THE SACRIFICE OF A SOLDIER
My husband (Sarah's Dad), SSG Richard J. Wonsowski has served in the US Army for nearly 20 years, has deployed 3 times to Iraq, and is currently enduring a 2 year transfer to Fort Lewis in Washington State, for a total of almost 6 years away from family. In 2010, he exited the plane from Iraq only to find that he had received orders to report to Fort Lewis, Washington State with only a couple of months to prepare for the move. it was not feasible for me Sarah and step daughter (from my previous marriage) to pick up and leave our home of 7 years in Georgia. With a crumbling housing market, poor economy and children who were already halfway through a school year, it would have been very difficult to pull off. Knowing that his retirement was quickly approaching which would bring him back home within a 2 year period of time, we knew we were strong enough to get through it. As of now, he would only have 2-3 months left before retirement and can say that we're on the "down side". We have sacrified as a family, but nothing compares to the sacrifices our Soldier has made for US.
To say that these last 2 years have been a disasterous, would be an understatement. Financially, it has played havok on us with having to pay nearly $1,000 per month extra for his living expenses. It also doesn't help that Washington State is already an expensive place to live. We have struggled to keep our mortgage and other bills current in addition to his needs there. Slowly but surely, we have made it this far and will keep it going until he is home with us FOR GOOD.
On top of an already trying time, Rich just found out (a couple of weeks ago) that he may have to undergo back surgery (a spinal fusion) before he can retire. In going through the Medical Board of the Military (due to these back issues), he also learned that he cannot be released for retirement until he has been fully processed through their system. Yes, this even overrides his retirement date. What a dissappointment to come this far and realize that he won't be coming home for possibly another 6 months to a year. His retirement will have to be pushed to the right and we will have to sit and wait on them to tell us when he is finally able to come home for good. I believe the hardest part was having to break the news to Sarah.
WHY WE ARE HERE
Although Sarah was sad that we wouldn't be seeing her daddy as soon as planned, she understands that he has to make sure his back is taken care of before he retires. Sometimes, I honestly do not know where she gets her maturity and ability to cope with issues at such a young age. I guess it should not surprise me though, since she has known no other life but the Military and the "hurry up and wait" mentality. I just know that Sarah is so ready to see her daddy again - even if for a short period of time. When asked what she would like for Christmas, her only reply is "to have my Daddy home for Christmas....that is ALL I want." I know she means it too.
If we could give her this gift, it would, in turn, be a gift for us all. In fact, it's the only thing I have on my list too. The only obstacle we face is being able to come up with the money for a plane ticket to bring him to Georgia from Washington State (nearly 3,000 miles away), while managing to keep our finances afloat. For the possible days he would be able to take a 2 week leave in December, it looks like a round trip ticket will cost $700 (or more - the longer we wait to buy).
Our Soldier, SSG Richard J. Wonsowski, has sacrified so much - not only for our country, but for our family. He has gone without being able to watch his little girl grow up - 6 years of missing many milestones. Not only does Sarah deserve this, but HE deserves this. This would refuel us all....to endure the months ahead and at least feel as if we haven't let these circumstances completely defeat us. It would be a blessing to our family if you feel you could donate any amount of money towards this cause. If not, I just ask that you keep us in your prayers as Rich goes through the next few months preparing for back surgery and not knowing when he will be released for retirement. Also pray for us, here at home, that we will remain patient and encouraging to our Soldier until he is finally home with us again.
Thank you for your consideration and for "listening"!