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Steve Cannon, CEO of the Arthur M. Blank Family of Businesses, is new to Atlanta but already making a difference for Georgia military families.
"As busy as I am with the Falcons, a brand new stadium and a startup Atlanta United soccer franchise, there's always room to give back," Cannon told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.
A graduate of West Point, Cannon is one of the founders of the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, named for Colonel John McHugh.
Col. John McHugh was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010. He had served for 24 years in the United States Army. He left behind his wife and five children. (Photo: Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund)
"We were buddies at West Point," Cannon explained. "He was on assignment in Afghanistan. There was a suicide bomb, and he became one of the most senior officers killed in action over there."
Cannon said it was a devastating blow.
"John was gone, and he had five kids," Cannon said. "Our mission as his classmates was to focus on his family and take care of his kids."
They did it, but didn't stop and instead expanded their mission by creating the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund.
In just two years, they've raised almost $8 million and awarded more than 300 college scholarships to children of fallen soldiers.
"By taking care of their kids, we feel like we're honoring their sacrifice," Cannon said.
The Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund was created to provide college scholarships to the children of fallen soldiers. (Photo: Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund)
The nonprofit organization has identified more than 5,000 children who will need help with college beyond what VA benefits cover.
In Georgia and across the country, the mission continues.
"The need is so great," Cannon added