DANBURY, Conn. – A new scholarship at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury has been set up to honor a soldier who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan on Sept. 5, 2013.
The TJ Lobraico Memorial Scholarship will provide $5,000 annually to a deserving student.
Lobraico comes from a long line of military background. His mother, Linda Rohatsch, is lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard and commands the 105th Medical Group at Stewart Air Base in Newburgh, N.Y. – the same base as her son. Lobraico’s father, Todd James Lobraico, is an Air Force veteran who serves as a master sergeant with the 105th Security Forces Squadron. He is also a member of the Stamford Police Department.
Military service also runs deep with his stepfather, Dr. Rob Rohatsch; and his grandfathers, Frank Lobraico and Bob Rohatsch.
“Even before 9/11, we were a very patriotic family,” said Linda Rohatsch, who is chief operating officer of PhysicianOne Urgent Care of Connecticut. “Memorial Day was always important to us as a day to acknowledge the service and sacrifices that are made by many families on behalf of our country. But 9/11 is why TJ chose to serve.”
After graduating from New Fairfield High School in 2008, Lobraico joined the New York Air National Guard. While attending community college, he transferred to Western Connecticut State to work on a degree in justice and law administration to follow in his father’s footsteps and prepare for a career in law enforcement.
In 2013, as staff sergeant in the 105th Security Forces Squadron in Afghanistan, he died at the age of 22 after saving several members of his squadron when they were ambushed.
Rohatsch, a graduate of Western Connecticut State, said a memorial scholarship fund was the best way to never forget her son's sacrifice.
The scholarship was created for a student in the Division of Justice and Law Administration. At the time of his death, Lobraico was a JLA major who had just finished his junior year. The recipient must demonstrate active participation in community service and hold a part-time job. Qualified applicants are required to submit an essay that answers the question, “What does service above self mean to you?”
The TJ Lobraico Memorial Scholarship will begin in the 2014-15 academic year.