In episode 10 I interview, Ryan Manion, President of the Travis Manion Foundation and co-author of The Knock at the Door, Three Gold Star Families Bonded by Grief and Purpose
About Ryan Manion
Ryan Manion has dedicated her life to supporting our nation’s military, veterans, and families of fallen heroes. She is inspired by the character, leadership, and sacrifice of her brother 1st Lt Travis Manion, USMC, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Al Anbar province of Iraq while drawing fire away from his wounded comrades on April 29th, 2007.
Serving as the President of Travis Manion Foundation since 2012, Ryan leads a national movement focused on assisting veterans and families of the fallen to take the next step in their personal journeys, and inspiring the next generation of leaders. As a highly regarded advocate for the military community, Ryan has been invited to address national audiences on numerous occasions—including Good Morning America, CBS this Morning, CNN, The Today Show, Fox News and many more.
Carrying on the legacy of her brother Travis, Ryan continues to lead a life of service to others.
This was most notably recognized in 2015 when she was selected to receive the President’s
Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service.
Ryan served on the Advisory Committee at Arlington National Cemetery and remains committed to their mission. As a leader in the Veteran Non-Profit sector, Ryan serves on the Advisory Boards of the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation and With Honor.
Some additional accolades include:
● 2018 Bush Institute Stand-To Veteran Leadership Fellow
● 2018 Sage Foundation Charity Pioneer
● 2017 United States Naval Academy Honorary Graduate
● 2016 HillVets 100 list
● 2014 Joseph D. Helton, Jr. Award for Leadership
● 2013 Hillier (Ignite) Warrior for Warriors Award
Ryan resides in Doylestown, PA with her husband and three children, Maggie Rose, Honor and Travis Brendan. She continues to serve her local community by serving as a Township Supervisor since elected in 2011. While responsibilities of this position are focused on deciding issues of public safety, growth management, environment, etc., Ryan most appreciates the personal connection with those within the community she is able to directly serve.
The Interview Highlights
Ryan worked alongside her mother, Janet, at the Travis Manion Foundation for approximately 18 months before her mother passed away. The board of directors for the foundation then appointed Ryan president of the organization.
Talk about big shoes to fill! To help her fill her mom’s shoes, Ryan hired really smart people to work alongside her. She is very humble and doesn’t take credit for the organization but gives all credit to her mom for laying a foundation for success.
The organization supports military veterans and their families. So many people want to give and serve and honor the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country.
The Hero’s Run
The Hero’s Run, which was started as a grassroots effort with approximately 500 people participating, now occurs in 90 places across the world with more than 70,000 people showing up to run and support first responders and veterans. Robyn ran the 1st Hero’s run with her daughter in the jogging stroller and remembers the passion and emotions associated with the event.
Why the Book?
One of the reasons Ryan wrote the book, “The Knock at the Door” was to show the real side of her. She is in the public eye a lot and appears to be so strong, not shedding tears for her brother, Travis or her the loss of her mom. People often ask her how she does it, how she is so strong and as a result of all of the questions she wanted to tell her story and her journey. Ryan and her co-authors, Amy and Heather wanted to show that their stories didn’t end with the knock at the door. Their stories were just beginning.
Ryan believes that setting goals to get through each day after a major life event occurs is key. Setting small goals and thinking about today and not next year is important. It helps to think about tomorrow but no further into the future. When you go through a traumatic event or loss you have to set small goals at first.
Setting Intentional Goals
Setting intentional goals is the key. One has to be comfortable with the fact that life is not a sprint. And it’s important to remember that failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. It’s the little failures that have the power to set us back, so mindset is important. Each day is a new day and an opportunity to be the best we can be. Tomorrow is a new day to turn the setbacks around.
When we realize that life is a series of successes and failures and that a success is just around the corner, the failures and setbacks don’t hurt as bad. The best way to honor those we’ve lost is to not give up but be the best version of ourselves.
The Travis Manion Foundation
The Travis Manion Foundation is an empowerment organization. As such, the organization helps provide opportunities for men and women who served in the military to help educate our youth on the importance of character and gives an opportunity for continued service, even without their uniforms.
Fifty-five percent of veterans say they feel disconnected to community when they return to civilian life. Through the program, volunteers have talked to more than 350,000 students across the US. One third of kids do not have a positive role model or, example, of good character in their lives. The veteran volunteers can positively influence the children to become men and women of good character.
Ryan’s Book Recommendations
Ryan’s Favorite Quote
“If not me, then who.” ~ Travis Manion
Learn more about or connect with Ryan
Learn more about me, your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE.
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