‘Honor the fallen by challenging the living’ Travis Manion Foundation

As the surviving father of a fallen warrior, I continue to work my way through the journey of grief. My name is John Mosko and Chris was a Navy EOD officer who was killed in Ghazni, Afghanistan along with Dick Lee and Brandon Eggleston, two Army ODA warrior as well as Fibi, their bomb dog on April 26, 2012.  4 months later, Chris’ teammate, Sean Carson, Navy EOD, was killed in a helo crash in Afghanistan.  Sean had called me on Father’s Day since he knew I would be missing Chris.  I was at Dover AFB when Sean was repatriated.

Since that terrible day when Gayle, my wife, Meredith, my daughter, and Amanda, daughter-in-law, learned of Chris’ death, life has been a days of progress and moments of regress. Two plus years later, I finally feel like I am really adapting to this new ‘normal’. It should never be normal for a parent to outlive their child. While I have tried (and occasionally succeeded) to not live vicariously through my children, it is hard not to imagine their future, full of hope and love and discovery.

I have tried to find ways to ‘Honor the fallen by challenging the living’ (Travis Manion Foundation www.tmfoundation.org) and sometimes it was easier to feel sorry for myself and not overcome the barriers.

That changed on Friday, August 29, 2014.  Since Chris’ death, I wanted to pick a major athletic challenge to honor him.  I like to do triathlons and my ultimate goal is to get myself back in shape for a half-Iron Tri but I needed to start somewhere.

That somewhere was my home in Avondale, PA where I put myself on my bicycle at 06:20 and rode to our friends’ vacation home in Bethany Beach, DE, a ride of 112 miles.  It was planned as a solo ride since most people thought this was crazy.  Gayle knew enough to let me try.

Then, a friend, Frank Masley (www.militarygloves.com) got in touch and said he wanted to ride with me.  This was a welcome offer and, in retrospect, Frank’s presence and Gayle’s support assured my success.

My ride was specifically dedicated in memory of Chris as well as in honor of Nate Hathaway, my son in law, who is currently serving as an Army Captain and medical physician for our troops.  In general, this was a ride for all the Fallen Warriors as well as all those who have served and continue to serve.  I wore a cycling outfit from the EOD Warrior Foundation (www.eodwarriorfoundation.org) issued for their 2013 two day California ride given to me by Amanda.  In about 20 pounds, it will actually look OK on this old body.

The two organizations which I am supporting with a donation to each are EOD Warrior Foundation and Travis Manion Foundation (www.tmfoundation.org).  Each has provided support along the way. Tom Manion is the father of Travis Manion, a fallen Marine warrior and has helped me understand more about the path I will travel.  The TMF 9/11 Heroes Runs (www.travismanion.org/get-involved/911-heroes-run) will honor the sacrifices of the heroes of 9/11 – the fallen and the living. I will be doing the virtual run as I will not be able to attend one in person.  It will be dedicated to my friend, Kevin Eitel, who ran in when others were running away because of his Army training.  He now suffers with lung complications.

I write this because we all need to inspect our lives and find ways to honor, remember and support those who have sacrificed.  Please join me and remember those who have sacrificed to make our freedom and our way of life possible.

 

Frank Masley of Military Gloves, me wearing my EOD Warrior kit, Gold Star pin, EOD pin, and Travis Manion Foundation pin

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Author: John

Business Executive with Marketing, Product, Sales and General Management Experience. Currently, consulting in areas of strategic marketing, pricing excellence, key account management, and market driven innovation. Love to read, ride my bike, swim, compete in tri's, pick/drink wine, meet with friends, live life.

One thought on “‘Honor the fallen by challenging the living’ Travis Manion Foundation”

  1. I totally understand your new “normal”. A day has not passed since we lost Chris that I have not thought or spoken about him in one aspect or another. I suppose there will always be a sadness accompanying all major holidays for me and my family. I remember attending a funeral for a small child and a priest stating that it is unnatural to out live your children, but only faith can give us the grace to accept that which we can not understand.
    Nothing can compare to the pain of seeing your own child’s heart broken at the tragic loss of an amazing man. I remember driving to your home when we got the news, and at 58 years, I had never experienced a regret that deep. It grieves me even more deeply that my daughter should have to experience such sadness at 26 years of age. she and Chris were both so young, so innocent, so bright, and so willing to serve.
    While i waited for my children to return home safely from school on Sept 11, I remember a TV commentator making the statement that “Life in America would never be the same”. I had no idea at the time that this statement would have such personal implications on my immediate family. My heart goes out to all the military families and the first responders who give so much to protect us from Terror. I pray that more Americans will raise their awareness of the excruciating sacrifices that our hero’s and their families have made and continue to make every day and stop taking Freedom for granted.

    Like

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