NorthwestMilitary.com | By: Marguerite Cleveland
David Kim founded the Children of Fallen Patriots in 2002 after serving with Sgt. William Delaney Gibbs who was killed in action during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. Kim never forgot him, or the daughter he left behind. His memory spurred Kim to establish the organization, which now serves Gold Star families in all 50 states and in all branches of the military. The vision is to ensure that every child of a fallen patriot receives all necessary college funding.
According to research conducted by The Lucas Group on behalf of Children of Fallen Patriots, nearly 20,000 dependents have been left behind over the past 35 years. The Children of Fallen Patriots strives to reach out to these families and help provide educational support. So far they have granted over $28.8 million in scholarships. They have developed a database of surviving families and they have identified 1,389 children who can use their help.
The organization offers scholarships and educational counseling. The average age of students starting in their program is 10 years old. One of the unique things about their program is there is no deadline. You can apply at any time and their streamlined process usually has an answer within four weeks. Their program's staff are surviving children who graduated with the assistance of Fallen Patriots, so they can relate to the experiences of the families, because they have been there themselves.
Fallen Patriots scholar Dee Muñiz graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science in Health. She has previously worked with a nonprofit organization that supports homeless mothers and children with disabilities. She has a passion for serving others and is proud to now be a Scholarship Administrator with Fallen Patriots.
Her father, Spc. Dennis Hauschel, served in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged after sustaining gunshot wounds, which left him 100 percent disabled at 21 years old. Dennis received numerous medals for his service, including a Bronze Star Medal, Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal among others. Her father was a great example of humility, kindness and courage, which she uses to strengthen herself every day.
Dee's family is grateful to Fallen Patriots because, "Fallen Patriots allowed my sisters and I to pursue our dreams fearlessly knowing that we have a family with Fallen Patriots, which was there to help support us through college." The passing of her father was a difficult time for her family, but ultimately, she knows that it was all part of God's plan. Dee believes that, "The love shared is a bond that will never be forgotten, and because of his sacrifice, I am stronger today than I ever knew I could be."
Her story is just one of the many families who have been helped by Children of Fallen Patriots. For more information about the program and how to help this worthy organization, visit: fallenpatriots.org.