fallen and disabled military service members while providing their children and siblings scholarship assistance.
Last spring, Adam Ingram, an OSU junior pursuing an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, and Duck Yim, who is scheduled to graduate from OSU in 2014 and is a cadet in the Air Force ROTC program, began brainstorming for a way to honor U.S. military servicemen and women killed or disabled in the line of duty.
In part compelled by personal ties to the country's armed forces -- Yim through his continued ROTC duty and Ingram as the son of two U.S. Air Force retirees and the brother of a current U.S. Marine -- they already were motivated to pursue the cause.
But upon learning that more than 900 OSU alumni, students and professors have been killed in action, they became truly inspired.
As a result, they founded 1 Day for the KIA (an acronym for the term "killed in action.").
While still fledgling, the nonprofit organization seeks to raise $50,000 in this, its inaugural year, for start-up funds and to produce an annual, $1,000 scholarship to help a child or sibling of a fallen or disabled service member attend Ohio State.
The organization's broader, long-term goal is to raise $2.34 million, which would provide for an ongoing, four-year full scholarship each year.
"We're trying to commemorate those 908 Buckeyes through this organization," said Ingram, a 2011 graduate of Pickerington High School North.
"We have very personal connections with some of these people."
The model for 1 Day for the KIA was established by similar efforts in other states, including Nevada, which Ingram and Yim said has a program providing children with full tuition scholarships at any state institution, and Michigan, where $2,800 is provided each year to military children and siblings for college scholarships.
"We're trying to recognize the service provided by the fallen members," Yim said.
"It can be symbolic of just the relationship parent and child.
"It's a recognition of that absence," Yim said.
"We're saying, 'Here's a gift. Go make yourself a success so you can keep that parent alive by spreading their values.' "
The organization has a website at www.1dayforthekia.org, which provides more information about its mission and ideals.
The site also accepts donations to help support establishing The Living Legacy scholarship endowment at OSU.
In addition to online donations, Ingram and Yim have organized a 24-Hour Endurance Run, to be held on the OSU Oval April 5-6.
That event is designed to help promote awareness for 1 Day for the KIA's cause, and to serve as a fundraiser.
OSU ROTC cadets and alumni are lining up to participate in the endurance run, which will entail running and walking for as many consecutive hours as they can while also generating donations through donor pledges.
"The idea is you're on the track for the entire day," Yim said. "I'm shooting for 110 (miles) in a day.
"We want to commemorate every family," he said. "Every minute ... we're earning more money."
The group also has reserved 50 spots in the endurance race for public participation.
For an entry fee of $320, an individual can run, and for an additional cost of $50 per person, they can add up to four people on a team.
"We'll give them a one-mile tracking bracelet and then it becomes a challenge for each team to run as many miles as they can," Yim said.
Through the organization, the endowment and the endurance run, 1 Day for the KIA hopes not only to help service members' families obtain college degrees, but also spread awareness about the sacrifices military personnel make for their country.
Ingram and Yim said they hope it's a concept that not only endures at OSU, but spreads throughout the U.S.
"Because they have lost their parent or parents, it's important to keep the essence of the parent alive throughout their children," Ingram said.
"I have a deep, profound respect for all the servicemen and women," he said. "We want service members and their family members in our community to come forward and go to our website.
"I would be interested in meeting with them and getting to know them," he added. "We want to just be in contact with them to let them know what we are doing."
Additional information about 1 Day for the KIA is available at the group's website. Donations also can be mailed, with checks made out to "1 Day for the KIA."
The address is: 1 Day for the KIA, 2121 Tuttle Park Place, 3rd Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43210.