By Spc. Paul A. Holston, XVIII Abn. Corps PAONovember 23, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Nov. 23, 2011) -- When a family is separated because of a deployment, it's normally the spouses back home worrying about their loved one in harm's way.
The last thing anyone deployed expects is for their family back home to be killed only months before redeployment. Unfortunately, for Tech Sgt. Donald Ramsey, these were the circumstances he was coming home to.
On Oct. 17, Ramsey, an Airman with the Oklahoma Air National Guard, returned to the U.S. along with the first main body of XVIII Airborne Corps Soldiers returning from Iraq to Fort Bragg.
Normally he would be reunited with his family instead, he returned on emergency leave, to face the tragedy of both his wife and daughter being killed in a motor vehicle accident.
Fortunately for Ramsey, there are those who show selfless service and help those, no matter the circumstance. Ann Provencher and Barb Linn would be there for him when he most needed it.
Provencher and Linn, both with Blue Star Mothers, an organization of mothers who have, or have had, children serving in the nation's active, Reserve, or National Guard. They have experience to it comes with the military lifestyle.
Provencher and her husband are Army veterans, who have two children who are currently in the Navy and Army respectively, with one currently deployed.
Additionally, Linn's husband is an Army retiree, and they have two sons and two sons-in-law in the Army.
Before Ramsey's arrival, Linn received a phone call from a fellow Blue Star Mother in Oklahoma and was informed of Ramsey's situation.
"She asked me if we could help her and I said 'yes' without knowing any of the circumstances," Linn said. "I told her to give me as much information as she could and we would go from there."
These women consider helping anyone in need in any type of situation, whether tragic or triumphant, more than just a job. They consider it their calling.
"Our mission is to reach out and support all the service members," said Provencher. "Even though they are all grown men and women, we see them as our own children in the same uniforms."
Without hesitation, both women immediately went to work trying to meet every need that Ramsey would need upon his arrival.
"We made a bunch of phone calls and got lodging reservations ready for him and his escort to stay the night, along with accommodations to get a flight out of Durham (N.C.) to Oklahoma," said Provencher.
On the night of Ramsey's arrival, Provencher and Linn waited along with the families of XVIII Airborne Corps, to see the person whom they helped so much.
"The first thing we did when he stepped into the hanger was immediately give him a hug," said Provencher. "We expressed our condolences and comforted him as much as we could as he was getting ready for his follow-on transportation."
As Ramsey was waiting for his bags, he asked Linn if she wanted to see the picture of his wife and daughter from his phone. As he showed her the picture, he began to become overwhelmed with emotion.
"When he was looking at the picture on his phone, I just kissed him on the head and gave him a hug as if he was one of mine," Linn said. "He then said to me, 'It must be just a momma thing, because you're doing everything that's making me feel better.'"
Although up to that point they did not know Ramsey personally, both women knew they had done the right thing, as it is instilled in them to help those in need.
"It's the little things that matter the most," said Provencher.