WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – After spending more than 400 days in captivity during the Iran hostage crisis, one United States Marine is using his story to support the loved ones of fallen service men and women.

Rocky Sickmann shared his experience Tuesday at Otterbein University.

Sickmann was defending the United State Embassy in Iran in 1979 when a group of radicals took him and 51 others captive.

For more than 444 days, he endured solitary confinement and torture.

After returning home in 1981, Sickmann learned eight service members lost their lives trying to rescue his.

Now, through Folds of Honor, Sickmann has dedicated his life to providing scholarship opportunities for family members of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“These men and women that are serving, their families are back home not knowing,” said Sickmann, who is senior vice president for Folds of Honor. “But what we at Folds of Honor want to make sure is that we’ve got their back. We want to make sure that they know, if something happens, they don’t come back or if they come back disabled, their family will have again. Honor their sacrifice, educate their legacy.”

Since 2017, Folds of Honor has awarded 35,000 scholarships in all 50 states, totaling more than $160 million. Eighty-one of those scholarship recipients are in central Ohio, including three current Otterbein students.