Laura Youngblood knows all too well the true meaning of sacrifice. Both Laura and her husband, Travis, served in the military as combat medics where they met. It was love at first sight and they got married a month later.
When Laura was called up for active duty a few years later, they had a little boy, Hunter. Travis wanted her to be able to stay home with Hunter and eventually return to school, so he volunteered to take her place.
During the deployment to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq in 2005, his unit was hit by an IED. Despite his severe injuries, he asked the medics on the field to help his fellow Marines first, and come back for him later. He said he felt like it was his responsibility to save them first. Six days later, he died.
Laura knew that he was gone before anyone even knocked on her door. She woke up in the middle of the night, knowing something was wrong. At the time, she was 8 months pregnant.
Today, she does everything she can to make sure her children, Hunter, 14, and Emma, 9, know who their father was and keep his memory alive. She tells them how he signed up for the military to protect his family, friends, fellow service members and his country. On Memorial Day and his birthday each year, they write Travis messages on balloons and send them up.
While there have been many struggles since he passed, she is comforted knowing there are so many people and organizations who want to help. She first heard about Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation from a friend and was more than relieved to learn the group wanted to help cover the costs for both children to attend college. "Travis and I often talked about how we wanted our children to go to college and have every opportunity that a quality education could provide them. I can't explain what a relief it is for our entire family to know that someone is willing to help us achieve this dream," said Youngblood.