A name and memory are all that is left after someone dies, but the actions we take to continue their legacy can ensure they are never forgotten.
I know this all too well as my own father passed away when I was an infant. I am named after him and every day I ‘Honor the name,’ the motto on my memorial bracelet right next to ‘If not me, then who…’ Whether I am putting in hours at the library or gym, I look down at my bracelet and ask if I am honoring my Dad and Travis Manion, a leader and Marine that I hope to emulate in my own career after I graduate from the University of San Diego.
In order to preserve the legacy of many others who gave their lives, I founded the USD HERO Club (Honor, Empower, Remember, Overcome). Our mission is to raise awareness for student veterans attending universities and colleges across the United States, as well as service members who were killed in action. We accomplish this mission by dedicating high intensity, military inspired workouts to fallen heroes and sharing their stories with the campus community. These workouts are meant to inspire members to achieve more than they thought they were physically and mentally capable of accomplishing. We invite veterans to come to workouts to allow them to share their experiences and stories.
We were fortunate to have Albie Masland, TMF Southeast Regional Director, at a majority of our workouts through the semester, starting a relationship between HERO and the foundation. Albie was a big influence on me in the time before he moved to North Carolina. He exemplified driven character and not letting any obstacle stop you from achieving your goals, all while having a positive attitude and empowering those around you. I especially took away his advice to be “durable,” a trait that helped him complete his cross-country run to benefit TMF. Both mentally and physically, durability will lead to success whether it be during a 3,025 mile run, a workout like the Manion WOD, or as a future military leader.
In order to serve TMF, we have volunteered at the Heroes Run, Operation Legacy Project, and hosted the Manion WOD on our campus within this year. The Manion WOD was an incredible experience with over 50 participants including veterans, active-duty Navy SEALs, representatives from the San Diego TMF office, and college students, all coming together to honor Travis on the 10th anniversary of his death. At the end of the workout, I got emotional seeing so many people honoring Travis and ensuring his memory lives on.
Aside from my work with HERO, I am excited to intern at the TMF office in San Diego this summer. I am looking forward to working within the organization to make an impact and work to make a difference in the influential work that takes places at the foundation. I am fully aware of the importance of remembering one’s legacy. I am proud to work with TMF and honor those who are no longer with us, ensuring they are never forgotten.