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Deputy Brian Gross Memorial Scholarship

Honoring a Fallen Hero Through Scholarship

Receiving the Deputy Bryan Gross Memorial Scholarship was an honor for Jeneil Boles—and the most moving scholarship she has ever received.

“That one was probably the most sentimental scholarship I received because of two reasons,” says Jeneil. “One, because I’ve been in law Deputy Brian Gross Memorial Scholarshipenforcement for years. It’s tough when you’re a cop and you lose a brother. Secondly, the reason why it meant a lot to me was because I worked with that girl that Deputy Gross jumped in the river after, and I was part of her healing and her recovery for about a year.”

She continues, “I tell you what, it was an honor to be chosen simply because of my academics and being chosen for Deputy Brian Gross especially because of my personal involvement.”

The Deputy Brian Gross Memorial Scholarship was created to honor a fallen hero and to support students in UW’s criminal justice department. Jeneil attends UW-Casper, where she will earn her bachelor’s in criminal justice in December.                                     

Since she was a kid, Jeneil loved animals and police, and she had dreams of either being a vet or becoming a cop. At one time, she thought she would be able to fulfil both desires by becoming a game warden, but the job would have required her to move away from her hometown of Casper, and she wasn’t willing to do that.

She took a job with the Casper Police Department, where she worked for a few years, then 2 years ago, she started working for Homeland Security. This job made her think that perhaps she would like to go into federal law enforcement, perhaps the FBI or the CIA, but it was missing the piece that included animals.

Jeneil discovered that the Bureau of Land Management had a law enforcement branch, so she is considering becoming a ranger. It would give her a chance to be around animals and work in security, and that’s where she’s always wanted to be.

At the moment, Jeneil is still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do after she graduates but knows that the help she received from scholarships has put her on the right path. When she first enrolled in school, she did it three days before classes started. She had missed all of the scholarship deadlines, so she had to take out loans to pay for school.

This was a lesson for her. She realized that she didn’t want to be burdened with paying back the student loans, so she applied for scholarships and received them. She has been able to attend school without having to borrow more money.

“Because I am a full-time students with a part-time job, I haven’t been able to pay off those student loans yet,” explains Jeneil. “With this scholarship, it was awesome that I didn’t have to pay for school again, and I didn’t have to go into further debt.”

The Deputy Brian Gross Memorial Scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Wyoming. Preference is given to students who are current or former law enforcement officers and/or students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement.

On July 29, 2011, Deputy Bryan Gross lost his life in the line of duty. He had been attempting to rescue a 14-year-old girl who had been swept away by the North Platte River. She was rescued, but Deputy Gross tragically drown. He had recently married, and he was also a K-9 handler.

Deputy Gross’s duty was to help people, and that was exactly what he did when he went into the river to rescue the girl. He continues to help students through the scholarship established by friends and family in his name. Jeneil is thankful for the opportunities the Deputy Brian Gross Memorial Scholarship is giving her, and the personal connection makes being the recipient even more special.

Photo caption:  Amy Gross (right) presents Jeneil Boles with the Deputy Brian Gross Memorial Scholarship certificate.

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