While some people crumble under pressure, others summon the courage to face their challenges. One such courageous person is Taya Kyle, the widow of late Navy Seal, Chris Kyle. Taya’s husband was a national hero and was regarded as the deadliest sniper in American history. He later lost his life but she did not allow his death to overwhelm her.
She rather rose to become an author as well as an activist on issues affecting military veterans and their families. She has also opened a foundation in her husband’s name which delivers impactful and life-changing services to military personnel and first responders. Just like a phoenix, Taya Kyle has risen from the ashes of her heart-breaking tragedy and now serves as an inspiration to others.
Taya and Chris Kyle met just two Years After He Enlisted in the Military
Oregon native, Taya Renae, first crossed paths with her future husband, Chris Kyle (a native of Odessa, Texas) at a San Diego bar in 2001. They took a liking to each other and commenced a relationship. The love-struck couple did not waste any time in getting married and settled down the next year in 2002. Marriage life was, however, anything but easy for them. Chris had enlisted in the military back in the year 1999 and qualified as a member of the elite Navy seal in 2001. He would spend a total of ten years in the military during which he was regularly shipped out to war zones.
Taya’s husband served about four tours in Iraq and built a reputation as one of the deadliest snipers in American history. He accumulated about 160 kills and was so lethal that the Iraqi insurgents referred to him as “The devil”. They placed a bounty on his head but he was able to avoid capture. He also survived multiple helicopter crashes, six IED attacks as well as two gunshot attacks. All these impressed the military hierarchy to no end and they rewarded Chris with medals such as Silver Star (2), Bronze Star (5), and Navy and Marine Corps achievement medals (2).
As her husband was busy defending his motherland, Taya Kyle was also waging her own battle on the Homefront. She and Chris had welcomed two children in the course of their marriage, a son named Colton and a daughter named McKenna, and it was left for her to play the role of both mummy and daddy. Added to this was her apprehension for Chris’ safety. Whenever there was news of military casualties in Iraq, she would wonder if he was involved and her mind would not rest until she got confirmatory information to the contrary.
Her Husband Died at the Hands of Someone He was Trying to Help
Taya Kyle’s husband, Chris, left the Navy in 2009 and this made her quite happy as it meant that the entire family could be together all the time and she wouldn’t have to worry about his safety. Her husband meanwhile kept busy by setting up a private military training company. He also supported many charity programs especially those caring for disabled veterans. Additionally, Chris penned a 2012 book on his life story titled American Sniper. It detailed his personal and military service and became a national bestseller.
All was therefore quite good in the couple’s paradise but their joy was cut short when Chris was shot to death on the 2nd of February 2013. His killer was a Marine Corps veteran, named Eddie Routh, he had been assisting. Routh suffered from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after service in Iraq and Haiti (following the devastating 2010 earthquake) and his mother reached out to Chris to help her troubled son. The ex-sniper readily agreed and would often spend time together with Routh. On one of such occasions, he and Routh as well as a third individual, Chad Littlefield, went to a shooting range in Fort Worth, Texas. While there, Routh suddenly turned on them and shot them both to death.
The Hero’s Funeral and the Criminal Trial that Followed his Killing
Such a tragic end predictably shocked the community as well as the entire nation but none could compare to the pain that his wife, Taya, felt. She, however, held herself together and got through the touching memorial service that was held for her husband at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. The service attracted 7000 people including former Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin, as well as lots of military personnel. The Oregon native also stilled herself and gave an effective testimony at the trial of her husband’s killer. Routh was later sentenced to life imprisonment without the option of parole.
Following Chris’ death, Taya Kyle has revealed that it has been very hard to cope. She has also shared some of the regrets from her marriage. The Oregon native wishes that she had communicated her respect for her husband more. She also wished that she had found time to indulge in activities that her late husband liked such as fishing. The lady is, however, moving on with her life and has her children to help her cope with the pain.
Taya remains single to date and refuses to go back into the dating pool. This is despite the fact that her late husband urged her to find love again if something were to happen to him. According to Taya, her reluctance to start dating again stems from the fact that she still loves her husband and still feels married to him. She has however revealed that if she is meant to love again, it will happen. However, if it is not meant to be, she will still be okay with it. Her primary focus now is to raise her kids.
Taya Kyle’s Advocacy and Charity Work with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation
It has been many years since her husband died and Taya Kyle has been very busy; involved in activities that are aimed at assisting military personnel and their families as well as simultaneously keeping her husband’s memory alive.
The Oregon native worked as a consultant on the 2014 movie, American Sniper, based on her husband’s bestselling memoir. The movie was directed by Harrison Ford and featured Sienna Miller as Taya Kyle. Bradley Cooper, on the other hand, portrayed Chris. The movie was a commercial and critical hit, it grossed more than $500 million on a budget of $58 million. It also earned six Oscar nominations including one for best picture.
Taya Kyle has equally penned her own book titled American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal. The book was released in 2015 and detailed her travails as a military wife. It also elaborated on how she coped with her husband’s death. The co-author was military writer Jim DeFelice. Taya also serves as a contributor to Fox News. She joined the network in August 2016 and lends her unique perspective on family and military to various shows that the top-ranked cable news network offer.
Finally, Taya is also very busy as the executive director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. The foundation came into being in 2014 and was borne out of her first-hand experience with the toil that military life can take on families. She, therefore, geared the non-profit towards strengthening military and first responders’ marriage through unique programs and powerful partnerships. Some of these programs include the Empowered Spouses Retreat (which allows military couples to do activities such as archery and shotgunning together) and Revitalization Retreats.