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Veterans’ Writing Group seeks support for scholarship program

The nonprofit Veterans’ Writing Group of San Diego County started the Ernie Pyle Scholarship program last year to give scholarships to veterans and active-duty military attending local colleges. The nonprofit seeks donations from the community to continue the program and expand it to reach more students and offer larger scholarships.

Last year, the group gave scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 to three MiraCosta College students whose work was included in the group’s latest book of poems and stories, “At Ease! Now That I Have Time to Think About It,” published in 2021.

The book features 47 works by area military veterans and their families mostly revolving around experiences on deployments or in the home front. The authors range from age 20 to 91. Many of the group’s participants find writing therapeutic.

The group has published four books over the last four years.

The sale of the books allows the group to donate copies to veteran nursing homes, clinics and hospitals, giving their veterans stories they can read and relate to during a time of stress in their lives. Many veterans have expressed their appreciation for the stories coming from other veterans of all ages, branches of service and military eras, the group said.

The writing group was formed about 12 years ago by John Maki, a retired Marine, and Gail Chatfield, the daughter of a World War II Marine veteran who fought in Iwo Jima.

The Veterans’ Writing Group is open to area veterans and their spouses who are interested in learning about writing from each other and from published authors, book editors and publishers. No writing experience is required.

The group sells works by members through Amazon, Kindle and bookstores.

To contribute to the Ernie Pyle Scholarships, visit

The deadline to apply for the 2022 Veterans’ Writing Group of San Diego Ernie Pyle Award is Oct. 11. Award winners will be announced Nov. 11.

The scholarship is open to veterans or active military members who are undergraduates and are willing to have their essay published. First-place winners typically receive $1,000 and second- and third-place winners, $500.

The scholarship is named in honor of Ernie Pyle, a war correspondent who wrote about the common U.S. soldier during World War II. Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize. He was killed in the Battle for Okinawa in 1944.

Information about the scholarship is at

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