As I write today, there are many kids like Devin Casillas who are anxiously packing their bags and getting ready for the start of college thanks to the kindness of our generous supporters of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. These students will join many other gold star students who have already begun their college experience.

But these young men and women won’t have both parents there with them for that unforgettable first day when the journey toward a successful future suddenly becomes real.

Students like Devin have lost their father or mother in military service to our country. For them, it has been a long and difficult journey to reach this point in their young lives. Your compassion and support are making things a little easier for Devin and other students and their families.

 “Words cannot express how grateful we are for the Foundation,” says Devin who has a passion for powerlifting and will be studying Kinesiology while hoping to pursue a career in physical therapy.

“Being a freshman in college and not yet knowing what to expect, the Foundation has helped my mother and I to be a little more at ease by explaining the process and allowing us not to be stressed by so many financial obligations.”

Easing the burden of paying for a higher education is the least we can do for the children and families of those who have gone to war and died for our country.

Today, nine years later, Devin’s heart still aches for the fun-loving, athletic guy who could light up a room – his dad.

“My father would always come visit me at school during the lunch hour and make all my friends laugh. He always made your day. We’d go to the arcade together or to pro sports games. Every time I was around him it would always be a blast and would make my day. He was like my best friend when he was here.”

For students like Devin, the upcoming weeks and months will be exhilarating. But as excited as they’ll be for this new beginning in life, these kids will surely feel the heartache and sadness of not having their dads or moms there to share in the experience.

Devin may not be able to experience college with his father there to witness this milestone, but because of you, he is taking a major step in pursuing the dreams his father died protecting. As we launch the Class of ’19 Monthly giving program, I invite everyone to commit to a gift starting at just $19 a month as a way of honoring SSG Casillas’ sacrifice and as way to stand in the gap for Devin—the gap we will never be able to fill, but one that we can certainly help bridge together.


John Coogan

Executive Director