Ellicia Stanley & her husband SPC Reid Stanley
I received and email from Wednesday Hero Blogroll member Mary Ann in which she suggested that I profile the spouse of a Soldier. Seeing as I’d profiled one such spouse in the past, I though this was the perfect opportunity to do it again. I hadn’t read the entire letter before I said yes, but after reading it I’m glad she sent it to me.
I think military families, especially the spouses, while they sign no contract, serve our country just as much as the service member. They give up familiar home ties and relocate all over the country, all over the world. They give up their civilian lives for something bigger than themselves.
Ellicia was a military wife for only two and a half years. Before they married, but after 9/11, Reid came to her and told her of his desire to enlist. He wanted to do his part. He tells part of the story in his blog post:
She encouraged him, pushing him so he could meet his goal of serving his country. He did and took his oath in October 2002. By the time they were married in July 2004, Reid was already stationed in Germany.
It was 3 months before she could join him there. In a move that, for someone who’d seldom left her hometown in South Carolina, must have come as quite an adjustment.
But she did it, as do so many other military wives. Then came deployment to Afghanistan in May 2005. They spent their first anniversary apart.
Reid writes about that anniversary in this post
It was in the sixth month of deployment when Ellicia received the news — she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Devastating.
However, in an email to me on the day she received her diagnosis, the phrase she used was, “not stellar news”. Understated, calm, steady, no hysteria, it was another challenge to face.
I came to admire her because, I too, had been away from home, (not to a foreign country), with a one small child (not three), and my husband traveling (not in a war zone).
Knowing what my experience had been like, I was amazed at how she took it all in stride. Even when faced with a terminal diagnosis, she faced it all with grace, dignity and humor. All the while supporting her husband, the mission and the country.
Reid was given compassionate leave back to Germany in November 2005. For the next thirteen months they fought their own personal war with cancer…breast, lung…and finally eleven tumors in her brain.
In November 2006 the Stanley’s took compassionate reassignment back to the U.S. to Ft. Eustis, Virginia.
On 31 December 2006, Ellicia lost her battle. But her spirit lives on in her husband, her children, and the many people she inspired with her courage.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.