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Local UPMC emergency nurse teams up with SOWF to help children of fallen heroes

George Donavos is hosting this year's 25th Air Force Half-Marathon race and raising money to aid children of fallen special operation forces.

Jacob Centeno lost his father, who was a Senior Chief Petty Officer navy seal when he was 15 years old.

“You're not thinking about the casualty officer who comes in and knocks on your door, you can't imagine that he's going to be a huge part of your family for the rest of your life," said Jacob Centeno.

The idea of what his future may hold was a far thought as all he could think about what the loss of a parent.

Luckily, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation knew the pain of Centeno and many other children who lost their family members in special operations. 

Centeno says the foundation was willing and ready to provide support and aid in his future endeavors.

"We're going to get you ready for college, we're going to do our pre-college stuff, we're going to get you ready for all your SAT's, and your ACT's, said Centeno, "they really just believed in me."

Not only did Centeno find help through the organization, but also found someone to share his life with.

This person is Katie Conner,  the daughter of the fallen hero SGT. Major Bradley D. Conner. 

Conner was 12 when she lost her father. She says that if it weren't for SOWF, she wouldn't have many opportunities.

"It was such a -kind of a relief and stress of my mom's shoulders to figure out how her and my two other siblings all three kids you know can go to college and not have to worry about it," said Conner, " I got to study abroad, I had a lot of opportunities all that probably wouldn't have been as easy to come by as if Special Operations Warrior Foundation wasn't there for us."

The work of SOWF has inspired many, including an emergency nurse at UPMC and 459th aeromedical travel squadron travel nurse who saw the impact of SOWF and joined in on the cause.

"When you see people that die in the line of duty, that serve their country, obviously there are family that are left behind, it's a big deal," he said.

That is why he's running a fundraiser for the annual Air Force Half Marathon Race, raising $5,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

"This is really a pot for them to be able to help them through their college education, and so forth so that really does carry out, whether its a book whether it's tuition and housing and certainly all of that goes towards that contribution."

To donate to the cause visit, here

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