Hi, I’m Lauren. I am a Senior Public Relations major and Marketing minor at Kent State University. I love the summer and the beach. I am the secretary for Operation: Flags of Freedom, Inc. (for more information log on towww.operationflagsoffreedom.weebly.com) When I graduate from Kent State I hope to find a job with the Department of Defense.
This final project idea came to me because on 06 August 2011 my cousin, U.S.M.C. Sgt. Daniel James Patron, was killed while disarming an Improvised Explosive Device or an I.E.D. in Afghanistan. It forever changed the lives of my aunt Kathy, my Uncle Frank, my cousin Matt, his wife Meagan, their two children, Mia and Daniel James the Second and Dan’s wife, Cody. (I can’t forget to mention it changed the lives of Dan’s fur babies, Monster and Beefy) It also changed the lives of all Dan’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.
On that day, my sisters, my dad and I were sitting at Onslow Beach on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. We were there because in two short days, my brother-in-law would be returning to the United States of America from Afghanistan! That morning we got a phone call, that I would not believe until we were pulling up to one of the last places Dan spent his time in America. His home, in Jacksonville, NC. It’s where Cody, his wife, handed me the official papers from the Department of Defense stating that Dan was killed in Sangin, Afghanistan. I was there when many of Dan’s Platoon’s wives came over to support Cody. I was there when Cody talked to Dan’s partner, Jason, on the phone about what happened. It was surreal to be there, to know that my brother-in-law was coming home alive, but my cousin would be brought home in a casket.
Since 2011, I have met some of the best people ever. From Dan’s Marine Corps buddies and their families (who are now our family), to a 3-Star USMC General, to Dan’s High School friends, to the Patriot Guard Riders, Leatherneck Nation and The Founding Fathers all
badass Military supporting motorcycle groups, to Gold Star Families who lost like we lost.
One of the special people my family got to know was Melissa Seibert, at the time she was the Military Outreach Coordinator for the American Red Cross. Now, she has moved to the SAM Center. Her love for our American Heroes amazes me, she always thanks our Heroes. I hope to follow in her foot steps and serve our American Heroes the way she does.