DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. -- On January 6, 2009, Capt. Katrina Patillo, U.S. Marine Corps, was promoted to the rank of major by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich, Director, Marine Corps Staff. As is so often the case, she wanted to share this special moment in her life with close family members by having them attend the promotion ceremony. On account of a serious health issue involving a key family member, this is where the story takes some interesting twists and turns.

The promotion ceremony was scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., where Patillo works in the Marine Corps Staff Director's Office, while her parents, siblings, and several other close relatives live in the Detroit, MI, area. Under normal circumstances, the trip between the two cities would not be a problem. However, Patillo's mother Cleonia suffers from a chronic cardiopulmonary disease which is exacerbated by winter weather, making the trip difficult at best, if not impossible for her.

Family members came to a consensus that if Cleonia could not go, then they also would not go. Instead, they decided to explore alternative ways that would enable the family to participate in the ceremony.

After numerous phone calls and several frustrating dead ends, Patillo finally got the help that she was looking for when she contacted the U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal. Brenda McCullough, garrison manager, offered to provide a conference room along with Video Teleconference (VTC) support that would make it possible for the family to take part in the promotion.

Needless to say, the family was grateful to accept McCullough's offer. Among those that attended were Patillo's mother Cleonia, father Troy, brother Demetrius, sister Larissa, and nieces Katrina and Delesha. Patillo interacted with relatives both during and after the promotion ceremony. Their joy and pride for being able to participate in this momentous occasion were clearly evident.

"I'm just so happy that I was able to see Katrina get promoted. Because I couldn't make the trip to Washington, D.C., on account of my health problems, I pretty much thought that all my chances of participating in the promotion were gone. I just want to thank all of the people here at the Garrison who made this possible," Cleonia said. Other family member seconded her sentiments.

Congratulations to Maj. Patillo on her promotion. A 1991 graduate of Detroit's Cody High School at the age of 16, and a 1994 graduate from the University of Michigan, she is clearly on the way to bigger and better things in her career.

For its part, the U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal is proud to have cooperated across military services to bring this story to a happy conclusion for all concerned.

Semper Fidelis!