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Gold Star Parents' Nonprofits Honor 13 Killed at Kabul Airport
Official list from the families of the charities they started to help current military and veterans and honor the fallen
Many of the Gold Star parents of the 13 service members killed in the airport bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan have fueled their grief into setting up charities to honor their children’s sacrifice.
In speaking with the families, I found there was no central place for the public to find their nonprofits to support them. So this is a starting point to know the legitimate, official charities run by the Gold Star parents.
Keep reading past the list to hear directly from the parents about their purpose and mission.
Gold Star Parents Non-Profits
Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss: The Respect and Remember Memorial Foundation
Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz: The Freedom 13 Organization
GOLD STAR PARENTS, in their own words
Darin Hoover, Gold Star father of Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover:
We want to help kids who want education to get that leg up in society. We’ve given out $15,000 from Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover Memorial Scholarships for kids who display honor, courage and commitment, which are the Marine Corps values. Donate here.
Paul Knauss Selph, Gold Star mother of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss
The Respect and Remember Foundation was started earlier this year and has given out merit scholarships to high school ROTC cadets entering the military. We support active military families with welcome home and deployment packages. We also partner with veteran organizations that offer recreational outlets, honor parades, and veteran rides and seek policy changes the state and federal government agencies. We have many events to come in Tennessee and Florida to honor our men and women in the military. Our first Kabul 13 Memorial Event is in Corryton, TN on Aug. 26. Donate here.
Alicia Lopez, Gold Star mother of Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez:
When Hunter completed “boot camp” in 2017, we took notice of several young Marines who did not have parents supporting them on family day and graduation day. We discovered their families across the United States could not afford to travel to the Marine Recruiting Depot in San Diego, CA. These young marines were starting their adult lives serving our country and reaching a milestone in their lives without family present to share it with.
We set about to change this by starting the Cpl. Hunter Lopez Memorial Foundation from money that was raised for our family after Hunter’s passing. To date, we have sponsored 10 families to pay for all travel expenses for the parents of young Marines to come share in the momentous time in their lives. See photos of them here. We also pay to send Marines home to be reunited with their families for the December holidays and grieving times.
We have also been able to purchase two service dogs and paid for three dogs to be trained as service animals for their Marines. Donate here.
Wendy Adelson, Gold Star Mother of Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page:
As a way to perpetuate Daegan's zest for living a full send life and his drive to face life's challenges head-on, we founded the Cpl Daegan Page Foundation. Our volunteers demonstrate that love never ends through the commitment to support past and present servicemembers, the communities that surround them, and the loved ones of those whom we will never forget. To date, the foundation has distributed over $50,000.
In addition to fulfilling its mission, the foundation encourages others to live life the “DaeWay.” This means living every moment with experiences and adventures and facing your challenges by knowing they can be overcome. It means being a good friend and family member. It's smiling, laughing loudly, and living louder. It's chasing passions that bring you joy and confidence to be the best person you can be. The DaeWay means taking a chance and living without regrets each day that you have on earth.
You can honor Daegan and his sacrifice by working within the community to provide support and give back to the military and veterans. Do things the DaeWay. Donate here.
Mark Schmitz, Gold Star father of Marine Lance Cpl Jared Schmitz:
My wife Jaclyn and started our nonprofit the Freedom 13 Organization. We have raised nearly $ 800,000 so far and our mission is simple but a big one.
We plan to acquire and build recreational retreat camps in every state in the United States starting with our home state of Missouri. The camps will operate similarly to an Airbnb but only for veterans and their immediate families— and at no charge to them.
Each of the camps will be on about 100 acres. We will build 14 homes on each property — 13 for veterans and one extra house for a veteran to work full-time as a property manager and live on-site free of charge. This is what we will spend the rest of our lives doing. Donate here
Comments are open to all. I’ll update this post as needed.
SAY THEIR NAMES
The 13 service members who were killed while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel on Aug. 26, 2021, in alphabetical order:
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Lee Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas.
Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin “Taylor” Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee.
Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California.
Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska.
Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Louis, Missouri.
Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio