The all-volunteer, 501(c)3 non-profit organization is based in Columbus, Ohio and began its sacred mission in 2014. Each year we unveil a new set of 15 Fallen Service Members to be recognized at various events and programs throughout the year. These events allow the families to tell the story of their loved one and inspire those in attendance.
Fallen 15 is dedicated to enriching the lives of and having a lasting impact on the Veteran and Survivor community. Our Programs and Events are designed to re-establish the bonds and camaraderie often found in a military environment. These characteristics, which are so important to the Veteran and Family identity, are often lost upon returning home, transitioning out of the service or when the Service member has died. Through our programs and events, Veterans, family members and our Families of the Fallen can join together to build this bond once again.
Being a part of any Fallen 15 event will ensure you are contributing to a generation of Service Members who deserve to be remembered for their selfless sacrifice. As a participant or volunteer, you can’t help but be moved by the stories of our Fallen as told by their Families or to hear from the Veterans about their service. Our events are designed to bring everyone closer together – Civilians, Veterans, Military Families, as well as the Families of the Fallen.
Our Fallen Service Members
Fallen Service Members are chosen through nominations by past families and through community suggestions. Each family is asked for approval to recognize their loved one. Only after the family has approved will a Service Member be recognized by the Fallen 15. Family Members are encouraged to attend as many events as they can. Tickets to events are offered for free to all Families of our Fallen during the year their loved one is recognized. Through sponsorships and individual donations, tickets to the events are offered to these Families for free.
Families of the Fallen – Gold Star Families and Military Survivors
There are several definitions and perceptions around families who have lost their Service Members. Gold Star originated during World War I and has continued since that time to cover immediate family members of Service Members who were killed during combat operations during a wartime operation. The issuance of the Gold Star Pin is regulated by the Department of Defense. A ‘Next of Kin’ pin is given to immediate family members whose Service Member died while honorably serving in an Active Duty status in the Armed Forces. But there are a few circumstances where a Service Member may die and the family may not fall under the definition of Gold Star or Next of Kin, these families are often referred to as Military Survivors.
Fallen 15 is trying to create an inclusive environment for our families through programs and events so they can join in the fellowship of others through healing, camaraderie and support. To accomplish this inclusion, we have moved away from the terms Gold Star and Military Survivor to simply say, “Families of the Fallen”.
Money raised Does Not go directly to the families of the Fallen Service Members. Monetary donations, sponsorships, event participation, admissions and merchandise sales will be used exclusively toward furthering Fallen 15‘s mission and outreach programs.
It is the policy of Fallen 15 that before a Service Member is honored for the upcoming year, express permission from the family is obtained. Fallen 15 will not use likenesses or information about a Service Member without this permission and vetting