I am so grateful to our generous clients and business partners who came to our open house on Veterans Day and donated to our local veterans. It is a cause that is near and dear to my heart because my husband, Tony, was an army officer when we met.

We had been recently engaged when on the morning of September 11, 2001, I got a call from him letting me know I wouldn’t be hearing from him for a few days. He was a chemical officer at the time and was headed to New York.

Several years later Hurricane Katrina blasted our country. We watched the news while our oldest son Sebastian was just an infant, and were grateful that Tony was assigned to help with the evacuation and cleanup efforts. It was a long six weeks for me without him, but I was proud of the work he was doing on behalf of our country.

About a year later, we received the fateful call that he would be deployed to Baghdad. I was pregnant with our second son Isaiah and the news was devastating, but not surprising. Things in Iraq were bad. For 15 months, I was a single mom. Tony missed Isaiah’s birth, but was fortunate enough to come home for two weeks after his birth.

r-e-d-remember-everyone-deployed-until-they-all-come-homeThese were dark times. The news showed battle and carnage on a daily basis. News of soldiers being killed or maimed was constantly in my face. I cancelled our cable subscription and stopped watching the news. I had tremendous support from my community of family, friends and church. It was then that I wrote the Christian music CD “Send Me” that many have found floating around on the internet.

By the grace of God, Tony completed his deployment and returned from Baghdad. Isaiah was about six months old; Sebastian was close to three. As thrilled as we were to have him home, those first few weeks were strained for all of us. I remember a time when he was driving and almost ran a red light. I stopped him and he said he had been scanning the side of the road for IEDs, not watching traffic signals. We came to the decision that he would get out of the Army for good, which meant he didn’t have a job. He had experienced and seen awful things that he somehow needed to process in order to move on. His “outprocessing” consisted of a quick physical and psychological evaluation, and he was discharged.

We signed up for couples counseling, mostly to help him process what he had been through, and to help us integrate from a single mom family to a dual parent household. It was one of the best decisions we made. His transition to civilian life has been smooth and successful. He proactively addressed his time in Baghdad and drew on the experiences to make him a stronger, more capable leader.

I wish that all veterans could experience the same successful transition from war to society that my husband Tony has. Today we are blessed to have added more kiddos to our clan. Thank you for all of your support and donations. They will help the lives of local Phoenix veterans.

 

Billie

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