by SARAH FARRELL
Special to the Hays Free Press
Surrounded by women of distinction at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Taryn Davis, founder of the non-profit the American Widow Project, received an award for simply doing something she is passionate about.
Davis was awarded a “Woman to Watch” in D.C., for being inspirational and passionate in her work with the American Widow Project. Davis founded the non-profit in September 2007 after her husband Michael was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq on May 21, 2007.
Her biggest fear in life was her husband being killed, and when she found out he had died she felt that she had nothing left to fear.
Not knowing what to do in the months following her husband’s death, Davis found that there were other women struggling through the same things that she was.
“There wasn’t really anything being done, so I took action to fill a gap that needed to be filled,” Davis said.
Being in charge of this non-profit has taught Davis that “leadership is an action, not a position” and that “people have the ability to make a change.”
Davis used her proactive nature to make a difference in the lives of more than 1,300 widows of service members to help them regain their lives after their tragic losses.
The American Widow Project is designed to reach out to a new generation of widows from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and offer them educational, emotional and mental support through events and weekends of hands-on curriculum.
The project utilizes social media, a website, and a 24-hour hotline which connects widows in their area and allows them to share their stories with each other.
This organization encourages widows to not only survive the death of their spouse, but to strive to make the most of their lives.
“The most rewarding part is being able to give back to fellow widows,” Davis said. “And allowing them to experience life after death; triumph after tragedy.”
Davis was also featured as one of CNN’s Heroes in 2011.
Approximately 3,000 women across the country have become military widows since 2001, and Davis’ goal for the American Widow Project is to reach out to every one of them and offer them support.