Mary Tallouzi was born and raised in Temple, Texas, and relocated to New Mexico in 1990. She raised three children, Christopher, Daniel, and Jennifer, mostly as a single parent. Christopher and Daniel proudly served their country in the United States Army, and both were deployed to Iraq.
It was during this time that Mary’s life changed. She says she will never forget the feeling in her heart when she asked herself: “What do I do now? How do I define my life?”
Those questions arose in September 2006, when her son, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Tallouzi, was wounded from a mortar attack in Iraq. Shrapnel the size of a quarter crossed both hemispheres of Daniel’s brain and lodged in the center. He endured more than two years in hospitals before returning home. Daniel passed away on February 28, 2009.
Mary served as Daniel’s caregiver, a 24-hour-a-day job she performed with great love.
“Life stops for the advocate,” says Mary. “As a caregiver, I experienced the loss of a son and a profound change of life. The military has been a part of our family since the Korean War. I’m proud of Daniel’s admiration for our family legacy, and we’re honored that he now walks among the eternal warriors who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.”
It was during Mary’s time as Daniel’s caregiver when she first became connected with Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
“I met WWP in October 2006 when Daniel transitioned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Members of WWP entered the room and without missing a beat, they addressed Daniel first. The rest of the world had become accustomed to speaking to his mother since Daniel was in a coma. They thanked him for his service. They presented him with a backpack – the message of waking up and moving forward. They let me know I would not be alone.”
Because of her experiences with Daniel, Mary supports the WWP mission as a spokesperson and has become a member of the National Speaker’s Association, advocating for injured service members and caregivers across the nation.