A Legacy of Inspiration
St. Joseph’s Prep Travis Manion Foundation
Since 2014, St. Joseph’s Prep has been developing leaders driven by the spirit of 1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC--a 1999 graduate of La Salle College High School who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in 2007 while serving in Iraq. The sentiment “If Not Me, Then Who” has been shared on t-shirts, banners, bracelets, and in the hearts of Prep students who have been inspired by Travis’s spirit, life of service, and selflessness.
The mission of the Travis Manion Foundation Hawks (TMF Hawks) is to honor the fallen by challenging the living. Tirelessly led by English teacher Susie Cook since 2014, the TMF Hawks host a leadership academy each semester as well as seminars and workshops throughout the year in which they reflect on the importance of leadership, animating the virtues of integrity, personal responsibility, moral and physical courage, ethical decision-making, and humility. Patti Frey, Bryan Ghee, Katie Longto, Jenny Mars and Dominic Galante '03 have, in recent years, assumed co-moderator positions in the TMF Hawks to engage and support students in their journey of becoming Men for and with Others on an even greater level.
Guided and mentored by veterans (many of whom are Prep alum, including Terrence Fenningham ‘00, Brad Adams ‘07, Brian McGrath '01, Dominic Galante '03, as well as Gold Star family members, active military officers and first responders, more than a 1,000 Prep students have graduated from the TMF Leadership Academies, Seminars, and Veterans Week and Leadership Week, serving as well across Philadelphia in the Foundation’s Operation Legacy service events. Ryan Manion, Travis’ sister and President of the Travis Manion Foundation, recently joined the Prep’s Mother-Son Communion Breakfast to share her gratitude to St. Joseph’s Prep for keeping Travis’ memory alive and developing leadership skills among our students.
Manion reflected on her experience as a Gold Star sister after losing her brother. She described her grief process as a “jackhammer," running in the Marine Corps Marathon that fall, all while trying to suppress her grief through physical exercise and activities that diverted her attention away from her loss. Over the years, Manion has learned to replace that jackhammer with a "chisel"--tackling her struggles with a more tactical approach. Her work with the Foundation has taught her that building relationships, working with purpose, and being vulnerable are paramount in chiseling meaning out of loss and developing a resilient and inspiring life–in other words, “struggling well.”
Each year in November, our country honors our Veterans. At Prep, the TMF Hawks sponsors Veterans Week, holding myriad activities to hear from veterans, learn about leadership, and honor their service and sacrifice. All Prep students and families are invited to participate in the TMF Hawks Veterans Week events and service projects to serve alongside our nation’s heroes. Inspired by Travis Manion's life and by others who heed the call to service, the more than 1,000 Prep students who have participated over the years in living the “If Not Me, Then Who” ethos are indeed inspired and inspiring.
For more information on the Travis Manion Foundation, click here
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