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The Travis Manion Foundation Says You're Not Alone After the Death of Your Fallen Hero

By Elisha Neubauer

It is no secret that there are losses in the active and non-active military community on a daily basis, and while these are often heartbreaking and devastating, sometimes a silver light shines through, ensuring the loss was not for nothing. The passing of 1st Lt. Travis Manion in Iraq on April 29, 2007 is one such instance. Wanting to honor her son's memory, the late Janet Manion decided to launch the Travis Manion Foundation to provide assistance to veterans and family members of fallen soldiers in her son's memory. Having experienced the side effects of her son's service personally, it was only fitting that she offer help to those who were dealing with the same loss.

"The ultimate goal of the Travis Manion Foundation is to empower veterans and the families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations," stated Molly Boyle, Director of Strategic Communications for the Travis Manion Foundation. "We believe our military community has a unique set of experiences and can be incredible assets to teach young people about things like resilience, courage, integrity, leadership, and selfless service."

The foundation operates on a unique mantra: "If Not Me, Then Who..." The goal is to spread this mantra to the nation- quite an ambitious feat, although they're well on their way to accomplishing this daunting task. "To date, veterans and families of the fallen have shared their personal stories of character with more than 150,000 young adults throughout the country," Boyle explained. "There is plenty more to do, of course, but we're already seeing the impact their efforts can have on an entire generation of leaders."

"TMF believes in what we call the 'generative' power of healing," Boyle affirms. "We can take an incredible tragedy, like the loss of a parent, sister, or son, and turn it into something really powerful to help others." By utilizing family members and veterans, they aim to encourage and reach the youth of the community, in order to instill the values of the fallen heroes in the next generation.

Left: Travis Manion, Right: Brendan Looney

But, passing on these values is not all the foundation works toward. "For survivors, we offer regional, national, and international expeditions," Boyle detailed. "These single-day and multi-day events connect surviving family members with one another and bring them together to serve a community in need in honor of their lost loved one. While most of these expeditions are intended to serve adults, we have a very exciting one coming up this summer that will directly support teens."

The Travis Manion Foundation doesn't work solely alone. They aim to partner with other foundations, business, and more to facilitate further programs for those in need. Some of these partners include organizations such as Philadelphia Outward Bound and Team Jesse Foundation. "This is how we honor the fallen," said Boyle. "We continue their legacy of character and spread the 'If Not Me, Then Who...' ethos to others."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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