Timothy “Doc” Cook was a man for others, saving countless lives as a Navy Corpsman in the Iraq war.

The 13 exceptional students honored with scholarships this year in Tim’s memory are boys and girls for others as they work to bring awareness and help to veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Tim lost his battle with PTSD in March 2013 due to his combat experiences; he was 28 years old. Since then, his dad, Joseph Cook, family, friends, businesses, and neighbors have raised money in his memory for scholarships.

“The Timothy (Doc) Cook Foundation will continue to have spirit, hope, and strength to make a difference for others,” Joseph said. “As always, we will remain being grateful one day at a time.” 

Students had to submit essays for scholarship consideration. On Saturday, with the backdrop of the World War II memorial in South Boston, the 13 outstanding students were honored. 

The winners are: 

Emma Brooks, 9th-grader at Archbishop Williams

Emma Brooks

Emma lost her dad, a veteran, when she was 7 years old. At 18, he had enlisted in the US Navy and was deployed twice, to Kuwait and Afghanistan. After his second deployment he was suffering and was diagnosed with PTSD. Emma noticed her dad had become distant and wasn’t the same funny, joke-loving person she knew. She sees now that her dad must have been in so much pain from what he had experienced, but she knows he tried the best he could to be there for her and his family. She thinks the best way to help raise awareness is by educating people about what PTSD is and how to recognize it. She created a poster that explains PTSD that includes phone numbers for professional help.

Colleen McGrath, Fontbonne Academy, will be attending Michigan State

Colleen McGrath’s parents

Colleen did her senior research project on veterans with PTSD and readjustment disorders because her dad, Keith Brooks, and grandfather served and her brother is currently serving. She wants to see a significant change in the way US veterans are treated and the resources that are available to them. She noted that since 1776, America has been in 113 wars and conflicts, sending men and women to war to defend our principles and protect our freedoms, but yet when they return home there are no adequate mental health resources for them. Colleen wanted to raise awareness of the issue in her school community so she created an Instagram account (and a QR code directing people to the account) to post statistics and share facts about PTSD. 

MaryKate Linso, Boston Latin Academy, will be attending Fairfield University

MaryKate Linso

MaryKate’s older brothers are currently on active duty. She has learned core values of the military from them, including dedication, courage, and resilience. They shared stories of their friends who were caught off guard by emotional dysregulation beyond their control. MaryKate aspires to be like her grandmother, who is a retired VA nurse practitioner. She hopes to increase PTSD awareness as a nurse using knowledge she learns from her research and applying it with compassion, understanding, and respect for veterans and their families. 

Greg Matthews, BC High, will be attending Fairfield

Greg Matthews

To spread PTSD awareness, Greg would like to create and dedicate a rugby game to help vets access programs such as Warrior Path. His mom, Amy, is a licensed psychologist and his dad is a 20-year US Army veteran. Greg has been very involved in BC High’s Man for Others. He was influenced by local coaches to become the man he is today to be a positive role model for younger kids in his community. 

Vasya Mantrov, BC High, will be attending Fairfield University

Vasya Mantrov

As this BC High graduate prepares for Fairfield University, he does not want to lose the core values that define him, many of which were learned through his last five years of involvement with the Timothy (Doc) Cook Foundation. At Fairfield he plans to continue his efforts of spreading PTSD awareness by joining clubs or starting new ones. He has shared this year’s research with his friends, explaining how specific diets and health habits lead to better emotional and mental health. When Vasya walks around with his Shamrock Showdown-Tim (Doc) Cook Foundation shirt, he is always prepared to discuss how modern medicine keeps evolving and how hopefully one day there will be a permanent solution to PTSD. 

Jack Kane, 9th-grader at Landmark School

Jack Kane

Jack believes the hardest part of PTS-PTSD is that you can’t see it when you look at someone. He can relate to this because he has dyslexia and people can’t see that about him. To increase awareness of PTSD in this community and support veterans, he and his mom would like to team up to offer free yoga, art, and meditation classes for veterans, creating a safe and welcoming space for veterans to relax, unwind, and learn coping strategies for dealing with PTSD symptoms. 

Liam Long, 7th-grader at BC High

Liam Long

There’s a quote from Napoleon Hill in the book “Struggle Well” by Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg that sticks with Liam: “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” He would like to live by this quote because it teaches you how to overcome adversity instead of giving in and letting it defeat you. He would help increase awareness of PTSD in his community by finding counselors for the people who suffer, realizing it helps when you talk to a professional. 

Andrew Misset, 8th-grader at BC High

Andrew Misset

Andrew wants to take PTSD out of the shadows and make  sure that kids know there is no stigma to asking for help, seeking help, and talking to a trusted person. Andrew feels lucky to live in South Boston where there are many places to spread awareness about PTSD, such as the L Street Bathhouse, the Tynan, and the Boys & Girls Club. Andrew realizes it is an honor to serve your country and he knows kids his age feel like it is a path that they will take. He is hoping that if they are educated about PTSD before they sign up, maybe there would be fewer cases of PTSD.

Jackson Spitz, 7th-grader at BC High

Jackson Spitz

Jackson believes awareness of PTSD can assist family members identify the symptoms and get the best possible support. He wants to help increase awareness and education in the community by posting on social media and creating flyers. He also wants to join a charity event to help raise money for organizations assisting families and people with PTSD. He would also like to assist homeless veterans. 

John Brooks, 8th-grade at BC High

John Brooks

John notes that we thank veterans when they come home, but forget about them and expect them to return to their normal lives as if nothing they experienced has affected them. There are  programs available to help but it’s still not enough. John said we need to  normalize asking for help and stop the stigma. He said the first step to raise awareness about PTSD is to discuss it more on social media platforms because that’s where most young people get their information. John would also like to create an emotional support pet program so vets could adopt them free of charge. 

Brendan Picard, 8th-grader at Archbishop Williams

Brendan Picard

Brendan feels that families and veterans shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help or treatment. He would like to see more education about PTSD in schools, noting students learn a lot about war in civics class but they don’t cover the effects of war on our veterans and how to help them when they return. Brendan said social media can let people know there is help out there.

Patrick Kennedy, 7th-grader at Archbishop Williams

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick took an interest in this scholarship because he has a family member who was deployed to Iraq twice and suffered from PTSD. Patrick would like to organize a walk for all ages and have posters about PTSD along the route to raise awareness. He would invite veterans to attend a luncheon so that they could talk about their experiences with each other. He would like to start a Comfort Buddy program (like a Big Brothers program) at a rehab center, a vet center, or a VFW post where they could share stories and play games.

Jack Hynes, 10th-grader at Dexter Southfield
Jack has played in a three-on-three basketball tournament at his school called Hoops for Troops to help raise money and awareness for veterans struggling with mental and physical injuries. Next year he wants to organize a Hoops for Troops charity event to make it even bigger and raise more funds. Jack has also participated in a club called Morgan’s Message at his school to help spread awareness for people struggling with PTSD and other mental health issues.