HERE I AM, SEND ME! | BY KRISTA ANDERSON

by Krista Anderson, surviving spouse of SSG Michael Harrison Simpson

The life you choose to lead as a military family encompasses many blessings, great consequences and a sense of community. We instinctively serve others before ourselves which creates a bond that can’t be broken. We know going in that our lives could drastically change. Twenty years of war has inflicted tremendous suffering, but I vow to be unshakable, for my children, for myself and for my community — those that stepped in when I wasn’t sure I could walk the journey alone. Turns out, I never had to.

In 2013, my husband, SSG Michael Harrison Simpson, experienced his second deployment to Eastern Afghanistan with 1st Special Forces Group. A Green Beret, Mike followed in his father’s and brother’s footsteps. Our boys, Michael Jr. and Gabriel, were one and three respectively at the time.

On 27 April 2013, I received the call we as military families dread. Mike was the target of an IED attack. He lost his leg, had severe injuries to his arm and shrapnel torn through his body. Despite all those injuries, he remained conscious, receiving medication to ease his pain. I understand he calmly uttered the words, “wife, kids…I love,” and then suddenly went into cardiac arrest. The incredible medical team then brought him back.

Two days later I received a beautiful letter and monetary support from SOWF, which helped take us to Mike in Afghanistan. The morning we arrived, we learned Mike was brain dead — he eventually passed away. At Dover Air Force Base, many members of our family watched as they carried his casket off the back of a C17.

I never imagined the genuine on-going educational support our family would receive from SOWF. Our son Gabriel increased his reading scores by nearly 700 points. This changed his third-grade year and provided emotional relief from losing his daddy.

What does support from SOWF mean? That I have a trusted village standing behind me providing our family with the means to fully educate our sons — exactly what Mike would have wished for.

We are so proud of Mike, his loyalty to God, and country. It is so bittersweet to lose someone in service to our great nation. However, Mike left a legacy for his boys and please know that our family believes it will always be worth it. Sacrificing oneself for the betterment of others will always be worth it.

.

View a gallery of photos Krista has provided of herself and SSG Michael Harrison Simpson, with their children Michael Jr. and Gabriel.