Brittanie Hawkins

Brittanie and Patrick Hawkins

My name is Brittanie, and I am the widow of a KIA Ranger from 3/75. I write today to share my personal account of how the Lead the Way Fund assisted me during the single most painful, upheaving, and tragic situation of my life.

Some of you may remember the budget sequestration that occurred in OCT 2013. It was during that time that that my husband, Patrick, and four of his comrades [Cody, Joe, Jenny, and Jany (K9)] were killed, as well as several other soldiers were severely injured. I remember well-meaning friends calling and asking “how are you going to pay for the funeral if the government is shutdown?!” In my shock and devastation, that was something that I hadn’t even thought about… However, I did not have to fret for long, as my CAO reassured me that a couple of Ranger charities had offered their assistance and that I should just focus my energy on healing. The Lead the Way Fund was one of those charities. They were there from the beginning and continue to be a source of support and strength for me to this very day. They made me rest assure that my husband would receive a dignified funeral, and that he would never be forgotten. Additionally, they also made sure that I was given peace of mind until I was able to get up on my feet.

When time passed and this tragedy ebbed from the minds of many, the Lead the Way Fund’s generosity and sincerity did not fade away. Every year they host Jimmy’s Run Down Hero Highway, a 4.5 mile Run/Walk/Stroll and celebratory brunch in New York City. All proceeds from the day go to support the families of our US Army Rangers who have been killed, disabled or are currently serving in harm’s way around the world. In conjunction with The American Fallen Soldiers Project, they present memorial portraits to the families of two Fallen Rangers. This year, two years after the boys’ death, they honored Patrick and Cody by hosting our families for this incredible, cathartic event. They were altruistic, respectful of our pain, and took care of absolutely everything.

The Lead the Way Fund has my full confidence, support, and appreciation. I find it most important to note that its founders, Jim and Mary Reagan, founded this organization in memory of their son, Jimmy, who was killed by an IED in Iraq in 2007. This charity exists to honor their son, and it exists to honor the Fallen as well as the Wounded. From the little time that I have spent with the Reagan’s, the love of their son is so palpable. They have channeled this devastating tragedy into a means of serving our community and making their son proud.

 

 

The B. Family

Dear Lead The Way Fund,

We wanted to thank you greatly for the amazing gift card you gave us for Christmas. It helped us provide the most amazing Christmas for our two daughters. Your thoughtfulness means the world to us. Our four year old told us this was the ‘best Christmas ever!’ which was the best present we could have received.

The holidays have been a bit more stressful since my husband was injured, not only monetarily but because the anniversary of his injury falls in December. Your love and support truly helped us have a wonderful holiday season. We can’t put into words how much it means to us and how grateful we are.

Thank you again.

The B. Family

Remembering SGT James J. Regan

Nine years ago tonight, the world lost an incredible young man – a beloved son, fiance, brother, nephew, uncle, grandson, dear friend and great Warrior.
We will never forget the sacrifice, SGT James J. Regan and the Regan family made protecting our country, our religious freedoms and our way of life. Jimmy’s character, integrity and the way he lived his life continues to be an inspiration to so many people.
Through Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, we strive every day to keep his memory and legacy alive by helping the men and families of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment – the men he called his Brothers.
Rest In Peace Jimmy. You will ALWAYS lead the way for us!
Rangers Lead The Way!

Kyle & Taylor Emmons

 

Lead The Way Fund has been great to our family in the past two years since Kyle’s accidents. They have truly been there for us since day one and we couldn’t ask for a better organization to represent us. They are always keeping us informed with any information we need and always calling to make sure we are taken care of.

Lead the Way have truly gone above and beyond for us. After Kyle was released from the hospital, three months after his accident, he was still in a hospital bed at our apartment in San Antonio, Texas. The only way he was allowed to move to a normal bed was it had to be a tempur-pedic bed due to all the injuries on his bottom side. We had been on a wait list for almost two months waiting to get a bed. Lead the Way Fund called us and asked what we needed and we had a bed within 10 days of that phone call.

This last fall we were flown to New York City for the Lead the Way Fund Gala. We had an unbelievable experience and cannot thank this organization enough. They took care of our flights, our transportation, hotel, food, and even gave us spending money while in the city. The people we met on this trip were truly amazing and so supportive of this organization and what their goal is for our Rangers. Before the event Jim had a sit down interview with Kyle and it was so personal that I teared up watching. This organization truly cares for our Rangers and what happens after their accidents and even after their service.

Many other things they have contributed to us, is clothes, backpacks, duffel bags for travelling, and gift cards during the holidays. Lead the Way Fund has also discussed with Kyle and I about building our forever home. Even though we are not quite ready for our forever home we are truly thankful for this opportunity they have left open for us when the time is right. This organization has truly become family to us. We could not ask for anyone else to spend the time and money to get to know our story and our family on a personal basis. The contacts they have with each and every soldier they oversee is amazing and we can never thank them enough for the love they have shown us.

Kyle & Taylor Emmons

Ava Rousu

Ava & Phil Rousu

 

My husband was wounded in June 2015. We decided that since I wouldn’t be working during his treatment, and with the future of his health unknown, I should go back to school and finish my last couple prerequisites.  The next day, Lee Dougherty from Lead the Way Fund contacted us and handed us a check to cover our immediate financial needs and more.  Not only did Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund provide us with financial assistance, but it has provided us with lifelong friends and support in this difficult time in our lives.

Ava Rousu