Army family offers its thanks



March 18, 2007

I am writing to express deep gratitude for the generosity of an unknown family here in the Harford county area.

We are a military family stationed here at Aberdeen Proving Ground. We have been here for about a year and a half. My husband is a soldier and a veteran of Bosnia, Kosovo, and more recently Iraq. He has served his nation with pride and dedication. He enjoys what he does, and does so without an expectation of recognition.

We are a family of six. We have four boys ranging in age from 10 years to 15 months. Our two oldest have special needs, and that can present its own challenges. Although my children and I do not wear the uniform, we serve in our own quiet and sacrificing way.

Last night our family went to a Denny's restaurant in Abingdon. This is a challenge because of the dynamics of four children, and the unique behaviors of a child with ADHD, and a child with Autism. We were seated in the back of the restaurant in a corner, however in very close proximity to a family of four. The family was gracious and kind and seemed to understand and accept our attempt at keeping as much calm at our table as possible.

We ordered our dinner and attempted to keep the boys as quiet as possible. My husband felt out of place because he had met us there, and had not had the opportunity to change out of his Army uniform. The family beside us made a bit of small talk and finished their dinner. As they went to leave; the gentleman stood up, looked my husband in the eye, shook his hand, and thanked my husband for his service to our nation.

This genuine expression of gratitude was very touching to my husband and brought a tear to his eye.

As our server delivered our dinner, she informed us that the family that dined beside us had taken care of our bill. The family had gone, and so was our opportunity to properly thank this gracious family for their generosity. My husband was so overwhelmed by this kindness that he found it difficult to enjoy his meal, as he felt unworthy of such a kind gift.

What my family would like to say is thank that anonymous family. It was no small gesture. Your kindness was a shining example of the good that is in this nation and one of the motivating presences that keeps our soldiers moving forward everyday. This family helped my children understand that while their father may be gone for days, weeks, or even months at a time, he is doing an important job and our sacrifice as a family is worth it. This lesson in and of itself is invaluable, so we say thank you to all of the families out there that support our soldiers and their families. Your support means the world to us.

Kristin Ostheim Aberdeen Proving Ground

The writer is the wife of Army Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Ostheim.

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