bonds

By Debbie Gregory.

As a mother, I understand what I like to call that “throw yourself in front of a train” kind of love you have for your children. So it is with the deepest respect that I introduce you to  the Mighty Moms of Walter Reed.

These moms have experienced pain that no one ever wants to go through. They pick up the pieces when their children return from war.

Ten of these heroic moms and their children have been featured in a book, Unbreakable Bonds,The Mighty Moms and Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed.

This Saturday, June 11, at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) invites you to meet the extraordinary individuals known as the “Wounded Warriors and Mighty Moms of Walter Reed,” as they tell their moving stories of service to their country, to their children, and to each other.

This “band of mothers” live with their children at Walter Reed Medical Center while they assist in their children’s recovery from multiple amputations and traumatic brain injuries. They find themselves, once again, as caregivers for their brace children who volunteered to don our nation’s military uniform and put themselves in harm’s way.

The mighty moms put their lives on hold from the moment they get that first call about their injured son or daughter. They are ever present, often at the cost of their careers and duty to other family members. But they also find strength in this make-shift support group, in themselves and in each other. They share good times and bad times, triumphs and setbacks.

Stacy Fidler’s son Mark stepped on a mine while wearing a belt of grenades in Afghanistan. He and his mom have been at Walter Reed since October 2011. She, like many of the mothers, spends almost all her time at the hospital caring for her son. “Eventually you just end up living in a hospital room. It’s your home. You end up moving in, sleeping there, eating there, everything with your kid.”

Lynn Braden-Reed’s son, Christian, was badly injured when he stepped on an IED. He has since gone home, where he launched Gunslinger Outfitters, a non-profit that takes wounded vets on guided hunting and fishing trips.

Julie Keys and her son Adam have been at Walter Reed the longest. Adam was the sole survivor of a roadside bomb in July, 2010. Adam has had140 surgeries and suffered the loss of three of his limbs due to infection.

“He’s a fighter and he’s my personal miracle,” Keys said.

These are just three of the ten moms featured in the book.

But as Fidler says, “It’s not just about us ten moms. It’s about all the moms who are going through what we went through. There’s hundreds of Mighty Moms out there.”

The presentation “Unbreakable Bonds: The Mighty Moms of Walter Reed,” begins at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, 2016. The presentation is open to the public and free to attend. As always, USAHEC’s exhibits, to include the new “Sleepless Nights” art exhibit, “Treasures of USAHEC,” and the Soldier Experience Gallery, will be open. Parking is free, and the USAHEC facility is handicapped accessible. For more information about this and all other events, please visit the website: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec/newsarticle.cfm?id=321