Survivor Stories

Our Families of the Fallen Heal Through Service

Why We Support Families of the Fallen

Our fallen heroes endured the hardest elements and overcame the toughest obstacles. They left the ones they loved the most for a higher calling and a greater good. We believe it is our duty to preserve their legacies of character and service for this generation and the next. 

We honor their sacrifice with deeds, not words. The “If Not Me, Then Who…” ethos inspires a call to action in each of us. Travis Manion Foundation supports the people willing to never forget and inspires them to teach and train the principles of character and service.

Steve & Susan Cavanaugh


Steve and Susan Cavanaugh lost their son, Max, suddenly in 2007. SPC Max Cavanaugh had been a convoy escort driver and gunner in Iraq, a position he volunteered for, even though he was trained as a mechanic. He didn't make a big deal out of it. He just saw it as a job that needed to be done.

When someone asked Steve Cavanaugh how he was doing after the passing of his son, he said he never knew the meaning of sad until now. When the Cavanaughs began participating in TMF Expeditions, they began to heal.

At first, it was about understanding their loss. Now, they see it as a beautiful opportunity to find ways to contribute and help people who are now where they once were, to go through the same journey they did. They honor Max by continuing his legacy of service.

Through the work the Cavanaughs have done with TMF, they proudly say that they find active ways to honor Max’s legacy. “You can have all the overpasses named after him and pictures of him all you want but those are in the past, there are ways now that we have that we can look to the future and honor him going forward.”

Your donation ensures that families like the Cavanaughs have the opportunity to honor their fallen heroes and honor their legacy to ensure, though they are gone from the world, they are alive in service.

Adam Dumont


Adam was just seven years old when his brother, Sgt. Paul Dumont, Jr., United States Army, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. Their mother, Bonnie, says, “They were very close.... He really looked up to Paul Jr. because he was the jokester of the family, getting everybody together.”

Adam has attended two Teen Expeditions with TMF with other Gold Star children. He volunteers his time serving on the Richmond 9/11 Heroes Run committee and hopes to become a Character Does Matter mentor one day as well as a Peer to Peer mentor for other survivors.

Adam credits Travis Manion Foundation with teaching him that the cause is greater than himself, and to help one another we must be trained mentally, physically, and spiritually. “It has shown me that not all injuries are exposed. A lot of people are hurt inside and through challenges, discussion, and self-test, healing can happen.”

Adams feels it is up to him to make a difference in other people’s lives: “Anybody can sit back and watch, but someone has to take the lead and, “If Not Me, Then Who…” With your donation, family members of fallen heroes will be able to receive the same support that fueled Adam. Together we can all keep the legacy of these heroes alive.

Our Duty Is Never Done

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TMF Stats:
001 60,000+ Veterans + Survivors Empowered
002 115,000+ Spartan Members
003 300,000+ Youth Living "If Not Me, Then Who..." Movement