The Officer March/April 2014 : Page 30

A Growing Need While war causalities wind down, the number of people grieving the losses of all service member deaths—from combat, suicide, and other circum-stances—is increasing. In 2012, TAPS helped 4,807 new survivors (13 per day) who were grieving the death of a service member or recent vet-eran. This was a 46 percent increase from 2011, when they assisted seven people per day on average. TAPS recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Guard to provide bereavement care for griev-ing military families. —Janine Boldrin In a photo dated May 2006, SGT Bryan McDonough patrols an area around Fallujah, Iraq, where he was stationed. (Photo courtesy of the McDonough family) Building a New Future More than 13,000 parents have lost a child serving in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan during the Global War on Terrorism. Many, like the Drevnicks and McDonoughs, take immense pride in their child’s selfess service. “He died honorably,” said Mr. McDonough, who estab-lished the Bryan McDonough Military Heroes Foundation in 2007. “I guess that is one of the things that we fnd comfort-ing. I tell people he died doing something he believed in.” Initially, the family had hoped to help individual mili-tary families but found the task difcult. “It seems like those who really need help are not the ones that will ask for it,” Mr. McDonough said. Te decision was made to cast a wider net—raising money for half the cost of constructing the $5.2 million Fisher House at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. So far, Mr. McDonough’s foundation has raised more than $300,000. Te 62 Fisher Houses located across the United States and Germany have provided housing for more than 180,000 fami-lies of military members and veterans receiving care at major medical and VA medical centers. Even with the war winding down, the need for services such as those of the Fisher House will most likely continue because of the longevity of the wounds and injuries many vet-erans face. “My fear is that people will forget [the fallen],” said Mr. McDonough. “By keeping the foundation going, even if it never grows, it will show that people have not forgotten.” Never Forgotten On average, it takes fve to seven years for families who have experienced the tragic death of a close loved one to read-just and begin to feel settled. Te desire to help other service members and their families has become an integral part of the journey traveled by many fallen service members’ fami-lies. Te organizations are also a guarantee that their loved one’s legacy of service lives on. But for each family that is coping and fnding an outlet for their grief, many are still sufering in silence, paralyzed by their loss. Te smaller nonprofts formed by RC families have not only helped families in their journey, but have also become the path for others who are struggling to fnd their way. 30 the O fficer / M arch -a pril 2014

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