Janet Manion, 58, of Doylestown, who dedicated herself to helping veterans and the families of fallen soldiers after her son was killed in Iraq, died Tuesday after a year-long battle with cancer.
"Someday, I'll see him again," Manion recently said of her son, Marine First Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed in 2007 by sniper fire in Fallujah.
Manion established the Travis Manion Foundation, inspired by his message before his final tour: “America needs to know what these brave men and women are doing over here, and I don't think that they know."
She was “an incredibly selfless person who, following the death of her son, stayed in the forefront to support our troops, veterans, military families and the families of fallen heroes,” said Tom Sileo, communications director for the foundation.
Manion filled a void by helping “young, returning guys and their families,” said Dan Fraley, director of Veterans Affairs in Bucks County.
“She was an amazing lady. When she got on an issue, she stayed on it till it was completed.” He said.
The foundation, which raised $2.96 million last year, “has grown so big in a short period of time,” Fraley said. “It’s a nationwide foundation, and she was the strength behind it.”
In addition to the foundation, Manion helped create three programs. "Honor the Fallen" awards grants to survivors, active-duty military, and others for service projects that will perpetuate the legacy of members of the military who have died. "Character Does Matter" uses motivational speakers to promote leadership and courage. The "9/11 Heroes Run" helps communities remember, honor and support those lost in the terrorist attacks.
Based on her series of acts, Manion was one of 20 finalists for this year’s Citizens Service Before Self Honor, awarded by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation for bravery, courage, and a commitment to service.
She is survived by brothers Frank and Joseph Lemma; a sister, Annette Arcuri; her husband, retired Marine Col. Tom Manion; their daughter, Ryan Manion Borek; son-in-law David Borek; and granddaughters Maggie and Honor Borek.
Viewings will be held Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Reed & Steinbach Funeral Home, 2335 Lower State Rd., Doylestown, and Saturday, at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 235 E State St., Doylestown. Mass will follow at 11 a.m.
Interment will be at a later date to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Travis Manion Foundation, P.O. Box 1485, Doylestown, Pa., 18901, or at www.travismanion.com.