Working Among Heroes

17 Sep

Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day in DuPont, Wash.

When I interviewed for my current position as sports and leisure reporter for the Northwest Guardian I had no idea what I was getting into. I was told I would cover a lot of intramural sports activities, and since it’s a weekly, it would be heavy on the feature writing.

Because reporter positions are few and far between these days, and because this sports position was a day job for the most part, I was eager to accept this new challenge.

I have relatives that served and currently serve in the military, but I admit I was completely oblivious to the military life. To me the war on terror felt so far away from my own personal bubble that it didn’t concern me. Thanks to the last year and three months on the job at JBLM, I have met some of the most incredible people who protect our country, who support those who protect it and those who live to honor the fallen.

I write a lot of feel-good stories about Soldiers and Airmen who serve this country and in their limited free time do something amazing as an athlete. But there have been times when I have written some of the most difficult stories to tell.

I met Teresa Maggart last summer. Her husband Sgt. Brandon Maggart was killed by an IED in Iraq the previous year. After the interview she opened a box she had brought with her that included some of her husband’s personal items that were in his barrack when he was hit. She showed me things like his wallet and a calendar she had made him with their personal family photos that included their 3-year-old son. Everything she showed me had holes ripped through from the IED. In an instant the war became very real to me.

I let down my professional demeanor as I spoke to this woman who was my age and a widow. I couldn’t stop my tears when she recalled how she found out about her husband’s death and how she’s been trying to move forward since then. I listened to her in awe and was inspired by her faith and spirit. She is such an incredible woman of God and strength. Read my story here.

Teresa places a flag in memory of her husband.

Working with the military has given me a new level of compassion for our service members and a better understanding of what they go through every day. I know several spouses who continue to count down the months until their significant other returns from their deployment. Could I be that strong if Trevor was deployed to a war zone?

Teresa is just one of several people who have affected me personally on the job. I am so grateful to her husband for making the ultimate sacrifice and thankful to Teresa and her son for showing me the good that comes out of tragedy.

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2 Responses to “Working Among Heroes”

  1. youtube.com May 30, 2014 at 6:29 am #

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Cardinals Family « A Writer's Purpose - October 11, 2012

    […] have written before about Army spouse Teresa Maggart. I first met her last year for a story assignment. It had been a year since her husband Sgt. […]

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