Nonprofit Offers New Outdoors Program for
Children of Fallen First Responders and Veterans
Trinity Oaks is launching a new, free outdoors program in spring 2017 for StarKids – the sons and daughters of fallen first responders and combat veterans.
Losing a parent changes a child’s life forever. When that parent falls as a hero, a first responder or veteran who was helping others or protecting our freedoms, the trauma is multiplied even further. Since 1996, The State of Texas has lost 292 peace officers in the line of duty. In that same period our nation has lost 3,430 law enforcement officers, 1,452 firefighters, and tens of thousands of military veterans. Hundreds more, a majority of whom were fathers and mothers, have fallen responding to disasters, working as game wardens, or providing emergency medical services.
The purpose of the Trinity Oaks’ StarKids program is to help these sons and daughters as well as honor their families’ sacrifice with a unique outdoors experience. Trinity Oaks Founder and President Tom Snyder explains, “’We have seen time and time again in our work with families of fallen veterans that time in nature with other likeminded children has a huge impact on coping with grief. Helping children of first responders is just a natural extension of that work and a way for us to give back even more.”
StarKids focuses on children of fallen military veterans who died in combat and first responders, police officers, game wardens, disaster responders, and firefighters, between the ages of 10 and 18 years. Each child is paired with a member of the fallen first responder’s agency or military branch as a hunting buddy and mentor. Both become “hunter safety certified” together prior to the hunt. Groups of 4-6 StarKids and their buddies then participate in a unique hunt together for deer, hog, or on an exotic hunt, depending on the group’s interest.
One of the most meaningful experiences that children of fallen heroes can have is a chance to share their feelings and grief with people their age that have shared a similar experience. Providing children with mentors from their parent’s agency or military branch not only adds to the initial healing experience, but helps forge a lasting relationship for agencies to stay involved with StarKids throughout their lifetimes.
As with all Trinity Oaks programs, this program will be offered at no cost to participants. We are excited to announce that Colonial Life, Leupold Optics, CastAway Rods, and Ruger Firearms have already pledged their support. Through additional gifts of in-kind gear, equipment, and financial donations we are able to work together and make a difference in the lives of others.
At least one group will prep and hunt this year at Trinity Oak’s Thumbtack Ranch in Batesville and a fishing trip to Moody Ranch. “We already have a group to begin training in May, and can add up to two more groups this year alone from our wait list depending on donations received before June,” explained Britt Hosmer, Executive Director.
Trinity Oaks is officially extending an opportunity to nominate a StarKid to local and state agencies including: Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Texas Association of Chiefs of Police, Sheriffs Association of Texas, Texas Tactical Officers Association, International Association of Firefighters, 100 Clubs, and any and all municipal police and fire associations.