“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”
Earl Grollman

I am John Wayne Vogels – Father, Friend, Griever, and Founder of Martyred Angels Foundation.


This is my story.

On April 9, 2011 my wife was watching our 3-year-old son (Bladyn) and our 5-year-old daughter (Raven) while I was at work. After playing all morning in the yard, my wife put our son down for a nap (It’s important to point out that my wife was suffering from pneumonia at this time). Bladyn did not want to take a nap so he began to run around our property (3 acres) in protest. After making a lap and 1/4, my wife noticed that he had gotten out of the yard because he vanished behind the barn. She attempted to cut him off, but with difficulties breathing and our daughter in tow, it was impossible to keep up. Once she was able to get to the property where there was a pond, and it was stated by a neighbor that saw him this is where he went, she searched for him but no luck. Our daughter spotted him at one point in time and shouted, “There he is momma,” but he managed to take off and hide again. After searching through bushes, as well as the pond and not having any success, another approach was taken.

At this time, she made the decision to go back to the house and get her car so she could cover ground quicker. My mother-in-law (who owns the house where we currently live) joined the search. My wife and daughter went in one car and my mother-in-law went in another. After a short period of time, my wife decided to go back to the house to see if Bladyn was there. Unfortunately, he wasn’t, so Raven and her went back to the property with the pond to look again. After arriving, my wife noticed a little pile of blue clothing matching our son’s laying on the bank of this pond. She then noticed a little white butt and blonde flowing hair floating on the surface. Immediately she went in to attempt a rescue.

As she stepped onto the liner to this pond, her footing was lost due to the enormous amount of algae and scum present. She slid in uncontrollably, but was eventually able to get enough balance to grab our son. As this was happening, my mother-in-law pulled up and ran to help. She too slid uncontrollably into this pond, but was eventually able to get her balance and proceeded to help. My mother-in-law was holding Bladyn as my wife was administering CPR. As all of this was going on, our daughter was watching. When a neighbor heard the screams for help, she ran down and took notice, then went back to her house and called 911. She then came back and took our daughter home with her so she didn’t have to watch anymore. Unfortunately, the outcome was unsuccessful and Bladyn passed away approximately 1/2 hour after I arrived at Boulder Community Hospital. We spent some time with him in the ER on the bed to say our goodbyes. His condition at this time I would rather not express.

As Therapy for me, I’ve started the Martyred Angels Foundation.

John Wayne Vogels
Martyred Angels Foundation: Founder & Executive Director


The pain and hardships are unimaginable, especially without support and understanding of the struggles. Keeping families together through guidance and understanding after a tragedy like this is very important to healing. We came into contact with others that are struggling after the loss of a child almost immediately after losing Bladyn. Some have been able to find a way to make it through each day with the comfort and support of loved ones; however, others haven’t been so fortunate. Because of the absence in support, some of these grieving parents have lost everything MarriageJobHomeVehiclesDignity, Respect… and are now homeless, battling alcohol/drug addictions, depression, thoughts of suicide, PTSD….

It doesn’t have to be this way! The loss is more than enough to deal with. Losing everything else because of a tragedy like this doesn’t have to happen. Teresa, John, and Raven have had exceptional support since day one and know the difference this makes in the lives of those struggling after the tragic loss of a child. This was the basis for the beginning of the “Martyred Angels Foundation.”

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Martyred Angels Foundation
501c3 Non-Profit
EIN: 46-2509596

Martyred Angels Foundation
Boulder, CO 80302

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