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“They’re a gift to me, and to our nation”

Sheryl, a military mom and special education/ESOL teacher from Oregon, knows how hard saying goodbye can be when loved ones deploy overseas. She has watched three of her kids head to Iraq and bases around the world.

“I sob when they leave. But there is also a pride. A feeling of dignity.

“Mack is an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and he’s deployed twice to Iraq—right now, he’s deployed with a radio company and provides logistics. Matt is in the National Guard out of Bend, Oregon. He was in Iraq for 12 months, serving as a driver for dignitaries and military leadership.

“And David, he’s a real success story. David is Native Alaskan, and he is one of our five adopted children. He came from a lot of adversity, but he’s an overcomer in all areas. He wanted to do something beyond the normal routine. His brother Mack mentored him and helped prepare him to join the Armed Forces—and he is just thriving. David is in the U.S. Marine Corps providing fueling and engine repair for F-17s out of Miramar.”

Sheryl says that serving in our Armed Forces has made her sons stronger, more compassionate people. And serving together, they’ve been able to help each other through some rough times.

“Now there’s a bond—a bond that extends beyond brotherhood. Matt has been in his barracks in Iraq when all the lights went out while and something had hit their area, and sometimes the boys can reach each other before we can reach them. Our sons mentor each other, and they're fully supportive of each other, no matter what branch of service they're in!”

Sheryl and her husband Dave are very proud of their sons’ willingness to serve wherever their President asks, and she is glad to see the war in Iraq coming to a close.

“I’m extremely thankful—it’s something we’ve been waiting for a very long time. And Michelle Obama is doing great things for military families, to keep their needs at the forefront, especially for the immediate families. I see how difficult the transitions are for my oldest son Mack and his wife Candice, because they have a very young son. Candice has to take over a lot when Mack is gone, and we’re equally proud of her.

“Each of the boys has lost friends in the war, and it’s pretty heartbreaking as a parent. But I learn so much through their perspectives, and seeing each of their characters develop. Liberty, civil rights, freedom—these things have such strong meaning to them. And I think if we all find ways to serve, it equips us on a far more personal level to be a good human being.”

Families across the country will get to celebrate as their sons and daughters come home from Iraq this December. Show your support by sharing a message of thanks with our servicemembers and their families.

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