The Behan Law Group, P.L.L.C.


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Fall 2023 Behan Law Group Military Veteran Scholarship Winner

Each semester, The Behan Law Group offers an award of $1,000 to support the higher education of military veterans, current service members, and their children. Our scholarship also requires the applicant to submit an essay discussing how their experience affected their academic and career goals and they plan to use their education to positively impact their community.

Maci Kluesner

Maci Kluesner

Maci Kluesner, a law student at Drake University, has been selected as a winner of the Military Veteran Scholarship for the Fall 2023 semester. Maci’s mother was a member of the National Guard as well as the United States Army. In Maci’s essay, you learn of the incredible example her mother set for her and her sisters.

Read Maci’s Essay:

In the middle of northeast Iowa is a town named Mederville that boasts about ten houses with a population of about 100 people. There, my mother was raised by a mother who was only allowed to receive education up to eighth grade and by a father who was a veteran. My grandparents worked hard for my mom but lived in poverty their whole life. My mom felt the only way to create a better life for herself was by enlisting in the military. By the age of seventeen, she enlisted in the National Guard and joined the Army. By doing this, she could open the door to life outside Mederville, the only life she had ever known.

After ten years of serving her country, she decided to seek out even more opportunities that would not be possible if she had not enlisted—she went to college. Her G.I. Bill is why she could afford the exceeding cost of university. She attended school while raising three daughters, giving my sisters and me an excellent example of the women we should strive to be.

My entire life, my mother taught me to be resilient in times of despair, give grace to others when they need it, be fiercely independent, and that a strong work ethic can carry you very far. These are all values that the military reinforced in her that she could pass down to me. Seeing my mom consistently executing these values while she was in the army and pursuing an education while raising three children, I had always understood education to be powerful. From a very young age, I threw myself into schoolwork. I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be fulfilled and have a sense of security. I had watched my mother sacrifice so much to give my family a better life than she did. I wanted to continue carrying the torch to break the cycle of generational trauma and poverty.

There were times when I contemplated following in her footsteps and joining the National Guard. I took the ASVAB and scored a 92, which led to a plethora of recruiters speaking to me, but something did not feel right. My mom had instilled the value of education so firmly that I was compelled just to keep pursuing my education. Doing so on the salary of my single mother would take a lot of work. Fortunately, my mother had settled in the small rural town of Elkader, Iowa. It is home to 1,200 and only attracted a few others to settle there. That meant that my high school only offered one advanced placement course. Because of the lack of education advancement opportunities, my school connected with a community college. This allowed me to take any class I wanted and earn college credit. My guidance counselor helped me design a schedule to earn my Associate’s Degree in high school and still be involved in sports, speech, student government, and multiple jobs. Once again, this was a feat I could not accomplish had my mother not taught me the value of hard work and the privilege that education is. Because of her support, I could complete my first two years of college completely free of charge.

My mother influenced me profoundly, and I knew I needed to serve others somehow. That's when I knew that becoming an attorney was the way to do so. I have a goal of helping people, whether that be guiding them through the complications of divorce or helping someone start their new business. I will measure my success through the impact I could have on others, or that is my ambition. I want to move back to the community that gave me so much. My town is so small that when one entity closes, it affects the rest in a ripple effect. That is why I must open a firm, so those that live in Elkader and the surrounding area have access to legal resources so that they can, in turn, keep the town thriving. This may sound like an overly ambitious goal, but there is one thing my mother has taught me: I am stronger than I think I am. With that in mind, nothing will stop me from pursuing my dreams.

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