By: Megan Roche
For 17-year-old Brennan Horn, the importance of service and sacrifice is something he’s always felt the need to do. When he spent his youth in Arkansas, his family was constantly contacted by teachers and community members to help fill needs of the less fortunate. When the Horn family moved to the Chester, NJ area in 2018, Horn felt the need to continue his mission, but found that most needs were already being met. After brainstorming, he began his foundation, Children of Wounded Servicemen, (COWS) to continue his efforts of giving back.
Horn has no connection to military service, except his brother is currently a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. Brennan simply saw a need and wanted to be the one who worked to fulfil it.
“I thought that the military was a degree of people who don’t receive a lot of attention and you always hear about Wounded Warrior Project or organizations similar to them, but you don’t see any organization that is specified just for children of servicemen.” Horn said.
The junior at West Morris Mendham High School has raised over $20,000 towards his charitable efforts, simply through word of mouth or by setting up donation tables outside many local businesses in the Chester area. His donations have helped supply Christmas and birthday presents, sports equipment, and school supplies for children of wounded servicemen. Horn uses servicemen as an all-encompassing term, not just for the military but for policemen and firemen as well.
“Seeing a smile on a little kids face when they have something to open or the ability to compete in recreational sports, that is unimaginable and unexplainable. To make a difference in a kid’s life by doing a small act of kindness is just an incredible feeling.” Horn shared.
Horn recalled one of the more heartwarming moments of when his foundation helped a local family.
“Recently, there was a firefighter who was diagnosed with Leukemia. He has been bedridden for months, and he and his wife didn’t have the money for Christmas presents for their kids. After doing a speaking engagement at the fire department, we presented the wife and the firefighter with a cart full of gift baskets and you could just see the emotion on their faces, and it was just so heartwarming.” Horn said.
Testimonials to Horn and his foundation are constantly pouring in on social media. His Facebook page, Children of Wounded Servicemen, has nothing but positive comments from gracious families who have been supported by this organization.
“COWS is an amazing mission to help when help is needed most for our little ones. They helped our family after my husband, ASP Corporal McWilliams, sustained an on-duty injury. After 7 months of rehab, COWS reached out an additional time to see what our children needed most. A BIG thank you from this law enforcement family! You guys are changing lives!” Lila McWilliams of Arkansas, said.
“COWS is an amazing organization who provides back to school supplies and clothes for children who have been impacted by either losing a parent or having one injured while serving. I am so appreciative as well as my son for everything this organization has done. Thank you is just not enough!” Amanda Milledge of Washington, shared.
Brennan and his foundation have just one main goal: making sure that kids do not have to go without. Through his charitable work, Horn never forgets how fortunate he is.
“We’re playing such a role in these people’s lives, even though they have sacrificed so much for our country. I think we tend to forget how blessed many of us are and how we automatically assume that we’re going to have a backpack or a coat for winter. It’s very mind-opening about how blessed and how much we take for granted.” Horn said.
In addition to raising funds, Horn often speaks to organizations or companies about his foundation. He has spoken at numerous fire departments and hopes that in the future, he can grow his foundation to be known by everyone nationwide. For more information on Brennan or Children of Wounded Servicemen or to make a donation, visit www.childrenofwoundedservicemen.org.