Legacy of Cpl. David M. Sonka lives on through his family. When the Sonka family learned that their son, Cpl. David M. Sonka and his K-9 Flex were killed in action on May 4, 2013, they had to travel between their Colorado home and Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to handle all details. With the help of the Marine Raider Foundation, a Marine Raider joined them in Dover to assist with the logistics and coordination for the return of their fallen son.
A few of David’s fellow Raiders were also flown to his funeral in Colorado. Later, the Foundation stepped in for David’s Celebration of Life, helping with air travel, hotel accommodations, and the car rental for his family. To honor David and Flex, Kevin and Kim Sonka created the Rocky Mountain Dawgs Project. The organization travels around the country, hosting steak dinner events for dog handlers and their families. They also send care packages to veterans down-range, educate people on the importance of military personnel and military working canines and provide service dogs to veterans in need. Read more from Kevin Sonka (David’s father), in his own words:
“I looked into the Marine Raider Foundation and learned that they are people who care deeply about the Fallen and their families; they are people who have very close ties to MARSOC personnel; they have Gold Star Families in their organization. During our most trying time as a family, the Marine Raider Foundation was behind the scenes. If we’d had to worry about travel plans in the midst of our grieving, I’m sure none would have happened. It was hard enough just trying to deal with our loss. Without them, we would have ended up going into serious financial debt and would probably still be trying to pay it off.
“As if it were not enough that the Marine Raider Foundation was there from the beginning of our grieving, they are still with us today. In the three-and-a-half years that we’ve known the fine people at the Marine Raider Foundation, they have included us in their annual Resiliency and Remembrance Weekends, supported a memorial for my son on the MARSOC Compound known as ‘USMC Cpl. David M. Sonka Kennels’, allowed us to join them at the annual Marine Corps Marathon, and most importantly, stayed in touch with us, making us feel like a part of their family. For these things, we are forever indebted.
“People should get involved with the Marine Raider Foundation because they are the ones helping not only Gold Star Families cope with their losses, but they also help MARSOC personnel, whether it be at home or abroad. All anyone has to do is call out for help and they are the first ones to respond – no questions asked. They are not about themselves; instead, they put the mission first. If you are considering getting involved with the Marine Raider Foundation, please don’t hesitate any further. You will be helping an organization that directly helps our special operators. You will be very proud to be a part of this organization.”
“The Marine Raider Foundation was our backbone in our hardest and most trying time as a family, and still is today. Since the passing of our son, the Marine Raider Foundation is still here with us and we continue to grow closer to them. We have become a part of something bigger than us and couldn’t be any more proud to be associated with the Marine Raider Foundation. They will forever have a place in our hearts and we are proud sponsors!” Without your help, the Marine Raider Foundation would not be able to provide support to Gold Star Families, like Kevin and Kim Sonka. Please consider a year-end donation to the Marine Raider Foundation can further its mission to help the Raider community.”
Along with Tragedy Assistance and Survivor Support, the Marine Raider Foundation also offers programs in Family Resiliency, Raider Support, and Raider Legacy Preservation. We invite you to share the story of the Sonka family so others can learn about Raiders and the work the Marine Raider Foundation does to support them.
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