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Passion for purpose: Folds of Honor recipient honors father with scholarship

Crystal Brent's father encouraged her to discover her purpose. Now she's working toward living out her dreams - with help of a Folds of Honor scholarship.

ST. LOUIS — When Crystal Brent was a young girl, she was taught a lesson that would shape the rest of her life.

“Keep moving forward and do everything with a purpose – and with a passion,” she said.

Her father, Anthony Robert Brent, was her teacher. Even the smallest moments were used to send a big message.

“One of his statements was always you know, ‘Walk like you have a purpose,’” explained Regina Johnson, Crystal’s mother. “We’re doing stuff and he’d look behind and see them and say, ‘Walk like you have a purpose.’”

Anthony led with a purpose as a family man and serviceman. He served as a warrant officer in the U.S. Army until early 2013 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

“He was a fighter and he didn’t give up,” said Johnson. “He went through different types of treatments that were offered.”

After sustaining weeks of remedies, Anthony mustered the strength to get back to work.

Not long after his return, he fell sick with pneumonia. His already weakened immune system couldn’t handle the illness. Anthony passed away just a couple of months after his initial cancer diagnosis.

However, his passion for purpose lives on through his daughter.

“My passion now is to just be a day-maker, to make everyone feel great,” said Crystal.

Over the past couple of years, she has used scholarship funds from Folds of Honor to learn about communication, business, and cosmetology.

Crystal has big dreams of opening a boutique in her own hair salon, along with a boutique for plus-sized women. By pairing these studies with the lesson from her most influential teacher, she’s closer to achieving her purpose.

“It’s what he would want you guys to do, no matter how hard life gets – just keep moving forward,” said Johnson.

“You know, keep doing stuff with a purpose,” added Crystal.

RELATED: 'It's a blessing for our family': How Folds of Honor is helping military family live the American dream