After Losing Her Husband In Combat, This Marine Widow Created A Veterans-Focused Business
The loss of a partner can completely derail a life. For young Brittney Hogan, that nearly happened, until she found her path out of the darkness.
Brittney was just 20 years old when she met, fell in love with, and married a young United States Marine named Hunter Hogan. When Hunter got stationed in North Carolina, the couple uprooted and moved there from their home in San Diego, committed to staying as close as possible even as Hunter got called up for service in Afghanistan. Just before he departed, Hunter told Brittney that he knew he'd be back with her soon, because he had her to come home to. But life had other plans.
Five months after they moved to North Carolina together, Brittney and Hunter were separately permanently, when Hunter was killed during his tour. Brittney became a widow at 22 years old.
"When you're finally by yourself, you're like, whoa, this is reality," Brittney says. It was a reality that she struggled to cope with for about a year, as she turned to alcohol and anti-anxiety medication that made it hard for her to get out into the world or hold down a job. Fortunately, Brittney eventually discovered the habit that would pull her back into the light: running.
Brittney moved back to San Diego, kept running, and by the end of her first year of training, she completed a half marathon.
She was hooked—and she also saw potential in her new passion, to allow her to help others. Spurred by her personal experience with the transformative power of fitness and wellness, Brittney created an apparel line called Virago Fitness. And Brittney made sure that her new business would honor her late husband's life: Virago employs mostly military veterans and their families, and a portion of the company's proceeds go to the HD Hogan Memorial Rodeo Scholarship Fund and the USO.
Thanks to Brittney's determination and will power, she has not only turned her life around, she's also created what will be a positive cycle of support for military families for years to come.