Friday, March 27, 2009

American Widow Project

The women of the American Widow Project, an online support network and nonprofit organization dedicated to unifying a new generation of widows, are far from traditional. They surf, skydive and now road-trip to honor their husbands, who died serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Widows Taryn Davis and Nicole Hart, both 23, will spend most of the next few months driving cross-country, sleeping in campgrounds and knocking on doors. They are traveling to military towns, offering understanding and hope to an ever-growing band of sisters.

"I really believe if we can lessen the pain and lessen the grief that just one widow can go through, then we are accomplishing our mission," Davis told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff.

Davis and Hart are traveling in a black RV custom-painted with the names of more than 4,000 of the fallen from Iraq and Afghanistan, including their husbands, Cpl. Michael Davis of San Marcos, Texas, and Sgt. David Hart of Lake View Terrace, Calif.

"We really just hope to, if anything, not have them disappear," Davis said.

Stacey Markham was one of the first women to find her husband's name, Sgt. Jonathan Markham, on the list. "It is amazing that everybody's name is up there," she said. "Wherever this RV is at, people will be reminded, not just, 'Oh, we lost another soldier today, but look at all these families that have suffered this loss."

Davis and Hart launched the road trip last month in San Marcos, Texas, where Davis met and fell in love with her husband. In a moving ceremony, surrounded by widows and veterans groups, San Marcos' mayor Susan Narvaiz presented the widows with the key to the city.

More than 30 Patriot Guard Riders -- a national organization of motorcycle riders who honor the sacrifice of the military and their families -- stood with flags and wearing leather jackets as the widows spoke, ready to escort them on the first leg of their journey.

Putting the large RV in reverse, Davis said, "All righty. Let's do this."

'We Regret to Inform You'

It was nearly two years ago that two soldiers in Class-A uniforms approached Davis' home with devastating news.

"One of them had his head down and the other one was shaking," Davis said. "And then the words that I think are burned into every widow's and widower's mind: 'The secretary of defense regrets to inform you your husband, Michael Davis, was killed.'"

Many widows have shared their memories of those words with Davis.

"I heard the dogs bark and I looked out the window and I saw a white van and there were two soldiers in it and I knew," said Nina Carr, widow of Sgt. Robert M. Carr. "Like my heart dropped to the floor." Csilla Lyerly, widow of Capt. Sean Lyerly, said, "I just fell to the floor and I was just screaming, `No, no, no, no.' And I paused, and I looked at them, like, `Ma'am we regret to inform you.' `No, no, no, no,' I am just screaming at the top of my lungs."

"I said, `now what do I do?'" recalled Jessica Ardron, widow of Sgt. Brian Ardron. "And, he said, `Well, we are going to have a casualty officer call you.' And, I said, `No, what do I do with my life?'"

Read the entire story HERE

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A special thank you to my friend, Karen who passed this amazing story along to my attention!


Mary said...


Hats off to Davis and Hart. What they're doing is very commendable. No soldier should be forgotten.


AirmanMom said...

mary...truly, these two young women are nothing less than remarkable!

Bogart in P Towne said...

Nothing makes me tear up faster than those stories...the scene from Saving Private Ryan where the woman is washing dishes and she sees that car pull up...

My heart aches...

Mary Ellen said...

What amazing strength - I have so much admiration for these women!

lolaberly said...

Thank you for sharing their story. What they're doing is truly beautiful.

MightyMom said...

what a fabulous and insightful ministry to these hero families!

thanks for this post.

Julie said...

I guess we are on the same wavelength. I posted about this yesterday. I am proud of these women and their incredible strength.

AirmanMom said...

bogart..I could not agree with you more! If you ever get a chance to watch the YouTube video of 'Letters From War', by Mark Shultz I highly recommend it. Extremely moving.

AirmanMom said...

ME..truly, they are amazing women!

AirmanMom said...

lolaberly...I agree! Thank you for stopping by!

AirmanMom said...

mm...thank you for taking the time to read their story!

AirmanMom said...

julie..these young women deserve as much attention to their cause, as possible!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I just love your blog and your posts Airman Mom. This is a wonderful thing that you're bringing attention to. My Dad was a Purple Heart Korean War Vet. He was in a supply truck that went to the front line filled with ammo.
On the way back, they ran over a mine. Only my precious daddy and another soldier lived.
Thank you for what you are doing and God bless you lady!!

Steady On
Reggie Girl

david mcmahon said...

Thank you for sharing this with us.

skywind said...

War is the most painful of women and children, in particular, soldiers are killed wife and children, and their most difficult situation. To help them, are the obligation of society.
Health information
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Julie said...

Happy Saturday! I'm here trying to get caught up on my blog reading....

What a beautiful thing these women are doing. I can't imagine what they go through when the knock at the door comes. It's devastating just reading about it.

Thanks for sharing this..

Fragrant Liar said...

Incredible young women. I love what they're doing. Their husbands would be proud of them.

AirmanMom said...

rg...A special thank you to your dad for his service! How proud you must be of him!
I thank you for your kind words!

AirmanMom said...

david...I thank you for taking the time to read the story of these amazing young women!

AirmanMom said...

skywind...your words hold so very much truth. Thank you!

AirmanMom said...

julie...I could not even begin to imagine how much pain these young women have known.

AirmanMom said...

FL...So very true, their husbands are no doubt proud of them!!! Thanks for stopping by!

Taryn Davis- The AWP said...

Dear A.M.,

I wanted to write and thank you for posting this story on us! We find it a great honor to have your support, as a military mother.

For us there is no better way to leave a legacy for our heroes then to help the families of the men and women our husbands fought and died next to.

I thank you again for spreading the word and your support of our lifetime cause.

With love and honor,
Proud Military Widow of Cpl. Michael Davis KIA 5.21.07

AirmanMom said... was my honor to post your outstanding work! I thank you! I know my readers thank you as well!
God Bless!