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Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots) honors the sacrifices of fallen military heroes by ensuring the success of their children through college education. Since 2002, Fallen Patriots has provided more than $30.2 million in total assistance, including college scholarships and educational counseling to over 1,500 military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

The non-profit organization helps bridge a $32,000 funding gap between government assistance programs and the cost of a four-year degree.  In addition to financial assistance, many surviving military families are comforted to receive emotional support from Fallen Patriots’ Veteran and Gold Star staff members. 

Enrollment Coordinator Kylie Owen Willis is the daughter of fallen U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kirk Owen.  She was fifteen years old when he died while deployed in Afghanistan.  Owen was a leader in the Scout and Sniper Platoon on the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat team and was killed in action by an improvised explosive device.

Kylie will always remember her dad’s smile which she says, “could light up a room”. He left a legacy of kindness with a big heart which he passed on to Kylie. The last thing her father told her was to “be good,” and she strives to do that every day.

With the help of Fallen Patriots, Kylie graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Promotion. Before that, she received her associate degree in Health and Human Performance at Tulsa Community College. After receiving her associate degree, she worked in the fitness industry since health and wellness has always been a passion of hers. This passion was further developed through her love of basketball which she both played and coached at the high school level. Basketball was always an important part of her life.  It was something that her and her dad shared and bonded over. “I pride myself in not only knowing how to play basketball, but in knowing how the game works and the strategy behind it,” explains Kylie. “That’s what my dad helped me learn and now that’s how I approach everything in life.”

When a position opened at Fallen Patriots, Kylie decided it was time to pursue her other lifelong passion of representing and serving Gold Star Children like herself. Now through Fallen Patriots, Kylie gets to advocate for Gold Star children and families everyday while also giving back to an organization that gave her and her sister so much.

As 63% of surviving spouses report having trouble making ends meet earning less than $50,000 per year, the vision of Fallen Patriots is to extend peace of mind to Gold Star families in all 50 states, in all branches of the military.  Research conducted by The Lucas Group indicates nearly 20,000 dependents have been left behind by troops killed in the line of duty over the past 35 years.  Fallen Patriots is working to identify and support every child in need through raising funds and awareness of the mission.

“We are honored by the support of the thousands of individuals and companies across America who have answered this call to support Gold Star families,” said David Kim, co-founder and CEO of Fallen Patriots.  “Not every patriot wears a uniform, and we are deeply grateful to all those who are rendering this important service to our military and their families.”  To learn more, visit www.fallenpatriots.org