RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski died serving our country. After his good friend, Daryl Mackin, saw a touching picture of his son at his funeral, he decided the nation needs to stand beside our fallen soldiers by supporting the children they leave behind.
That’s when he came up with A Soldier’s Child Foundation.
“This is the one thing that brings everybody together. It’s about a child, it’s about a child that lost a parent, and that parent signed that contract so we can live free,” explained Mackin. “We owe it to these children to come alongside them and care for them in this way.”
A Soldier’s Child Foundation caters to more than 2,500 children who have lost a parent in combat, training accident, or suicide.
The foundation offers leadership and mentorship events, hunting and fishing camps, math, science and even music and therapy camps.
Mackin received a call from a mother after her son returned home from one of their camps. He was asking questions about his father, playing with the neighborhood kids and talking about life. She said he had come out of his shell.
“I said, ‘I really believe with the love honor and hope that we bring to the children that we’re changing their lives,’ and she said matter of fact, ‘I don’t think it’s a stretch because I’ve seen it happen.’ She said, ‘Daryl, I don’t think you’re changing their lives, I think you’re saving their lives.”
Mackin says it’s all about making sure the kids know the sacrifice their parent made will never be forgotten.
Birthday gifts and surprise parties are also a big part of what they do.
Compassionate corporate partners like healthcare company Owens and Minor are helping to make those birthdays special. They surprised 10-year-old Remington with a massive party.
“He’s big into hunting and fishing, and he’s a part of ASC hunting and fishing events, so knowing that we shopped for a lot of gifts for him,” said Rob Proctor, the regional vice president for Owens and Minor.
He continued, “We got him a fishing pole, a tent. We got him a lot of camping gear and stuff like that.”
More than 100 employees also spent a few days shopping and wrapping gifts for 175 other kids to ship out next week for February birthdays.
“These kids are stuck with questions of did it really matter that my mom or dad was over there, and does anyone even really care that they’re no longer here?” said Proctor.
“When you have that mindset and you’re wrapping these gifts and then we have a birthday party and the kids are there and you’re presenting a bike or whatever toy they want for their birthday and you see them light up, I think that what I saw there was a little bit of, yes, I kind of do see that it matters, and there is some purpose in what my parent did.”
Any local businesses that want to sponsor a birthday month for the kids or if you’re interested in volunteering for A Soldier’s Child Foundation, click here.