Student Spotlight: Daniel Irizarry

Having lost two parents by the time he was fifteen, Daniel Irizarry didn’t lead an easy childhood. Rather than turning down a dark path, Danny followed in his father’s uniformed footsteps. With the financial help of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and his own perseverance, Danny graduated from the University of New Haven in Connecticut and now protects the city of New York as a police officer.

When Danny was ten years old, his mother lost her battle with cancer. Four years later, his father, Army Staff Sergeant Henry Irizarry, was killed in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee.

Danny’s father never settled for excuses and after his father’s death, Danny used this mentality to get through his difficult time. He thought, “why live my ‘boo hoo’ story when I can get up on my own two feet?”

Getting up on his own two feet is exactly what he did. He set a goal to graduate from his dream school, the University of New Haven, and achieved it. After the excitement of being enrolled in the school he had always wanted to attend wore off, Danny began to panic – the University of New Haven was, indeed, his dream school, but it was also a private school and tuition was adding up quickly.

Danny placed a call to Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, and it became a day he will never forget. After explaining his situation, he remembers hearing “no worries. You’re going to send us the bill and we’re going to take care of you.”

Danny graduated from his dream school with a degree in criminal justice. Two weeks after graduation, he received a call from the New York Police Department’s Police Academy. For more than a year, Danny has been helping to clean up the city’s worst neighborhoods in the South Bronx.

Danny knows his father would have had “the utmost respect for his current profession because he would have understood the gravity of being a police officer in the Bronx.” With Danny protecting them, we have no doubt that the people of New York are safe. It’s stories like his that motivate us to continue our mission to provide college scholarships to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

To get involved and to learn more about Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, visit www.fallenpatriots.org.