Proud daughter and widow of fallen Iraqi Freedom War Marine Veteran find hope to continue
After losing their dad, husband and son, daughter Teegan, wife Melanie and mom Karen find some comfort knowing that two faith based organizations care about them, share in their loss and want to help in some small, but meaningful way.
As a non-Veteran, the most frequent question I get from the people I meet is “So how did this whole thing start?” The simple answer is God called me to do it, but that would not give “…the rest of the story”.
The story starts with at a “Membership” class at Woodside Bible Church in Troy, MI, hosted by Pastor Brian Wood. My wife and I watched a video produced by I Like Giving, regarding a homeless Veteran in Dallas Texas. The video was titled “I Like Veteran” https://vimeo.com/150733466 . As I watched the video, I became increasingly uptight, asking myself, “How can we treat our Veterans with such indifference?”. I also questioned God as to how he could allow this to happen to those that defend this God blessed and inspired country.
My thoughts turned to my late father-in-law, a 29 year Navy Veteran, who retired as Master Chief and formerly in charge of the aircraft carrier USS Midway’s computer system. He was forced to retire just shy of 30 years, keeping him from receiving his 30 year pension and never really received any meaningful assistance from the VA or related government agencies.
Several weeks went by with the video still echoing in my head, but the frustration all changed on a routine drive home from work, while listening to one of my favorite Christian Detroit radio stations. A new song filled my car… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8 “I woke up this morning, Saw a world full of trouble now, Thought, how’d we ever get so far down, How’s it ever gonna turn around, So I turned my eyes to Heaven, I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?” Matthew West was singing my exact sentiments! I listened further… Mr. West went on…So, I shook my fist at Heaven, Said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’…..He said, ‘I did, I created you’”. Wow, that thought never crossed my mind, but I said “I will…Do Something!”, so I did…and OPERATION: COME H.O.M.E. was born as a newly created Domestic Nonprofit Corporation, with an official birthday of Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014!
But I still had one last question for God…”Why me?” He answered me with a simple reminder… “If it weren’t for the US Military, you (nor your two brothers) would be here” I then realized that I, in fact am here directly because of a US Soldier. During the “Occupation”, a soldier told my WWII generation German father, to get to Detroit, where he could use his Tool and Die trade skills to “…earn his fortune!”. So he did, immigrating in 1955 to Canada, calling for his then girlfriend, to join him here, which she did.
Marrying in Windsor, just before moving to Chicago he and my mom lived in downtown Chi-Town, giving birth to twin boys (on my dad’s birthday), August 6, 1961, then moving to Detroit in 1964 were my dad accepted a Superintendent position at Future Products in Clawson, MI.
So with that, I must say “Thank you!” to my true heroes…