A Soldier’s Child Foundation was born from a single photograph. The photo by Aaron Thompson won the Associated Press Managing Editor’s Photo of the Year. The compelling image depicts 8 year old Christian Golczynski being presented a folded American flag at the funeral of his father Marc.
Daryl Mackin was a neighbor of Marc’s parents. For months after Marc’s death, he did everything he could for them. Then one day Marc’s dad said. “Did it really matter and does anyone give a damn?”
While planning his son’s birthday Daryl glanced up at that photo of Christian Golczynski and was struck that this little boy would never again celebrate a birthday with his father.
A Navy Veteran himself, Daryl was spurred to action, creating A Soldier’s Child Foundation. Their first initiative was to honor the children of the fallen on their birthdays. They currently support over 5,000 children in all 50 states. The average expenditure per child is $150 but they also spent more to fulfill special wishes. The Foundation includes children of warriors who have died long after combat from complications of their wounds and even suicide.
The Foundation also conducts various camps around the country where children of the fallen can come together to help each other heal through their common experience. These children learn they are not alone and are helped to develop nurture the skills they will need in life as survivors. “In order to sustain each other you have to be around each other.”
Their third initiative provides educational assistance through the Xavier Martin “Fill in the Gap” memorial scholarship program. This program focuses on children who do not qualify for scholarships from other government or non-profit organizations.
TAKEAWAY: “This is not our government’s debt to pay. It’s every American citizen’s debt that we care for the families of our fallen and the children should be first on our list of giving.”