The picture is a group of Boy Scounts standing on top of Old Baldy at Philmont Scout Ranch holding the Travis Manion Foundation's banner.
Picture of a TEAM of Boy Scouts on top of "old Baldy" at Philmont. We went with the intent of "character does matter," as our motto.

Why we need the Travis Manion Foundation?

     The Travis Manion Foundation’s goal is to “empower individuals to unite communities,” doing this by training and developing role models (veterans and families of fallen Service Members) to inspire then to pass on their values to future generations.

So why am I writing about TMF?

     I guess I have to start with  I am writing about the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) because it is an organization I believe in. But, I think it is also to spread the word and try to do my part to get more Veterans, Gold Star families, Schools and Communities to participate in the program.

     For the record, this is me (Royce from Hill Country CNC & Woodworking) and my views and opinions about TMF, they didn’t pay me or give me any benifit or reason to write this blog post.

     It boils down to someting simple for me, in our lives, in our schools, even our churches sometimes and communities, we as a society have a hard time teaching our youth about the word CHARACTER, and what it means.

The Travis Manion Foundation's underlying call is, "If Not Me, Then Who."

     This mantra is, “to create a nation of purpose-driven individuals and thriving communities that is built on character.” And they do that in several ways, my favorite being a presentation called Character Does Matter

This picture depicts three TMF mentors talking to a Middle School about how they can exercise Character in their lives.
Three TMF mentors talking to a Middle School about how they can exercise Character in their lives. These talks called Character Does Matter, help students to understand how to use their strengths in their lives.

     And that is the big thing for me. We have gotten to a place (it happens generationally) where people like our Teachers, Pastors, Parents, even Mayors need a little help making their community a stronger, healthier place to live. I believe that if you plant a tree in good soil and water it from time to time, it will grow and grow strong. Helping our future generations understand how traits like Kindness, Leadership, Empathy or Perseverance can help them does that. 

“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” — Greek Proverb.

Is that all the Travis Manion Foundation does?

     Of course not! It’s just my why I get involved. Here are other things that TMF does to achieve their mission of “empowering veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.”

  • Spartan Leadership Academy
  • Operation Legacy
  • The Travis Manion WOD (work out of the day)

What is the Travis Manion Foundations' Spartan Leadership Academy

     This was a great course for me. When I got out of the military I had my family- and that’s it! I still had military friends and whatnot, but many of them were thousands of miles away. SLP quickly changed all that. I got friends, mentors, a PURPOSE, deadlines, work, contemplation and so much more. I think many Vets coming out of the military are so institutionalized that they don’t know who they are, deeply lost. Some people walk out of the military the way they walked in, but if you did 10-20+ years and/or 1-10 combat tours, you didn’t. You won’t You can’t. It has changed you. 

     That is where SLP really helped me. It gave me vision and purpose to help redefine me and to truly write down who I am and what my goal in life (now) is. If you are wondering (and this is poetic so don’t make fun) my goal in life is…

"To be the set of Stars or Constellations that helps you find your true North."

     Yup, an Infantry guy wrote that. But it means and it took me a while to understand this, that I need to be a guide in peoples lives, even if it is not the standard guide, using that same path north as everyone else.

     SLP also taught me a lot about our Gold Star (family members who lost loved ones in Service of their country) Family Members. See, a flaw I encountered is when I lost a guy in combat… I stayed in combat. Not one funeral. We had memorials, but that was like a band-aid. Not only that, in combat you never see the family members facing their struggles.

     The Travis Manion Foundation is superb about bringing the Grunts and the Gold Stars together. We learn from each other as we heal.

This is a picture of TMF SLP candidates as they finished an Operation Legacy Project in Colorado.
This is cohort 2, TMF SLP candidates as we finished an Operation Legacy Project in Colorado. They goal of this project was service (clearing a fire break) and remembrance as each log that we moved represented someone who was no longer with us.

What is the Travis Manion Foundations' Operation Legacy?

     To me Operation Legacy is about remembrance, but it’s really not just that. It is a way you can physically make a difference in this world. We’ve had tree plantings in Houston, special needs horse therapy, running with kids with disabilities, you name it. Some really really awesome people, coming up with some really great ideas to help their community grow stronger, while intentionally doing these projects in remembrance of someone else. 

    I have to single out one of my SLP graduate classmates, Rooster and his Ainsley’s Angels. If you need some motivation or want more of an idea what TMF members are doing, here you go. One of the most motivating individuals with such a great cause.

What is the Travis Manion WOD?

     I think most people at this point know what a WOD is, but if not the term comes roughly from CrossFit and refers to the Workout of the Day.

     The Travis Manion WOD is celebrated the 28th-30th of April. It “is dedicated to 1stLt Travis Manion, USMC, and is designed to bring veterans, families of the fallen and the TMF community together to honor our fallen heroes.” Another way that TMF focuses us on something other than ourselves, bringing all the principles Travis Manion embodied to life. The workout happens all over the world, but you can easily find partners/participants on the TMF website HERE.


The Travis Manion WOD includes:

  • 400 meter run/ruck
  • 29 weighted* back squats (135/95LBS)

7 rounds

*participants may modify to fit their athletic ability


Please reach out to me if you have any questions, this is such a great organization to become a part of. And again, thank you to the Travis Manion Foundation for all you have done for me. 


Hill Country CNC & Woodwork

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