Young Student Inspired to Give Her School a Special American Flag Created in Memory of Special Ops Hero

Thanks to Larissa, a special American flag from Special Ops Survivors Just Cause Flag Campaign will be utilized at Maries R-1 Elementary School for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Five year old Larissa, who attends Maries R-1 Elementary School, has donated a special American Flag dedicated to a Special Operations hero that she won in a raffle at the Big Bass Bash at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri in August 2016. Larissa and her mother Danielle stopped by the Special Ops Survivors booth at the event where the raffle was held. The booth was staffed by Mark McCowan, a U.S. Army Master Sergeant and active member of TEAM Special Ops Survivors, and other TEAM members who aim to honor the legacies of fallen heroes and survivors’ journeys as well as raise awareness about the organization through fishing tournaments.

The TEAM members were at the event highlighting the important work of Special Ops Survivors and raffling an American flag dedicated to Master Sgt. Josh Gavulic and signed by his widow. Master Sgt. Gavulic, a 17th Special Tactics Squadron TACP member, died Feb. 21, 2014, while on a free-fall training mission near Elroy, Arizona. The flag is part of efforts by Special Ops Survivors and the Just Cause Flag Campaign to honor the memory of fallen Special Operations heroes and their surviving spouses.

When Larissa wanted to purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win the flag, her mother’s initial response was no. Larissa asked again and this time Danielle asked what she’d do with it. When Larissa explained she wanted to donate it to her school for everyone to say the Pledge of Alliance to everyday, Danielle handed her daughter the money for a ticket. After winning, that’s exactly what Larissa has done.

The flag is now in the possession of Maries R-1 Elementary School where it will be utilized as the Pledge of Allegiance flag. The school principal Mrs. Sheree Burkholder sent Larissa a thank you letter nothing how special the gift was, nothing that it will impact generations to come. She praised Larissa for the gesture and noted how glad they are to have her at the school.

“I’m so proud of my daughter that even at five years old, she thinks of her community and wants to make a difference in other individuals’ lives and not just her own,” says Danielle. “It really brings tears to our eyes and happiness to our hearts knowing how big of a heart our daughter has at such a young age,”

The money raised through the raffle and other TEAM events support programs at Special Ops Survivors, which is the only nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to serving surviving spouses of active duty Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Special Operations personnel who have died in combat or training since January 1, 1980. The organization embraces and empowers surviving spouses of fallen Special Operations personnel to build healthy post-loss futures as they transition to their new lives by providing individual, group, and peer-to-peer emotional support as well as individual financial support. For more information about the organization, visit Special Ops Survivors.


Special Ops Survivors’ mission is to embrace and empower surviving spouses of fallen Special Operations personnel to build healthy post-loss futures as they transition to their new lives. Over the last 15 years, the organization has grown from a small grass-roots organization to an established organization actively serving more than 200 surviving spouses from all military service branches. For more information about the organization, visit Special Ops Survivors.

About Just Cause Flag Campaign

Launched by Bobby DeAngelo of Baton Rouge, LA, Just Cause Flag Campaign aims to raise $500,000 to be shared by six nonprofit organizations that provide services for active duty military personnel, veterans, and their families by selling 1,000 high-quality American flags mounted under glass and framed. The flags sell for $500 each, and 100 percent of the proceeds support the nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit

Press Contact:

Sara Wingerath-Schlanger
Phone: 619-437-1137
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Twitter - @opssurvivors

Source: Special Ops Survivors


Categories: Non Profit, Non-Profit Schools and Institutions, Military

Tags: military, nonprofit, school