Most children with loving parents know how much their mothers and fathers care for them and want the best for them.
And birthdays are often a celebration of that love. The time and expense parents put into making it a special day for their child do not go unnoticed. Of course, the presents help too.
But when one of those parents is no longer able to be there for the child on their birthday, the absence is felt intensely. Even if the child understands why.
Such is the case for kids whose parent passed away during or following service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
‘Convicted in My Spirit’
And that’s a big part of why A Soldier’s Child Foundation exists. One day Daryl Mackin was preparing for his 6-year-old son’s birthday party.
While typing out invitations, he looked up at a photo of his neighbor’s son, Christian. Christian’s father, Marc Golczynski, was a fallen soldier from the Iraq War.
Mackin, who had served as a chef in the U.S. Navy, had been looking at the work he was doing for his son’s invitations as a “chore.”
“I looked up at my wall and was immediately convicted in my spirit for my negative attitude,” he said. “My heart turned to Christian, who will never be able to have a party planned by his dad.
Many Benefit From the Few
“There are many children like Christian that will never receive another birthday from their father/mother. Because they gave their life while defending our freedoms.”
Mackin, founder and executive director of A Soldier’s Child, realizes he can never change that fact. But he also knows these children deserve much more than they receive.
“Ninety-nine percent of Americans never defended the freedoms that they get to live out in this country,” he said. “One percent of our population volunteers to do that and when they don’t come home, their children suffer for it.
“We’re caring about a population of children that nobody in our country is really thinking about. Part of our mission is to educate our country that these children – these families – exist. And really, they should be No. 1 on our list of giving.”
Birthday Celebrations, Camps & Scholarships
A Soldier’s Child honors the children of our fallen American defenders of freedom by celebrating their birthday every year through age 18.
ASC also holds numerous camps throughout the year for ASC kids ages 9-16 and mentors 18 and older.
ASC also facilitates secondary/college scholarships for ASC recipients in the program.
Despite no government funding, more than 3,700 children in all 50 states are currently enrolled in the program.
A Caravan of Cars
Since 2015, 4Patriots has been making monthly financial donations to A Soldier’s Child Foundation.
Recently, 4Patriots decided to take the relationship a step farther by co-hosting a surprise drive-by birthday party for a child of a fallen soldier in Middle Tennessee.
When the caravan of cars driven by 4Patriots employees, ASC staff and friends of 12-year-old Liam’s family arrived, they brought gifts from the child’s wish list. Plus a cake, balloons and yard signs.
They sang “Happy Birthday” to Liam and 4Patriots donated a one-year supply of Survival Food and a bundle of solar-powered products to the family.
Decorated Soldier Served in Afghanistan
Liam’s father, Major Benny Romero of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington and formerly of Killeen, Texas, passed away at age 38.
He joined the U.S. Army at age 18 and earned his Airborne badge, then went through ROTC and graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos. From 2001 to 2006 he was an active-duty officer in the armored tank division.
Benny received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Two tours in South Korea were followed by multiple yearlong deployments in Afghanistan.
He also was involved in a humanitarian mission to Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and the Philippines. He earned two Bronze Stars and numerous other awards. Benny is survived by his wife, Christina, and their children, Liam and Grace.
Benny missed most of Liam’s growing up years due to deployments and training. But he was overjoyed each time he returned to see him. He would say, “My son is going to be so much better than me. He is going to be smarter, kinder and stronger than I ever will be.”
Daryl Thanks 4Patriots
“A Soldier’s Child Foundation was founded in 2009 as a citizen initiative caring for the children of our fallen,” Daryl said.
“Little did we know that we would find companies across our country with the same heart as ours.”
“To find one in our own backyard and their name happens to be 4Patriots is no coincidence.”
“Indebted to you all at 4Patriots for your time, talent and treasure given to the special children we serve.”
The children of our fallen soldiers deserve so much more than they receive. Fortunately, A Soldier’s Child Foundation has stepped up to address this need and bring joy to those who have been neglected.