The ability of a father to affect a child’s life assumes the father lives. Lily’s father Sergeant First Class William “Kelly” Lacey was killed in Afghanistan fighting for his country. As a father I asked myself, “What would I want other father’s to do if I were suddenly killed and unavailable to be there for my children?
When we think of the military, words like honor, pride, gratitude and humility all come to mind. No one is more deserving or more qualified to receive assistance than the ones left behind by our fallen soldiers. In this case, little Lily is left behind by her father, Sergeant 1st Class William Kelly Lacey was killed in action serving in Afghanistan after leaving behind his wife
and family. Now his beloved four-year-old daughter, Lily and wife Ashley, are left behind to pick up the pieces. No family should have to struggle with the issues of war, death and pain of this magnitude. I want to provide a safety net for Lily. Sergeant Lacey fought and sacrificed for the right to be able to have the freedom we enjoy every day. I am asking for your help to ensure his daughter can enjoy things like a good education, safety, and health.
My son Aubrey was in the same unit with Lacey but not on this particular mission. I am blessed my son completed his service and returned home safe over a year ago. I could never move on, knowing I did nothing. So I devised a plan to help Lily’s future and I am calling it: Operation Lily.
How we plan to help Lily…
Stewardship for Life (SFLToday.org), a 501 c 3 qualified charity is operating an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign for Lily. You may find out how to give at OperationLily.com or SFLToday.org site.
I’m pretty easy to figure out, the heart of a father has been a main theme in my fundraising efforts since 1994. I have been writing songs for more than 8 years and of the 200 songs produced, most have to do with family, gratitude, and life perspective. As well as a few Soldier songs, such as “Real Soldierman” written on the occasion of my son joining the Army directly after high school and being deployed immediately to Iraq.
Money is a poor substitute for a dad, or a husband, but the fact is it is a very necessary thing even with the benefits a “Gold Star Child” (the Gold Star in the medal awarded to those killed in action) receives. According to a study by the Lucas Group on behalf of the Fallen Patriots Foundation the average short fall for a veteran’s child to complete a four year degree is $32,000. Most of these families earn less the median income, making the college path for their children difficult.
Few people give because they are getting something. They give to help Lily, still whatever we can do to encourage giving we are willing to do. The perks for supporting Operation Lily range from music downloads, a physical CD mailed to the supporter, Good Debt, Bad Debt, Jon Hanson (2007, Penguin USA) books and work book, (signed if you ask) and a few limited canvas art images of SFC Lacey with the Operation Lily logo. Please visit: www.OperationLily.com
Early Loss of a Parent: Research
When a child experiences the death of a parent, the emotional trauma can be devastating. But until recently, few studies have examined the impact of this type of loss relative to the age of the child and the quality of parenting that the child received after the loss. In her study, Angela Nickerson, of the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, sought to determine how this dynamic affected these children across their life span. “As the life span progresses and the individual reaches adulthood, the psychological and interpersonal consequences of this disturbance may manifest in long-term mental health problems,” said Nickerson. “There is strong evidence that aspects of the family environment, such as quality of parental care and relationship with the surviving parent, are important in affecting long-term psychological reactions following parental loss.” My own father died when I was not quite 11. At age 58 rarely a day goes by I do not think of him. My father was a WWII veteran that died at home in 1968 in the long summer between assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. The anti-Vietnam War rhetoric was everywhere including popular music. It must have been horrific time for the nearly 20,000 Gold Star Children that lost a parent to war. Even now since 2001 there are nearly 5,000 Gold Star Children from the Iraq and Afghanistan war. I hate war, but love soldiers and their families.
War affects children in all the ways it affects adults, but also in different ways. First, children are dependent on the care, empathy, and attention of adults who love them; Lily has known no other love than the love from her father. Children’s attachments are frequently disrupted in times of war, but now in this case due to the loss of parents and emotional unavailability of depressed or distracted parent. We were blessed to be able to fly to Ft. Carson and stay with our son for a week when he returned to U.S. soil. We had read the highest probability for PTSD and problems with re-entry into “normal” life are among those soldiers with weak or nonexistent family ties. A certain proportion of war-affected children lose all adult protection – but we cannot let this happen to Lily. We will not let her fall victim to war as well. We will use every penny of the funding for her education, health and safety.
Second, impacts in childhood may adversely affect the life trajectory of children far more than adults. Consider children who lose the opportunity for education, children who are forced to move out of their comfortable home, in miserable circumstances waiting for normal life to resume and Dad to come home, and it never does. It is proven that when a child loses a parent, they are more likely to not attend school, get into trouble and not finish college. We cannot let this happen to Lily. It is not too late.
Things to think about…
- The younger a child was at the time of the loss, the more likely they were to develop mental health problems, including anxiety, mood, or substance abuse issues.
- Even babies can suffer cognitive and developmental problems when a parent goes to war and does not come back
- Family conditions and education after the death plays a significant role
We (Jon Hanson along with the charity: Stewardship for Life) are looking for Lily’s best interest and a chance to one day allow her to realize a lot of people thought her daddy was very special. I will be using my music as well to send a message to Lily and use it for a reward for your kind donations. It is called Operation Lily. Everyone who makes a donation to the fund will receive a free digital copy of the CD (currently 11 songs).
How You Can Help
For us to help SFC Lacey complete Operation Lily for his daughter, we need your support! We want to do this right so the money will be put in a trust fund that will be professionally managed for the benefit of Lily.
Your generous funding will help us get things started in order to get Lily a college fund, emergency money for any health care issues or counseling that may be needed and money for her food and shelter if needed. But more than any material item, we are showing Lily our eternal gratitude for her father. This fund would show Lily how much people appreciate her father’s sacrifice
Operation Lily needs pledging but above all it needs your attention and interest! If you love this project as much as we do then please take a moment to click on one of our social media buttons (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at the bottom of the page). Help us spread the word and get things started!
Final Thank You and Links
We feel so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read out campaign and for those who contributed what they could to make a difference and helping us spread the word. We have spent the last few months working hard to bring our campaign to life for Lily and it was worth every minute thanks to all our generous supporters. Please know your efforts, even the smallest, don’t go unnoticed. We will continue to keep you posted on what your donation helped us achieve. You are part of our Operation Lily family.
Your generosity and support could make all the difference in the fruition of this fund!
It would be great to have 100 people to contribute $1,000. But in reality, $20,000 people contributing $5 would work too. Of course you may contribute more. I will be eternally grateful! Please share this with anyone you think would be willing to help.
Old school? No Problem!
For those of us who don’t like making donations over the Internet, please feel free to contact me via email: jon@SFLToday.org and I will provide you with a mailing address to send check or money order to. I will post your contribution on the campaign with your name and I will deliver whatever perk you would like.
Stewardship for Life (Operation Lily) 14330 National Road, Etna, Ohio 43068 614-866-4289
You do not have to have a PayPal account. They accept credit cards and debit cards.
This has proven to be one of the hardest things I have ever done. We don’t have a million friends to share this with. But, I have the Internet and wonderful people who want to see Lily thrive. Whether or not you contribute financially, please use the share tools on this page. Tweeting, sharing on Facebook or any other venues you have at your disposal will greatly enhance our exposure and increase our chances to succeed. I’m asking for 5 minutes of your time, a $5 contribution, and 5 personal emails.
Here’s the link to the IndieGoGo page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/operation-lily-for-a-fallen-hero-s-daughter#/ or http://OperationLily.com
Please like and share the campaign with your friends. Feel free to leave a message also.
If you wish to contact us:
Our Social Media Connections:
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/SFLToday/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFLToday
- Facebook: http://Facebook.com/SFLToday
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMdp3GLuJ7cqwbBUwqvN_KA/videos
Phone Number: 614-866-4289
E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have thoughts or would like to discuss a collaboration or sponsorship, we would love to hear from you, please feel free to contact us at jon@SFLToday.org