This is a nice article that was submitted to the San Antonio Express-News by two of our wish recipients who received wishes for their special needs children. Read, from the perspective of two soldiers, why it’s so important for us all to do our fair share for the troops. FULL ARTICLE
In the aftermath of war, the United States has reached out to those who serve, and we are thankful for a grateful nation. Sometimes, though, some of those overlooked are those closest to us: the spouses and children who hold vigil while we deploy to foreign lands.
When we return home, we reassemble our lives and introduce ourselves to our families. More than anything, spending time together is essential in working toward strengthening the relationships between family members. Sometimes it is challenging to find those venues where we can connect. Thankfully, there is an organization called Wish for Our Heroes that reaches out to military families.
We are two soldiers, proud to serve and wear the uniform of our country’s military. We are also honored to be fathers — dads who have been each blessed with a son and daughter.
Like most parents, our time with our children is special, geared toward creating memories we seek to preserve in our hearts for when our daughters walk down aisles or across a graduation stage. We are also similar in the fact that our sons face challenges that many other children do not face. So celebrating a touchdown pass or an afternoon of catch is more difficult: but it is because of who they are that we love them that much more. Below are our stories.
My name is Brian Everman, and my son Patrick has autism. Sometimes it is difficult for him to sit and communicate verbally, but through smiles and gestures we are able to strengthen the bond between father and son. When Brad Tobler of Wish for Our Heroes presented my son with a membership to a gymnastics class, he provided a sanctuary — a place where I smile while watching my son run, shout and jump with no fear of hurting himself while he reaches for the stars. My daughter also received a membership, which allows brother and sister to interact more.
My name is Rob Gevers, and as a soldier, I always saw myself as one who could handle any mission — any mission that required me to act in uniform, that is. However, I sometimes find myself grappling with what should be easier than it seems.
My son Mike — Mikey to friends and family — has been battling pseudotumor cerebri, a debilitating orthostatic condition that has him bedridden for much of the day. Sometimes it is difficult for him just to get through a day. Though Mikey has these conditions, he’s an excellent student. When Mr. Tobler presented Mikey with iPads for him and his mother to perform schoolwork, he broke down with tears of joy. When I saw Mikey overcome by emotions, it made me smile knowing that people cared.
Since receiving this gift, my son’s smiles are a daily occurrence, and seeing him happy has been a true gift. The other benefit is that now my son can communicate more easily with his sister, Celine, by playing games together and Skyping with family, friends and teachers. Through their generosity in improving the quality of life for our family, Wish for Our Heroes has been a true hero for me and our family.
Some might label children with challenges as having “special or exceptional needs,” but we love our sons just as they are and view them through a daddy’s eyes as being exceptional and special in their own right. Thanks, Mr. Tobler, for allowing us to provide them with an outlet where they can show us just how special they really are — boys enjoying life.
1st Lt. Brian Everman and Master Sgt. Rob Gevers serve in Headquarters Battalion, Army North.