NationSwell

Two Women Inspiring Families of the Fallen

“You weren’t part of a military family if you weren’t strong,” says Ryan Manion.

In the spring of 2007, during his second tour of duty in Iraq, 1st Lt. Travis Manion was killed by a sniper’s bullet. His sister, Ryan, has always remembered his courage and his dedication to service and to doing the right thing. So much so, that she thought of herself as his younger sister, even though she was 15 months older.  

After her brother’s death, Ryan and her family established the Travis Manion Foundation in his honor. Their goal was to highlight the strength of character within the military community and inspire others to serve — both in their local communities and abroad.

Among the friends and family who helped Ryan and her family through their grief was Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney, Travis’s roommate at the United States Naval Academy. In direct support of the foundation’s mission, he dedicated his next tour of duty in Afghanistan to Travis.

Friends and fallen comrades Brendan Looney (left) and Travis Manion.

But in 2010, tragedy struck again. Watch the video above to see how Ryan and Brendan Looney’s wife, Amy, have become the leaders of one of the country’s top veterans’ organizations.