Joy met Col. Tom Manion on her way home from the gym nine years ago, shortly after the death of his son, Travis. After learning his story and the foundation built to honor his son’s legacy, Joy immediately responded with action. “I said, ‘If you'll take me in my gym clothes, I will be happy to come help you. I'll make phone calls, I'll address envelopes, whatever you want me to do, I'll do for as long as I can stay'." Joy has been a part of the TMF family ever since.
She serves on the committee for the 9/11 Heroes Run of Doylestown, PA which activates 4,000 community members each year, to honor the heroes of September 11th and the wars since. She organizes expo booths, golf events, and auctions to raise funds in support of TMF’s mission, and never misses an opportunity to share the “If Not Me, Then Who...” mantra of the foundation with everyone she meets.
She and her husband Ron even run the Marine Corps Marathon 10k every year with ‘Team and Travis and Brendan. As an active TMF volunteer, lively advocate, and avid runner, Joy is building upon her character every day, with no signs of slowing down. “Even at age 80, I can learn something new and redevelop my character every day,” she says. To Joy, developing character is a lifelong process that requires introspection and critical awareness. “That means that you are constantly re-evaluating yourself, and taking inventory of your insides, learning from your mistakes and repeating your successes.” If you do this, Joy suggests, your character can truly “go out of its way, to find a way.”
It helps to have greats role models, of course, and a healthy dose of gratitude. Joy looks to our men and women in uniform—and Travis Manion and Brendan Looney in particular—for that inspiration. “Travis and Brendan gave their lives for my freedom and I just feel like I have to live my life [to honor] that sacrifice. I get up every day and I think, if God gave me this gift of one more day, I have to make the most of it, and I have to earn the right to be here. So, here I am, doing what I can do.”
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