My name is Julie Schrock and I would like to share my story.
I’m living what is, to many, any parents’ nightmare, the loss of a child.
I was privileged and blessed to be the mother of 2 sons, Max and Ryan Donahue. For many years I was a single mom and our trio was a very tight unit. With only 2 years and 3 months between them, Max and Ryan were especially close brothers.
Max joined the Marines just out of high school – 5 days after his 19th birthday. He became a military policeman and then a working dog handler. Max loved working with the dogs. In 2008 he was deployed to Iraq with his dog, Paco. In 2010 he was deployed to Afghanistan with his dog, Fenghi.
On August 4, 2010 Max was hit by an IED – improvised explosive device. He immediately lost both his legs and right arm. Max succumbed to his wounds and died on August 6, 2010.
This is where my story starts. The months and years following Max’s death have been an extraordinary journey. I had always thought that the death of either one of my sons would destroy me and yet, I was and am surviving in a way that I never thought I could. My faith has grown stronger than ever as I have experienced miraculous events showing me that I am not alone in this journey. I have a hope and a peace that even surprises me.
In the year following his death, I wrote the book, Missing Max:
Finding Hope After My Marine Son’s Death. My message is one of hope and choice and minimizing potential regrets in this life. I am so proud of Max and I want him to be equally proud of me. With that in mind, I could not let his death ruin my life.
Sharing my (our) story
After the book was completed, and to my great surprise, I was being asked to speak to groups and share my story. I’ve spoken to church groups, women’s groups, Sunday School and small groups, high schools, elementary classes, rotary clubs and assorted others. I’ve spoken to groups as large as 250 and as small as 7.
My presentation starts with a 5 minute DVD that Max sent us while he was in Afghanistan. We received it the day after we learned of his death. In it you will see clips of his childhood but also footage from Iraq and Afghanistan. In one scene there is a Marine German Shepherd “high‐fiving” a group of Marines. You also see scenes of Marine k‐9 handlers with their dogs moving through the hills of Afghanistan. And you also see pictures of Camp Donahue, the kennel that houses k‐9 working dogs in Afghanistan. It is named after Max.
If you are interested in an inspiring, sometimes humorous, story of one mother’s journey of hope you should consider speaking to me. And me speaking to you! I look forward to sharing mine and Max’s story soon.
Proud mother of Max and Ryan Donahue
Email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
To read an excerpt of Missing Max: Finding Hope After My Marine Son’s Death go to
To order a copy of Missing Max: Finding Hope After My Marine Son’s Death go to