My niece, Melissa Logue married SFC Lance H. Vogeler on my wedding anniversary. He was perfect for her. I had almost given up hope that she would ever find the one because she never really dated seriously and definitely never wanted children. She found out she was pregnant in 2010. She and Lance were so excited. He had one deployment left for 2010, but he would be back a month before the birth of the baby. He asked her not to buy the stroller until he came home because he wanted to go with her.
On October 1, 2010, two soldiers in Class B uniforms and a chaplain knocked on her door. She begged them not to tell her until her mother arrived. Visibly pregnant, the men broke protocol and waited for Karen to arrive to tell her that Lance had been killed by an IED. She went through the Dover Flight to welcome the body back to American soil. She stood and watched as his body was delivered to Hunter Army Airfield. At seven months pregnant, she watched as her husband was buried with full military honor at Bonaventure Cemetery. Less than two months later, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Colin Patrick Vogeler.
I was at a loss as to how to help her cope with his death. I found the AWP and contacted them. I truly expected to receive form letters and responses. However, Taryn Davis, founder of AWP, personally contacted me and directed me on how to best help her. The hardest part was what to expect and to throw out what we might think is normal.
I kept wondering what I could do for these women who are so young and should never know the heartache they have experienced. I read their stories on the American Widow’s Project website. Tears stained my cheeks as I felt their despair. I couldn’t give them what they wanted most, their spouse back. However, I could memorialize their soldier and the soldier’s family, giving them voices to be heard and so that the children could one day ask questions that the spouse could answer.
I knew I probably couldn’t do it alone. If I did, I would have to pick and chose which spouse got a family tree. That didn’t seem fair. It’s not what I wanted for them. I wanted anyone who wanted a family tree done to be given the opportunity. I put out a call to other genealogist and was amazed at the wonderful people who came forth and felt that it was an honor to help these widows. Their sentiments mirrored my own. I was elated, knowing I wasn’t alone and the world really is still filled with caring people. I contacted Tabbatha Lancaster at American Widow’s Project and made the offer of doing at least a three generational tree for each widow who wished to have it done. We are going to try to take these trees to the Civil War, but we promise at least three generations for their children to come to know.
On January 15, 2013, we will begin this project. As we get the names of the soldiers, I will begin a list of the soldiers that we are working on. I, also, will list the generous men and women who have volunteered their time to provide a way to keep the memories alive for these children, wives or husbands.
If you are looking for a genealogist, I ask that you contact one of these wonderful people who are caring and giving. Their dedication for this program shows just how seriously they take their profession and the families that they work for.
If you would like to know more about the American Widow Project, click on their logo below to go to their website and take a look around. You’ll never be the same when you see faces that go along with the names of the fallen and those who are left behind to pick up the pieces. These women need help, even if it is a person to talk to, a ride to a specialist or a broken radiator. Reach out to them. Let them know they aren’t alone. Let them know you care and appreciate the sacrifice that they made when they loved a soldier.
Our Wonderful Genealogists
D. Barry Sheldon
Carol W. Gray
Paulette F. French