Survivors Speak: Jacob Centeno Healy

Fallen Patriots Scholarship Recipient

I am the gold star son of Senior Chief Navy SEAL Daniel Richard Healy. I lost my father June 28th, 2005 when his helicopter was shot down during a rescue attempt in the Kunar Province of the Hindu Kush Mountains. 11 Navy SEALs and 8 Army Night Stalkers in total were lost that day, making it the largest loss of special operations personnel since WWII. Only Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class SEAL Marcus Luttrell would survive. Known as Operation Red Wings, the story has since been told in the book and film Lone Survivor.

My father’s 13 years of SEAL service took him all over the United States and to many places overseas. From training in Virginia with SEAL team 10 to studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in California and time in Russia itself, my father spent a lot of time away from home. Though my father’s service meant spending great amounts of time away from his family, he made the most of, and cherished, every moment he had with us. More importantly, he was able to convey early on what any father would want for their children – he taught us good manners, values, virtues and many life lessons. Although I will always wish I had more time with my dad, I am grateful for the time I did have and I know he is still watching over me from above.

When I lost my dad, I lost my hero. All the support, encouragement and ambition I always had was suddenly gone. The largest trial for me would become, and still is, searching for and discovering my identity. Fortunately, through the grace and support of people and organizations everywhere, I was given hope. From graduating with my BA in Architecture from the University of San Diego to being enabled to help and serve other Gold Star families, I have gained a greater sense of hope for the future and am really looking forward making a difference in the lives of others as so many have done for me.