Cassidy La Bouff is the daughter of U.S. Army Major Douglas A. La Bouff. “My dad’s service means everything to me. He was the type of man where if he didn’t believe in what we were doing overseas, he would not have volunteered to go.” Maj. La Bouff lost his life in 2006 while serving in Iraq.
With the help of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation (Fallen Patriots), Cassidy is studying Journalism and Technical Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations at Colorado State University. “I believe my dad would be proud of the woman I am becoming. He always emphasized the importance of education, so I know he would be proud I’m pursuing a degree.”
Cassidy continues to pursue her education by spending her summer with Fallen Patriots team. Here is what she learned during her time as a summer intern:
Earlier this year, I attended the Atlanta Falcons/United FC Career Symposium with Children of Fallen Patriots. After the symposium, Fallen Patriots reached out me asking if I would be interested in interning for their Programs Department this summer. I was so excited when I heard about the internship opportunity! Fallen Patriots is an organization I hold very close to my heart, so when I was asked to work with the CFP Team I jumped at the opportunity!
During my time here I have done so many amazing things! I have helped our Enrollment Coordinator reach out to other Gold Star and Surviving families to get them enrolled, helped our scholarships team connect with students in our database, and helped our development teams reach out to other companies for potential partnerships.
It has been eye-opening to be on the other side of Fallen Patriots. As a recipient of a scholarship from Fallen Patriots, you don’t think about what happens behind the scenes. Children of Fallen Patriots goes beyond helping students with college scholarships. Seeing how dedicated everyone is to helping other Gold Star and Surviving Families is truly inspiring. Everyone on the Programs Team (including myself) are Gold Star and Surviving Children. There is something special and healing about helping other families who have gone through the same experiences.
I have learned so much during my ten weeks here in Dulles. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to not doubt yourself and to embrace new things. I had never been to Virginia before my internship and knew no one in the area, so moving here from Colorado was really nerve-racking for me. But everyone here in Dulles is so amazing and made me feel right at home from the first day. I also learned to not be afraid to share your ideas; big or small! The worst someone could say is no. It’s always worth the try. Like Michael Scott said in The Office, “you miss 100% of shots you don’t take.”
Aside from work, I’ve had so much fun exploring the Virginia, D.C., Maryland area! Like I mentioned earlier, I have never been to this area before, so it was amazing being able to visit all the monuments and other landmarks. The Washington Monument and the National Mall is my favorite! Another one of my favorite memories from this summer was going to Patriot Point with the CFP Programs Team! We all had so much fun paddle boarding, kayaking, and relaxing by the beach.
I have really enjoyed my time here at Children of Fallen Patriots. These last ten weeks have gone by so fast; I wish time would just slow down! I’m so thankful Cynthia and David Kim allowed me to be a part of their CFP team this summer and I’m very grateful for the relationships I’ve made during my time here. Everyone on the CFP staff are amazing individuals and I can proudly say are some of my closest friends.
In the Fall, Cassidy will return to Colorado State University where she also interns with the university’s athletics social media department. Her future career goals are to work in sports public relations and community outreach. There are approximately 20,000 children who have lost an active duty parent in the military over the last 35 years. The vision of Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is to ensure that every such child receives all necessary college funding.