If These Walls Could Talk, They’d Tell You About Service | Suzanne Scheafer

Suzanne Scheafer SoS Blog 100x100The knock on the door came at 1:12 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2013. William C. “Billy” Trapnell IV, a petty officer with Coast Guard Sector Boston, had died. Enlisted at 17, he served for six years as an Army Ranger—including a tour in Iraq—before joining the Coast Guard.

“Losing a son in service to our country … that takes on a new meaning,” says his mother Suzanne Scheafer. “I knew there had to be a better good that would come out of this.” So she helped create the Coast Guard’s Gold Star program.

“Because I’m trained as a forensic nurse, and deal with families who lose their loved ones, I said ‘wait a minute, we may not have a budget but I’ll do this job for free.’ I would love to serve other Gold Star families just like myself.”

Designed for families of service members who die while on active duty, the Gold Star program provides a level of long-term assistance not previously available. It helps survivors build resiliency and support, including connecting them with grief counseling as well as providing life skills education. Those eligible to receive support include the service member's widow or widower, parents and next of kin.

“We’ve now all come together in a common mission. And that’s to love and support each other,” she adds.

Visit the Harrisburg, PA MISSION BBQ to see Billy's photo on our wall. You can watch Suzanne’s inspiring Story Of Service here.

Suzanne Scheafer