Meet Tracy Grogan - A CFP Mom
A couple of weeks ago at the Stitch n’ Pitch event for Caron United, I had the pleasure of meeting Tracy Grogan. Tracy’s a warrior mama, raising two kids on her own since the loss of her husband to military service over a decade ago. As I stood with her for a presentation on the field of The Globe Life Stadium — and the announcer gave a description of Children of Fallen Patriots (the charity we were there to support)– I was overcome by emotion. I couldn’t help but throw my arms around her. The truth is that although we were at the game to bring awareness to a foundation, Tracy was the actual, real deal. It’s the surviving parents and their children who we stand with; not just the faceless idea of them. It’s important we know their stories, and Tracy was gracious enough to tell me a bit of hers. I’m sharing it with you today. –Vickie
VH: I had the opportunity to meet you, your son and daughter at the recent Rangers vs. Red Sox game in Dallas, TX. What time didn’t allow for however, was for me to ask you about your story. Would you mind sharing with our readers the path that lead you to Children of Fallen Patriots?
TG: What lead our family to the CoFP was the death of my husband, while serving on active duty in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2004. He had been deployed for months and was attending a meeting in Bagram to plan their trip home. After the meeting had concluded he boarded a flight to join the rest of his unit in Shindand; he never made it back to his unit. The aircraft crashed in the mountains during transit and remained lost for days. After several official knocks at the door from from Commanding Officers and clergy giving updates on their search — each time I’m thinking, “please not today” — the last knock finally came and we learned of his fate. Our children were ages 2 and 6 at the time of his death. It’s been several years since our family’s loss and we have learned to embrace our blessings instead of our misfortunes.
VH: Your 13-year old son, Austen was chosen to throw out the first pitch of the game. As a fellow mom to teen sons, I can only imagine how that moment must’ve felt. Standing near your son on that mound in front of a stadium full of fans, what was going through your mind? From your perspective, how was the experience for him?
TG: Being a single parent raising two children was certainly not my plan in life, and can be difficult at times. Like any other parent, all I want is the best for my children and for them to be afforded every opportunity available to them to ensure they lead productive and happy lives. I am fortunate enough to have organizations like CoFP to help me along the way offering need based scholarships to assist with their college tuition or more recently unbelievable opportunities like throwing the first pitch at a Ranger vs. Red Sox game. Seeing my son go from being nervous prior to the pitch, walking him out to the mound not knowing what to expect or where the ball will end up and hoping his sister catches everything on camera, to him having the biggest smile on his face after learning his pitch was a strike was priceless. I was so proud of him and his pitch that I could hardly contain myself. I have to say, he was pretty proud of his accomplishment too. He couldn’t wait to share his experience with his friends by texting pictures, taken by his sister, immediately after returning to his seat and after a three hour drive home, going over to a friends house to show off his signed baseball that he threw.
VH: Our goal through Caron United is to raise both funds and awareness for CoFP. I believe that word of mouth is the most powerful way to achieve this. That said, what does the organization’s programs mean to you and your family?
TG: My children won’t have the what I would call the traditional memories of their dad, but they will have some extraordinary memories to fill that empty space because of the kindness of CoFP. Thank you, CoFP for being there and having my back whether it’s giving me peace of mind regarding future college expenses, or creating hard to beat memories for my family.
For more information on Children of Fallen Patriots, go here.