Story by Adam Graves
When society thinks of a soldier going through boot camp or getting deployed to war, often times what they think about is the pain and grief that person has to go through. However, a lot of times, society doesn’t realize the solider’s supporters are going through the same process. When a soldier signs up for the military, so do his or her loved.
“Sometimes I saw my mom crying, and it was always hard because I didn’t necessarily understand what was going on,” said first-year student Jessica Rick. Rick grew up with a dad in the military. Her father, Robert Rick, is a lieutenant colonel for the National Guard. He is in charge of flying the air-fueling unit.
For Rick, one of the hardest parts of being a military daughter was last year. She was on her gymnastics team in high school, and it was the first year they went to state. Unfortunately, her father couldn’t make it because he was deployed.
“My dad usually came to all my meets,” Rick said. “It definitely had an impact on my performance because he wasn’t there. I wanted to perform my best to impress him.”
Rick ended up receiving her best score ever on the high beam.
Rick’s dad once told her a story where he saw guns pointing straight up at him while he was flying.
“This scared me because I was always under the impression that he was safe in the air,” Rick said.
Joe Fink is another student at Drake who has a family member in the military. Fink’s brother, David, is staff sergeant in IED Route Clearance. His duties are to go in front of other units to clear out bombs that Al Qaeda put out.
“Communication is the biggest issue for me,” Fink said about his brother. “I have talked to him five times since he went over in October.”
When his brother is back, he is very cautious when spending time with him. “You have a deeper appreciation for them when are gone for a year and a half at a time,” Fink said.
His brother actually met his wife on one of his tours.
“It’s romantic. People like that story,” Fink said.
David has missed some important events in his life so far, because of his military status. He missed the birth of his newborn son and his 2-year-old daughter growing up.
“This is something they agree to when they sign the contract to join,” Fink said. “One of the greatest things people back home can do to keep troop moral high is to write them a letter. You hear every day that your country thanks you, but it really means a lot to receive a letter anonymously being thanked for your work.”
Having family in the military may not have always been easy, but being touched by war has made Rick and Fink more appreciative of the sacrifices soldiers make for their country.
“Now that I am older, I am really proud of my dad and glad he followed his dreams,” Rick said.