Soldier’s legacy inspires 5k for PTSD awareness


By Kasie McCreary - [email protected]



Brandon’s siblings Katie Davis (pictured L) and Tiffany Winebrenner at the 2021 5K race. The BCF Foundation raised over $4,000 last year to benefit organizations who assist veterans and servicemembers living with PTSD. This year, they’ve set their fundraising goal at $5,000. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.

Brandon’s siblings Katie Davis (pictured L) and Tiffany Winebrenner at the 2021 5K race. The BCF Foundation raised over $4,000 last year to benefit organizations who assist veterans and servicemembers living with PTSD. This year, they’ve set their fundraising goal at $5,000. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.


A participant in last year’s 5k hoists an American flag on their route. There is still time to register for this year’s race, either in person on race day, or online. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.


LATHAM—A soldier’s legacy has inspired his family to rally against PTSD related suicide among veterans and servicemembers.

Following the death of Staff Sergeant Brandon C. Franzen after a battle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), his family knew that they wanted to do their part to make sure that no other families felt pain like theirs again.

“When [Brandon] passed away, we all said, ‘this is not it. This cannot be it. Twelve years of service to this country, and he was still active duty when he passed,” said Katie Davis, Franzen’s sister as well as President of the Brandon C. Franzen Memorial Foundation (BCF).

From their grief sprang the idea for BCF, which they established in 2020 with one goal in mind: to do their part in preventing suicides of veterans or active servicemembers due to PTSD. With their efforts, Franzen’s legacy of standing up for those who need help will live on.

“I’ve been really blessed to be able to get into contact with some people he served with. They tell me, ‘Brandon was the one who would stand up for the little guy. It didn’t matter who he was standing up to, Brandon stood up for people. He spoke out against what he felt was wrong treatment, and he was there for them.’ And that was him for the remainder of his life,” said Davis.

According to information from the Wounded Warrior Project, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very common condition for many veterans after military service. Symptoms can include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress, difficulty sleeping, and changes in how a person thinks and feels.

While anyone can develop PTSD following a traumatic event(s), combat stress, increased potential for traumatic brain injuries, and several other factors related to military service leave our veterans and servicemembers particularly susceptible to detrimental mental health changes.

The BCF Foundation’s third annual 5K run/walk in Franzen’s memory is one way in which his family seeks to bring awareness to this cause. The event, which will also feature a silent auction, is their largest fundraiser of the year.

All proceeds from the 5K and auction will be donated to partnering organizations which share the BCF Foundation’s mission. The community may also donate to BCF directly through their website and may purchase items needed for the race from their Amazon Wishlist if they wish to get involved in another capacity.

Davis may not be a veteran herself, nor does she have PTSD, but through community engagement and support of other charities, she turns the trauma of her family’s loss into an opportunity to support others who seek to eliminate veteran and service member suicides.

“For 2022, we have chosen to donate all race proceeds to two organizations very dear to us: Dress, Right, Dress, Inc. and Operation Untiltheresnone: No Buddy Fights Alone. They are both 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations whose goals align with our own: end veteran suicide and stop the stigma surrounding mental health,” BCF’s website states.

For Davis and her family, bringing awareness and destigmatizing mental health issues can and does save lives. She says that if their mission helps just one person, all their efforts would be worth it.

“We are all in this together, and it takes an entire community,” she said. “I want this to get bigger; even in the last couple of years, we’ve had so many people [attend], and we’ve taught them something.”

Behind the mission of BCF is a family. And Brandon’s family knows that honoring his legacy has brought them closer, all while educating their community about a vital cause.

“Family was so important for [Brandon]. He wanted desperately for his family to be closer. I’ve really taken in more than ever that we are not promised tomorrow. It’s so important to reach out to those you care about. It’s important to ask if they’re okay,” Davis added.

For updates and more information, visit the Brandon C. Franzen Memorial Foundation online at bcfmemorial.org. The BCF Memorial 5k Run/Walk will take place at Western (Latham) High School on Saturday, July 16th at 8 a.m. (onsite registration will begin at 7 a.m.). Online registration is open now.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, know that help is out there. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to speak with a trained counselor. Press 1 to reach their Veterans Crisis Line.

Brandon’s siblings Katie Davis (pictured L) and Tiffany Winebrenner at the 2021 5K race. The BCF Foundation raised over $4,000 last year to benefit organizations who assist veterans and servicemembers living with PTSD. This year, they’ve set their fundraising goal at $5,000. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Franzen1.jpgBrandon’s siblings Katie Davis (pictured L) and Tiffany Winebrenner at the 2021 5K race. The BCF Foundation raised over $4,000 last year to benefit organizations who assist veterans and servicemembers living with PTSD. This year, they’ve set their fundraising goal at $5,000. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.

A participant in last year’s 5k hoists an American flag on their route. There is still time to register for this year’s race, either in person on race day, or online. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Franzen2.jpgA participant in last year’s 5k hoists an American flag on their route. There is still time to register for this year’s race, either in person on race day, or online. Photo courtesy of bcfmemorial.org.

By Kasie McCreary

[email protected]

Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved