Beverly Poyer was one of three women selected to receive a Pillar of Strength scholarship to University of Maryland University College. She plans to use the full scholarship, awarded to partners of wounded service members, to complete a bachelor's degree in military-family social work. (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun / April 24, 2013)

"I knew everything would be okay."

Kelly said she wants to start and run a nonprofit that would help those who have "hit rock bottom."

The scholarships were sponsored by the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a Bethesda-based organization that provides housing and transportation to military families while service members are recovering at Walter Reed or Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and the Blewitt Foundation, which also serves wounded service members.

"It's a great way for us to say, 'Thank you,' for the sacrifice that not only the service member has given to us and our country, but recognizing the family," said Mark Robbins, executive director of the Yellow Ribbon Fund. "Their lives have also changed, and for many of them, it's been turned upside down."

Blewitt Foundation President Rich Blewitt said the scholarships "both recognize and serve a group that is so critical to the aide and recovery of our injured warriors."

"The lifetime benefit of a college degree can be great, and it's the least we can do for all those who sacrifice so much," Blewitt said.

Beverly Poyer said her Christian faith taught her to believe that "there's got to be a reason for everything." But when her husband was wounded, she struggled for perspective.

She said supporting other military families after she earns her degree will help her find purpose in her own struggles.

"I don't want another spouse to go through what I went through," she said.