A Soldier’s Child Foundation Memorial Day Give Back

For this Memorial Day, onX Offroad Partner and Community Specialist Jake Rosaia advocated for our team to do something impactful.  As a veteran of the Air Force, Jake feels it’s important to recognize and support the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our country and our freedoms.

For this Memorial Day, onX Offroad Partner and Community Specialist Jake Rosaia advocated for our team to do something impactful.  As a veteran of the Air Force, Jake feels it’s important to recognize and support the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our country and our freedoms.

For many, Memorial Day is about getting outdoors and hitting the trails,” Jake said. But the long weekend is more than just a day off of work. We want to remember and honor those who fought to keep this beautiful country and off-roading land free for us to enjoy. One of the best ways we can honor their memory is by helping take care of their children and families, through A Soldier’s Child Foundation.”

Ways to Give

onX Offroad is proudly pledging 10% of sale proceeds and 100% of proceeds from our limited edition camo hat to A Soldier’s Child (ASC) Foundation. Learn more about how ASC supports the children and families of our fallen veterans in an interview with its founder Daryl J.W. Mackin.

Meet A Soldier’s Child Founder Daryl

Navy veteran Daryl J.W. Mackin was inspired to found A Soldier’s Child Foundation (ASC) to honor the memory of his neighbor’s son Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Golycynski who died in Iraq in 2007. Daryl keeps a photo of Marc’s son Christian receiving his father’s flag—it’s a sobering reminder of the sacrifice Marc made and all the milestones he won’t get to share with his family. Daryl felt the best way to stand by our fallen heroes is to care for their children in their absence, so he set out to build a foundation that focused on supporting them where their parents no longer could. With Daryl’s dedication and help from many along the way, ASC now enrolls over 4,000 children in their programs—which include birthday celebrations, mentorships, scholarships, and outdoor camps.

Programs Built for Coping

ASC runs annual cost-free camps for 500 kids that focus heavily on outdoor recreation; they offer trips for hunting, skiing, off-roading, whitewater rafting, and just about everything else. We asked Daryl why he believes spending time in nature is so beneficial and what types of skills the kids develop through ASC. He instantly exclaimed, “it gets them off the computer!” While this is undoubtedly a major positive, the benefits stretch far beyond that—ASC builds coping skills. In a way, ASC acts as a clinic to develop skills that allow the kids to find hope. The goal is to cobble together a new normal, to forge a path through the pain.

“We also believe in facing our fears,” Daryl said, “each time we encounter a fear and overcome it with whatever it takes, we’re getting stronger.”

Some of ASC’s programs teach basic life skills, which Daryl says helps bridge the gap in lessons their parents would’ve taught them. He often heard that the last thing a fallen veteran told their family was, “when I get back, we’ll go on a hunting trip (or something of the like).” This idea created the foundation of ASC’s camps. A favorite is the Jack and Jill Camp which teaches incredibly practical knowledge like cooking an omelet, changing a tire, and ironing a shirt—the sometimes mundane facets of life that are crucial in our quests for autonomy.

Making a Difference

The heaviness that burdens these kids can’t be overstated. Yet, it’s their shared hardships that also bind them. Daryl says the magic happens when they come together. They genuinely consider each other to be family—an unbreakable bond. 

Over the years, ASC has seen many moments of triumph in every size. We asked Daryl if he’d like to share any notable stories, and he told us this one:

“About eight years ago now, a mother called to talk about her son who’d recently attended our camp. She said, ‘right now, I’m looking outside at my son riding bikes with the neighborhood boys.’ I agreed that was great, but she repeated, ‘no, you don’t understand—he doesn’t leave his room; he doesn’t have friends.’ She said her son asked about his dad after attending camp, and that was the first time he’d talked about him since he passed. ‘He never asks about his father,’ she told me.”

Daryl said that’s when he knew they were making a difference. He recalls that the mother specifically said ASC was “saving their lives” and confesses he thought that phrase was a stretch at the time. He’s confident now that “it’s real.”

How You Can Help

For ASC and all the children of fallen veterans, every day is Memorial Day—there’s no escaping their realities. Daryl says he’s glad it’s a holiday for people but hopes it can also act as “a reminder to shift our culture towards supporting these kids who have historically fallen through the cracks.” The best way to do that is simply by raising awareness of their cause; most people don’t realize this is an issue. Independent fundraisers are an easy way to get involved and raise money—often, ASC’s mission resonates with people enough for them to become mentors.

onX Offroad is pledging 10% of our sale proceeds and 100% of proceeds from our limited edition Memorial Day hat to A Soldier’s Child Foundation. Find the link below to contribute or share this story to help raise awareness. Visit ASC’s website for more ways to get involved. 

The foundation supports different avenues to success by emphasizing scholarships for trade schools along with more traditional universities. They currently offer 20 camps that run cost-free for 500 kids with a range of outdoor and creative activities, as well as a leadership and mentor program for those aged 18+. Each child involved with ASC also receives a birthday gift from the foundation each year.

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Kate Weber

New England born and raised, Kate traded the Appalachian foothills for the Colorado Rockies before heading north again for western Montana. Once an avid snowboarder, Kate discovered backcountry snowmobiling when she settled in MT, and she’s since added a dirt bike to her fleet of engines. She can also be found pack-rafting on wild rivers, creating in her metalsmith studio, or eating street food in some far-off corner of the world.