The College Education Milestone Foundation

The College Education Milestone Foundation was established by Traci Medford-Rosow in the spring of 2009 in memory of her father, Charles Eugene Medford. Abandoned as a young boy by both his mother and father, Charles was raised by his grandmother on the family farm in Waynesville, North Carolina. At age 17, Charles was mistakenly drafted to serve in World War II, due to an error in the family bible recording the year of his birth as 1925, rather than the correct year, 1926.

 

Charles was the only member of his Company of 250 men to survive the war, and he, along with other surviving soldiers, was sent to liberate the Nazi concentration camps.  Charles went to Dachau, and he was forever changed by the sight of the survivors, virtual walking skeletons, who fell to their knees and kissed his feet, when their cells were opened.

 

When Charles returned from the war, he attended the University of Virginia on a GI scholarship.  After graduation, he went to Washington D.C to work.  However, he never forgot the men and women from Dachau, and he stayed in touch with some of them who, like Charles, rebuilt their lives after the war, with little more than the precious resources of hard work and determination. 

 

His own experience at the University of Virginia, along with the stories of the holocaust survivors, led Charles to the inescapable belief that education is the single most important opportunity in life.  He was famous for his saying that “At the end of the day, they can take everything away from you, but they can never take away what is in your brain.”  It was Charles’s firm belief that the reason the men and women who survived the horrors of Dachau were able to rebuild their lives was because they were educated.

 

The College Education Milestone Foundation was established to honor Charles’s belief in and devotion to the importance of education.  The Foundation provides tuition scholarships to academically successful New York State high school seniors who gain admission to any one of the colleges in the CUNY or SUNY systems, but who would otherwise be unable to attend because they could not afford the cost of tuition.