while my mind keeps telling me that, my heart keeps telling me you can take the
family out of the Army but you cannot take the Army out of the family. I am okay with that. There isn’t anything in my opinion more
important to the morale and well-being of the soldier than the family so I have
no problem with the Army life coursing through my veins. It is who I always have and always feel I am.
with him for 19 of those years. The Army taught me how to pack up my entire
house and move from one country to another with only a few weeks’ notice, how
to fit two suitcases worth of gear into one duffle bag, the meaning of the BRAS
chart, how to plot a grid on a map and how to send my husband off to combat
with the understanding his unit expected 80% casualties, a point they explained
to all the wives during a very educational meeting at the beginning of Desert
Shield. What the Army did not teach me
was how to sit back and not prepare and send him off to combat and how to live
life not being an Army wife.
and though he has been retired almost as many years as he served on active duty
I still find it difficult to consider myself anything but an Army wife.
of, travel to beautiful cities and lifelong friendships it also brought with it
a lot of injuries. From a the beginning
stages of a back injury from an LCM during an exercise while stationed in
Panama to a C7 fracture which occurred during our time at Ft. Knox the Army has
taken a toll on his body.
speed bumps in the road but rather just another chapter in what would surely be
a very long book about our life. There
were things we endured and struggled through due to his military career that
most people would swear were made up and others would never want to go
through. If they were speed bumps we
must have great shocks on our life because while it was hard we have made it
through each and every one of them and are still surviving, still together and
believe it or not still like each other!
them navigate the valleys and curves of Army life but so far nobody has taken
the time to sit down and write one. I
often wonder if some of the things we have been through would have been easier
if I had known where to turn or where to go by reading an article or listening
to someone’s advice. My hope is to talk
about some of the things we went through and hopefully give other wives an idea
where to turn if they find themselves in need of help too.
memories that I can now see were times that helped build character and
strength. I guess God knew one day I
would have the time to help other military wives out with some of the struggles
they are going through and figured on the job training was the best way to be
able to help to the fullest.
S-1 area. The injury began during an amphibious assault mission in Panama when
he was hit in the lower back by an LCM.
That on top of thirteen more years of being a Grunt didn’t quite get it
to the point of surgery. That took
slipping off a porch during a really bad storm January 26, 2000. After fighting with his place of employment
and workers comp for six months they finally did his surgery July 26, 2000.
until workers comp decided to tell him they had his paperwork and he needed to
go home. This was my first experience in
learning how to look for and find information to help him that nobody else
would give us. After a few hours of
research on line I found articles that stated no workers comp claim can be
filed until the employee was off work for at least seven days.
fact he was retired military. Once he
realized we knew the truth about the workers comp and Gary left work he was
furious! At that point he filed a form with workers comp stating that the
injury was not a work related injury. We
received a call from workers comp with that information and a “sorry but if
it’s not a work related injury you cannot file a claim”. Then a funny thing happened. Two weeks later Gary was called in to the
office and given a complaint from his supervisor. In bold letters across the top it stated
“reason for reprimand-failure to report a work related injury in a timely
manner”. He received that letter on a
Thursday afternoon. I called the workers
comp office first thing Friday morning and did not get an answer. Wasn’t surprised, they were understaffed and
always busy. I thought we would get a
call before the end of the day on Friday.
No such luck.
learned that it is a true fact, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I
quickly learned how to squeak with the best of them. I called the workers comp office 68 separate
times that weekend, each time telling them about the letter. Monday morning at 9:00 am I had a return call
from the case worker. I made one simple statement
that it seems impossible for a claim to be turned down for “not work related”
then the same supervisor write him up for not reporting a work related injury
in a timely manner. Her response was
“you are right and we are going to move forward with filing the claim”.
look through all your records and try and turn you down for an injury that
began in the military. A little more
research showed me that each state has revised codes. Not sure what all states codes say but in
Ohio an injury can still be work related with a pre-existing injury if that
injury was accelerated or aggravated by the new injury.
day. I learned a lot by looking up
things that pertained to our situation, his injury, past cases and how they
were decided. Unfortunately for us in
the end I was not able to find enough to keep us from losing everything we
worked for. We lost our house, had to
sell our truck, all our savings was gone and the animals were given away to
people in our area who had room for them.
I have to admit I cried more when I watched people drive away with my
animals than I did my truck and I thought things could not get worse.
I watched young service members deploy and some return injured and some not
return at all. Though we lost everything
we were lucky enough to have a friend let us live in their rental property
until we could get a place of our own.
We found a used vehicle to drive and while I didn’t have all my animals
back we were able to get a family dog.
People brought us food when we need it and found clothes for the kids
when we couldn’t afford them.
bad we had it someone, somewhere had it just a little worse than we did. We didn’t still have our farm, but we had a
house, we didn’t still have our beautiful red Diesel Truck but we had
transportation. And most importantly we
had our family together.
positive and keep laughing, and do I always look at the glass as half full
instead of half empty? I told her it
wasn’t always easy. There were days I
wanted to scream and I would go in the basement and cry. But when I was done nothing had changed. The problems were still there, still had to
be addressed only now I had to do that with a horrible headache. Then I told her I never look at the glass as
half full or half empty….I’m just always glad I own the damn glass.
resources, information and if they need it, just a place to vent and let it all
out. I am strong enough for that. I have survived 37 years of marriage, a war
and two teenage daughters. I am an
11Bravo wife and through strength that came from all we went through I can
handle whatever someone wants to throw at me.