I recently had the pleasure of attending the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. Our guest speaker was long-time Preston resident, Gerrie Daley. Gerrie is very well known in our town, having performed day care services for more than thirty years, being active in the VFW Auxiliary and Preston Area Arts Council. Because of Preston's "veteran friendly community" program, Gerrie was invited to speak about her life as a military wife and mom.
Gerrie's late husband, Pete, as well as her sons Ted and Larry have a combined sixty years service in the United States Army. Gerrie recalled a visit to West Point when her son was a cadet, her countless sleepless nights worrying about her sons, holidays and birthdays without the entire family present as well as the pride she has for her sons.
Gerrie also spoke about the stresses placed on her grandchildren and daughters-in-law. I cannot imagine what the little ones went through, missing their dad especially at Christmas or birthdays. If I were a military wife, I would worry 24/7 about my husband.

As Gerrie was preparing to speak at the PACC meeting, she contacted her son for ideas.  He wanted her to suggest that if a business is seeking new hires, consider hiring a veteran.  Veterans are disciplined, loyal, and hard-working employees.

To close her speech, Gerrie recalled a particular evening when she expressed her fear and worry about her sons' safety to her husband, Pete. He told her the boys would be fine, that they had received  proper training.  Those were the last words Pete spoke to Gerrie.   He suffered a massive aneurysm and passed away ten days later. They were unable to hold Pete's funeral and burial until three weeks later when her sons were able to come home from active duty. Three agonizing weeks for Gerrie.

I never gave much thought to how difficult and stressful life can be for military families.   I have a new found respect for them and everything they go through. Thank you veterans for your service and to all military families for holding things together at home. And of course, thank you, Gerrie Daley, for sharing your story. It touched me deep to my soul.

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