A Soldier's Child: Camp Helps Children of Fallen Soldiers Cope With Grief
A Soldier's Child Foundation was founded nearly 12 years ago to help the children of soldiers who gave their lives.
Lorimar Cintron was 11 years old when her daddy died in a Boston hospital after being gravely wounded during an attack in Baghdad, where he served his country as an Army specialist.
Losing him is never far from her heart or mind, yet she has learned to stand on her own young feet and to help others like her.
Cintron is now a mentor at A Soldier's Child Foundation, which offers care and consideration to children whose parents gave their lives in the line of duty.
The group runs an annual summer camp in Tennessee, where kids learn to conquer their fears and sadness by conquering the elements.
"First year I came to Journey Camp as a camper, I went through a really rough time in my life, and it really helped me spiritually and emotionally, and then after I was done, I realized how many people actually cared about me," she said.
She wears her father's dog tags, which carry a photo of Marcos Clinton, who died in 2011 at age 32 after serving eight months in Iraq. He was struck by shrapnel and suffered heavy burns in an insurgent attack. He was flown to Germany for treatment and later was loaded onto a military transport plane to Texas.
Complications caused by the plane's air pressure worsened his condition and the flight was diverted to Boston, where he was hospitalized for four days. He died without regaining consciousness.
"I took that dark side of my life and turned it into light," she said. "Now I can share that with the kids and it makes me super happy."
The kids at Journey Camp look up to Cintron, and they look to each other for kinship.
"It's amazing because you're not alone here," said camper Sean Parker. "People love you, you're fighting through storms, the same storm everyone else has been through. You've lost a parent."
At Journey Camp, the children have gained friends and fortitude dealing with those losses.
"Most of the strength I have is from them," Cintron said. "Because they are so young, yet so strong."
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