There is a strong presence of strength, unity and cheer that fills American families during the holidays.  For most families, the holidays are a time for joy; however, for surviving military families, it can be a reminder of the loved one they are missing.  As you consider helping those in need this holiday season, consider recognizing the many sacrifices military families make.

Tyler Funk and Dad.jpg

Tyler Funk’s greatest memories of her father, Air Force Major Brad “Gyro” Funk, are the memories of them having fun together like the time her dad ran onto the field after one of her soccer games and did a standing back tuck.  “Brad, Brad, the wonder dad!” Tyler’s teammates shouted as they jumped and cheered from the sidelines. Today, she looks back on this memory with fondness.

On May 1, 2008, Major Funk was killed in a training mission when his T-38 jet crashed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.  Tyler was just 13 years old.  While the loss of her father changed Tyler’s life forever, she didn’t let it hold her back from following her dreams.  With the help of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, Tyler is working hard to make her hero proud.  She is a junior at Utah State University where she is studying Music Therapy with the hopes of making a difference in the lives of others.

 “I’ve loved music my whole life, and I think I used it as an outlet and a way to comfort me and deal with my emotions after my father’s death,” Tyler said.  “When I found out about the Music Therapy program, it all made perfect sense in my brain.  It’s the perfect way for me to help people, to have music do the same thing for others as it did for me.”

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is proud to support surviving military children, like Tyler, as they strive to pursue their dreams and make their heroes proud.