Chris Ring, Shepherd Smith and Mark Faldowski.
Fox News photo
When the 113th installment of the storied Army-Navy football rivalry kicks off Saturday [Dec. 12] in Philadelphia, two former cadets who once wore the Black Knights' uniform will once again be taking in the game with families that paid the ultimate price for their country.
Mike Viti and Mark Faldowski, two West Point alumni and combat veterans, co-founded the nonprofit Legacies Alive to support Gold Star families – families who have lost loved ones to service for their country. Through various fundraising projects, they help to establish memorials for military members in their hometowns.
But taking in America's proudest gridiron rivalry is just another way to bring national awareness to the life and character of all military men and women who died fighting for America, and to honor their families.
“Mike just got out of a tough deployment to Afghanistan with the 4th Infantry Division, and I had just come back from my third deployment,” Faldowski told FoxNews.com, describing how Legacies Alive came to be. “We wanted to somehow honor the families that lost loved ones, because they’re the ones that bear the burden of what 13 years of war looks like.”
Faldowski and Viti turned their idea into reality by calling and visiting with Gold Star families to erect permanent memorials that depict and preserve the legacies of our fallen heroes as service members and as unique individuals.