Since Mario’s death people have told me I am incredibly strong. Although I always appreciate their kind words and encouragement I do not agree with their sentiments. From the day we received that knock at the door, the Marine Corps and our military community has stood with me and my children. They not only conveyed their love and support for our hero, but they have embraced our family and taken this incredibly painful journey along with us.
In the past eight years, I have never felt alone. In fact, it has been quite the opposite. I continue to attend events, ceremonies and spend time with the friends and families Mario served alongside. It is this same support that led me to the opportunity to form The Sugar Bear Foundation. Once again, I am blessed and grateful to have this community not only encouraging me but reaching out and wanting to assist me in our endeavors.
A perfect example of this assistance was seen in July with all the support we received for Sugar Bear’s Virtual Run, especially from so many friends. It was a beautiful and impactful way to honor our hero while giving back to Gold Star families.
One of the main reasons I wanted to form the foundation was to extend the love and support my children and I have received to other survivors. I believe we are doing just that!
In August, along with our partners from the MCRD Command Museum's Family Forever Program, we provided gift cards to Gold Star Spouses for their children’s back to school shopping. Later this month, we will be hosting the first of a three-part forum series for Gold Star spouses to assist them with their educational, career, and wellness needs. These are two examples of us not only providing support but ultimately instilling strength to families who have given so much.
When I look at my life now as compared to eight years ago, I do feel strong. I can carry on Mario’s spirit in a way that would make him happy. The support I have received has defined my life and that is a message I will continue share in the hope of helping others.