WACO, Texas (KWTX) We can never show too much appreciation for our military and their service.
Sunday March 4th is National "Hug a GI" day, a time to show support for all branches of the military.
Haley Hartwick- a graduate of Baylor University, calls Central Texas home, but she spent much of her life moving around during her father’s service in the army.
On April 1, 2006 her dad, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Lee Hartwick, Jr. was killed in action in Iraq when his helicopter was shot down during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Seven years later, the Children of Fallen Patriots program started helping Haley when she started at Baylor by paying tuition fees and the costs of studying abroad.
After graduating debt-free last May, she began working for the foundation to help give back to the community that supported her after she lost her father.
She now serves as the foundation's Development Administrator.
"Education is what a young person needs to succeed nowadays," says Hartwick.
"So many students struggle to pay their way through college- we can step in and bridge that gap and provide not only an education, but a friend, a supporter who believes in their dreams and wants to see them succeed through life."
She says there are 20,000 children in our country who have lost a parent on active duty over the past 35 years.
The organization’s goal is to find and help every single one of them.
If you know of any gold star students who have lost a parent in combat, please click on the link where they can apply for a college scholarship.
If you’d like to support the organization also see the link attached.
"Every bit counts because you're ensuring the education of a gold star student- which is the best way to honor some of our fallen," says Hartwick.
And of course don’t forget to hug a current or former member of the military this Sunday.