Since they were young boys, John-Mark Nelson and Jacob Saunders were endowed with a deep sense of appreciation for the sacrifices individuals have made for the good of others. It was this deep sense of respect toward selfless service and other-centeredness that led them to pursue a career in the Armed Forces. In their senior year at Oregon State University in the Army ROTC program, John-Mark and Jacob established this endowed scholarship with the help of Lieutenant Colonel Mike Rainbolt to carry on the tradition of service and promoting esprit-de-corps. The Saunders & Nelson Scholarship is awarded annually to the junior Army ROTC cadet who most exemplifies honest, unselfish qualities to his/her classmates throughout the most demanding year of the program.
Jacob Saunders was born in March 1983 and attended Santiam Christian High School in Corvallis. Throughout college, Jacob played an active role in his church, where he was a worship and college group leader. It was at church where met his wife Cassidy, who was also very active in church leadership. They married in September 2004. Jacob is planning to be commissioned in December 2005 with a degree in sociology and a basic branch of infantry. After that he plans to be stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and attend the Infantry Officer Basic Course to prepare him for his first three years as a combat arms officer.
John-Mark Nelson was born in July 1982 and attended Gladstone High School in Gladstone, Oregon. He joined Army ROTC after completing the Leadership Training Course at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in the summer 2003. He was commissioned in June 2005 with degree in political science and a basic branch of Adjutant General. Following graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Lindsay Anne Davis. John-Mark reported to the Adjutants General Officer Basic Course in September 2005. He plans to deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2006 with the 41st Infantry Brigade as part of Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix and serve as a Public Affairs Officer.