ScholarshipAlumnus Sgt. 1st Class Todd Gibb continues his dedication to service through a scholarship at the College.
The Todd Gibbs Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a ROTC member and CJ major to continue his legacy in service to the military and to others. Those who have received this prestigious award since 2009 carry the memory of this brave soldier with them into the field.
Marcus Montano is a senior and part-time member of the Texas National Guard. He has friends who serve in the same unit – the 506st Currahee -- and have traveled the same road in Iraq as Gibbs did. He honors all their sacrifices every day.
“As a student and a service member, I want to carry on the name of all those who served,” said Montano, an infantryman who works with long range fire support. “What I have been told is that conflict and combat take something from you. But the soldiers that served there say they would go back today and do it again if they can.”
Todd Gibbs was killed on the anniversary of the Battle of Pearl Harbor by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while on patrol in Iraq, two days after losing his best friend from the unit at the hands of a similar device. When asked by a member of his unit why he was getting out of the Humvee on that fateful day, he said he wanted to find the guys that were planting these devices so no other soldiers in his unit or the area would have to die, his brother Bret Gibbs recalled.
“Todd died doing what he did best in life – putting others in front of himself,” said Bret Gibbs at a Memorial Day ceremony honoring the fallen. “As the Bible tells us in John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’ Todd’s final act on Earth was to make the world a safer place for his family, his friends, and for people who would never know him and know of his personal sacrifice.”
Todd Gibbs was a member of the ROTC program at Sam Houston State University. “There is definitely a connection up there,” said Bret Gibbs. “He loved Sam Houston. It was a great experience, and he met great friends there. Even though I graduated from (rival school) Stephen F. Austin, I have grown to love Sam Houston, and it feels like family.”
Eric Segalini is a Field Artillery Officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell and another recipient of the Gibbs scholarship. He is a platoon leader in charge of 30 soldiers assigned to Alpha Battery, 1-320th FAR, a 105mm howitzer battery. Segalini said the education he received will pave the way to a military career in Special Forces.
“He’s an inspiration to me,” said Segalini of his benefactor. “He sacrificed, and he gave me and my family the opportunity to be here and to live in a free country. Without people like him, I wouldn’t be here and the country is better for it, and the military is better for it.”
The scholarship was the result of donations that poured in after Todd Gibbs’ death, including proceeds from a lifelong friend who ran as a fundraiser in the Las Vegas Marathon. “The fact that the donations came from so many people and so many walks of life, that was the most touching thing,” said Bret Gibbs. “People wanted to help.”
The scholarship was bolstered in 2008 when Bret Gibbs participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March, a grueling 26.2-mile hike across roads, sand trails and hills at the White Sands Missile Range, which raised funds for the endowment. For Bret Gibbs it was a life-changing experience.
“It was a very humbling experience,” said Bret Gibbs. “There were actual survivors there that thanked us for remembering them. These are living legends, and it was amazing to see the pride they still have. It was definitely a bucket list item.”
Bret Gibbs hopes students will reflect on the impact they will have throughout their lives. He asked that they always offer a kind word or encouraging attitude, just like his brother did.
“We are here to make a positive impact on others,” said Bret Gibbs. “You may never know the impact you have on others. Reflect on your own life and remember those that go before you, and what you do to help others.”
If you are interested in contributing to the Todd Gibbs Memorial Scholarship you may contact Sam Houston State University Advancement Office at (936) 294-3625 or forward your gift to:
Todd Gibbs Criminal Justice Memorial Scholarship
Office of University Advancement
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341-2537
If you have any questions you may also contact Cutty T. Gilbert in the College of Criminal Justice, 936-294-3755.