By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 at 4:27 pm in veterans.
Let’s take a much deserved break from politics.
I have posted below a flyer for an Oct. 30 pancake breakfast fundraiser in Pittsburg to benefit a special young woman, Gold Star wife Jessica Langevin, whose husband, Sean, was killed in 2007 while serving in the Army in Afghanistan.
In the interests of full disclosure, I confess utter and total bias. I call Jessica my “bonus” daughter. It’s a little complicated (blended families usually are) but Jessica is the step-sister of my three step-children, and my husband, Joe, and I, love her as though she were our own. (All total, between his, mine and our exes, Joe & I have claims of one variety or another on seven wonderful children and seven beautiful grandchildren.)
It has been a rough three years for Jessica. She was 7 months pregnant when Sean was killed. But she has been working hard. She used Sean’s death benefit money and bought a new house in Pittsburg where she began setting up an in-home daycare center. She wanted a job that would allow her to stay at home with their little girl, Zoe, and build a new life for them both.
The back yard was nothing but a dirt hillside and to obtain a childcare license, she needed a safe and secure place for the kids to play. She hired a contractor, who took her money and didn’t finish the job. The hill kept slumping and sliding.
I mentioned Jessica’ predicament to Spike Schau, the California State Coordinator of the Warriors’ Watch Riders, a motorcycle group that escorts fallen soldiers. Spike had helped escort Sean to his resting place in Queen of Heaven cemetery in Pleasant Hill. I met Spike again, while working as a reporter, a few times at veterans events.
I can’t say exactly what triggered my call to Spike, although Jessica believes it was God answering her prayers. But I’m glad I did. It was as though I had unleashed a tornado. Spike took a hold of Jessica’s dilemma and tapped into the vast and often unheralded support system for our military families. He called it a team effort and he is right. Rick’s story details the names and details of just some of the wonderful people who have volunteered their time, money and skills just in the past week.
Sean’s death was and remains a source of terrible loss and sadness for Jessica, a void that those of us who love her cannot fill. But watching the community sweep this young woman into their arms and give her the help and support she needs sure goes a long way.
So, come on over to the pancake breakfast in Pittsburg on Saturday. It will fill your stomach and your heart. And if you are anything like me, you’ll shed a few tears, too.
UPDATE: Spike says what the project needs most is a donation of 38 cubic yards of concrete or the money to help pay for it. So, eat pancakes!