I walked in Monday morning and got a seat in the second row. I couldn't believe it. I was actually beginning my first day of training in a program to bring people awareness of what our service members and veterans and their families were going through, as well as learning steps I could take to help them in my own community. There was just one thing I was nervous about thanks to my personal experiences the last six years dealing with the aftermath of my son's brain injury: I was just a mom. Would these veterans accept me?
Our trainer was awesome. She made us all feel welcome. She gave us an opportunity to introduce ourselves. Again, I was nervous. I wasn't a veteran, I wasn't the spouse of one. I had been at one time, but my ex had been fortunate enough to have a desk job and never had to deal with any conflicts during his time in the Air Force. Still, our lives as a military family living in housing out in California and in Texas had been a piece of cake compared to what my kids and I would go through as the mom, brother and sister of a soldier literally in a war zone, and even more so what our soldier and his comrades would face.
We signed confidentiality statements and quickly became comfortable with each other. I was grateful. I could feel I was being accepted. The stories that were shared hit home. I even made the statement that I could put my son's name in place of some of theirs, the experiences were so similar. They all felt that way.
The training class was filled with veterans from Vietnam and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We quickly went from being “students” to being family. Just as Family of a Vet is made up of veterans and their family members, Bring Everyone in the Zone is made up of family as well, people who's lives have been forever changed by combat situations. Both share a common goal: to let veterans and their families know they are not alone and to bring awareness to the public regarding these special heroes and their families.
I learned a lot last week. I was also told something while standing at the elevator by two of the veterans I had come to know: “You're not just a mom. You're Supermom.”
Supermom is back home and ready to legally and ethically make changes in my own community to better serve our veterans and loved ones. From experience, I know I'm not the only one. Let's join forces for those who took their job as defenders seriously. Supermoms, Superdads, SuperSpouses, Superkids, Supersiblings, you can do it.
Submitted by Monica Newton