San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 27th, 2009
AWP launches tour at Hays County Veterans Memorial

Taryn Davis, founder and president of the American Widow Project, speaks at the start of a national tour. Photos by Christina Zambrano.

View the Newstreamz video of the American Widow Project tour launch.

News Reporter

The American Widow Project (AWP) kicked off its national tour Thursday afternoon by unveiling a decorated RV at the Hays County Veterans Memorial.

Local citizens, veterans, military widows and the Patriot Guard Riders gathered to celebrate the lives of fallen soldiers and to support the AWP in its mission. San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz attended, as did San Marcos Councilmembers John Thomaides and Fred Terry.

The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to a new generation of widows and widowers due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Whether it be through our events, website or film, it is our goal to unify all military widows and widowers; to unite them, through their connection of loving someone who has made the ultimate sacrifice, but also through their strength and survival,” said Taryn Davis, Founder and President of AWP.

A local of San Marcos, Davis graduated from San Marcos High School in 2003 and attended Texas State University. Davis began the AWP after losing her husband, Cpl. Michael Davis, to a roadside bomb while he was serving in Iraq. Davis also produced a documentary featuring military wives and their lives after the loss of their husbands.

The AWP offers many services to military widows, such as a 24-hour hotline where widows can speak to other widows instead of counselors, a networking system connecting widows to individuals in their local communities who are willing to volunteer their time and services, and a website with information on how to cope with the loss of a spouse.

Davis was joined by fellow widows Nicole Hart, widow of Sgt. David Hart and Vice President of the AWP, Csilla Lyerly, widow of Cpt. Sean Lyerly, and Maria Ulloa, widow of Sgt. George Ulloa, Jr.

Ulloa attests to the immense support the AWP offers,

“We’re all at different levels but with the American Widow Project, there’s so many of us, there’s someone on your level, someone who’s been through what you’ve been through and who you can say whatever you want to say and they understand,” Ulloa said.

Davis and Hart will tour the country in the new AWP RV, to spread the AWP’s mission of healing and support to the widows, widowers and children of fallen soldiers. ABC News Reporter Bob Woodruff, who also attended the unveiling, will join Davis and Hart as they travel the nation, documenting their journey.

The RV is decorated with various symbols and emblems, such as the military emblems of the United States Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard, the  AWP mission statement, “Unifying the new generation of military widows,” and most notably the names of each soldier who has died in the Iraq and Afghanistan War.

Narvaiz presented Davis and fellow military widows with keys to the City of San Marcos as a token of gratitude for their dedication to the cause. Narvaiz also expressed the pride she felt for Davis’ perseverance and strength,

“The San Marcos community is proud and deeply grateful that a young hometown woman, Taryn Davis, took the most tragic of circumstances in her life and turned it outward, reaching out to other young widows across the United States,” Narvaiz said.

San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz address the audience of local citizens and veterans as military widows Maria Ulloa, Csilla Lyerly, Vice President of the American Widow Project Nicole Hart, and President and Founder of the American Widow Project Taryn Davis look on.

World War II Veteran Domingo “Toby” Tobias and American Widow Project President and Founder Taryn Davis.

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