My wife and I …

served in five locations during our career in the Army. The first was Norfolk, VA home of one of the largest naval bases in the world.

Opportunities abounded for getting to know and helping encourage others.

Naval operations normally occurred on six-month rotations. When a carrier battle group left town it normally took ten to twelve ships, including the carrier and 8-10.000 naval personnel, many of the men.

That often left mom to keep home fires burning, shuttle kids to soccer practices, patch up scraps, administer discipline, keep cars running, and washers washing, while working a job, just to make ends meet. Needless to say, she was always busy.

While dad was away for six months, roofs still leaked, cars stopped running, washers stopped washing, dogs ran away, kids got sick at school and needed to be picked up. I can’t tell you how many times we just listened, and did what we could to help, as these young moms struggled, wanting to see her mom and dad, perhaps a thousand miles or more away. Sometimes, we cried with them. After all, we were just kids ourselves.

Looking back, we made it through, richer for helping encourage someone in their time of need. My dear wife did much of that encouraging and helping. The retirement check we receive each month is just as much hers as it is mine. In fact, she probably worked way more hours than I worked. She is certainly a key part of our team-perhaps the key.

Author, Jerry Barnes with Wife Laura