With nearly every seat taken, parishioners and guests came together at Christian Living Fellowship Church to hear Gold Star mother and national speaker for American Warrior Initiative, Karen Vaughn, talk about her son Aaron and the price his family has paid for the freedoms we hold sacred in this country.

Karen recalled Aaron didn’t make the decision to enlist in the military immediately following the attacks on 9/11. 

It was several days later when Aaron sat watching the news reports on television that two specific words jumped out at him and pushed him to enlist in the Navy.

Aaron was moved to action after hearing about how the thirty-seven passengers aboard United flight 93 called their loved ones to say they were being hijacked and would not be coming home. 

Aaron listened to phone calls of their last good-byes and it was Todd Beamer’s two final words he spoke to the other passengers after he called a GTC operator to inform them of the hijacking and their plan to try and take back the plane.

Beamer then said to the other passengers who were planning to help him, “let’s roll”.

Right then, Aaron knew what he had to do to help preserve and defend our freedoms.

“Aaron loved this country so much that he answered that call that every patriot throughout history has answered, “if not me, who” and “if not now, when,” Karen said when revealing why her son chose to enlist.

Aaron, a member of SEAL Team 6, was among twenty-nine other service members in a chopper over the Tangi River Valley in Afghanistan when it was shot down by the Taliban on August 6, 2011, killing everyone on board.

Karen is on the American Warrior Initiative Freedom Tour traveling around the country bringing her powerful message and information about the great things being done by American Warrior Initiative for service members and veterans.

Several times throughout the night tears fell and praise was given for the sacrifices given by all of our military men and women who continue to fight the war in the middle east and throughout our country’s history.

American Warrior Initiative is the non-profit arm of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. 

Fairway Regional Manager and American Warrior Initiative Director and Co-Founder, Louise Thaxton explained that Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation pays one-hundred percent of the operating costs of American Warrior Initiative and every single penny donated to the initiative goes to help veterans and active duty service members with whatever their need is.

They have made it a goal over the next year to give fifty-two service dogs to veterans and service members.

During Wednesday’s event, Kevin Schmidt received a plaque from American Warrior Initiative and Fairway Mortgage on behalf of his twelve-year-old service dog Missy recognizing her decade of faithful service while she is being transitioned into retirement.

Schmidt was then given a new service dog by American Warrior Initiative.

For more information on the American Warrior Initiative visit www.americanwarrorinitiative.com.