Sgt. Ashley M. Carey – Bravelets

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Sgt. Ashley M. Carey

Posted on April 08 2013

My name is Robin and I am a Proud Mom and a Gold Star Mother, of my daughter, Sgt. Ashley M. Carey, 82nd Airborne Division.I lost my beautiful, brave daughter in an accident in November 2010, the day before my birthday and thirteen days before her 22nd birthday.Ashley was a highly respected Soldier, and a much loved individual, by her fellow Soldiers, friends and family, in her too short twenty one years she was with us. She served one year in Iraq and won the award, Paralegal Of The Year Iraq, in 2009. A contest that she was told she was entering right after she earned the rank of Sergeant, at twenty years old, and was told nobody in her Division ever lost the contest so she had better win it. She was so proud to serve her Country and to be apart of the 82nd Airborne Division. When she graduated Boot Camp, she was named Soldier Of The Cycle and she specifically signed up to work in the 82nd Airborne Division, and to do this you have to learn how to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. This was a girl who wasn’t involved in sports, she was involved in Drama Club, and was the first Freshman in her High School to be awarded with the lead role in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and when she was moved to a different high school, in a different State in her Senior year, she tried out for the Drama Club in a city where Sony Studios calls home, and she was accepted there too, again earning an understudy role for the lead in a play and writing for the High School paper.As you can imagine, when I received a call in the early hours of a Sunday morning, telling me to come home, because I was out on a dog/house sitting assignment, I was met with the worst news of my life. I’ll never forget my Mom, Ashley’s Grandmother, blurting out the news while my Dad was on the phone with Ashley’s fiance, who is also an Army Ranger in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.After driving out to break the news to her brother, calling family out of State, making arrangements to fly across the Country to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, a few hours later, I was met at the airport by two men dressed in their Class A Uniforms, a Chaplin and a Causality Assistance Officer. This is a sight, that any family member who has a loved one serving, never wants to ever experience. My heart goes out to the two Officers I met with, because this has to be the toughest job in the Army, bar none.I was on hyper alert mode that whole week, from the signing of papers, talking to the local police department concerning the details of her accidental death, to attending her funeral on Base, then flying her back home on Veteran’s Day, attending a Ramp Ceremony conducted by the LAX Police Department, the Los Angeles Harbor Police, acting as an escort to the funeral home, and the Ft. Bragg Color Guard, that was specially flown out to California to assist in the Ramp Ceremony and her Memorial service that was conducted at home for her family and friends. There was other fellow Soldiers who drove and flew out from Colorado, Texas, and North Carolina, to attend Ashley’s Memorial Service at home in California.It’s been two and half years now, and there’s not a day that goes by that Ashley is not on my mind and in my permanently aching heart. I have a wonderful support group which consists of family and friends, with whom I could not image getting through this tragedy without. But I still find myself battling grief daily. I do this by looking for charities to volunteer for, that supports our brave men and women who so unselfishly and honorably serve our Country. I came across these bracelets from a friend of mine who went through her own private battle, (with cancer, and so far has beaten it), a friend of hers sent her a Bravelet, with the special color that signifies her bravery battle. Of course I immediately ordered myself one, which Supports The Troops. It’s a constant reminder to me to continue to meet my grief head on and to bravely fight my battle of loss for an incredibly wonderful woman, who I am blessed to call my daughter, Sgt. Ashley M. Carey, and who’s memory I am a curator of a special museum, to continue the support for our fighting Veterans who serve honorably and their families.Thank you for allowing me to tell my story, and hopefully to be an inspiration for someone else being brave in their battle, as your bravelets are a constant inspiration and reminder for me.Robin L. Stekkinger
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