Emily J. T. Perez Foundation (The
Foundation) was established in 2006 by Daniel and Vicki Perez to
honor the life and legacy of their daughter, Emily, through a mentoring
and scholarship program for girls and young women.
was born in Heidelberg, Germany to a military family. While in high
school she helped begin an HIV-AIDS ministry. She accepted an
appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point where
she was a four year letter
winner on the track team, served as Cadet Command Sergeant Major, and
graduated academically in the top 10% of her class.
in December as a
Medical Service Corps
officer. She was killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near her
during combat operations in
Aged 23, she was the first female graduate of West Point to die in the
the first West Point graduate of the "Class
to die in combat, and the first female African-American officer to die
in combat. Her decorations include the
National Defense Service Medal,
Army Service Ribbon,
Overseas Service Ribbon,
Combat Action Badge.
posthumously received the
NCAA Award of Valor
Emily's unit, the 204th Support Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division,
will remember her as a great leader. They continue to honor her with a
street named "Emily's Way" and a medical center called the Emily J.T.
Perez Treatment Facility. Her church will remember her as one with
genuine love and compassion for people, especially those suffering with
HIV/AIDS. Emily's friends will remember her infectious laugh and loyal
friendship and for always willing to give help or a hug. The public will
remember her in her West Point uniform with her steady eyes and the
chevrons taking up her sleeve from shoulder seam to elbow.