One of the best things about marriage is that you may inherit a fabulous second family. When I first met my husband’s entire family 30 years ago, I met all the nieces and nephews, including Jered, the oldest. He was a sweet and good kid but not a very motivated high school student. Money was tight so he entered junior college and joined ROTC. He then earned an ROTC scholarship to study at Wheaton College. When he married they agreed that after four years he would complete his military career. But he kept re-upping and they agreed as a couple to follow this call to serve country for 20 years. They lived in Germany, Italy, New York, Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina and more. And he deployed to Bosnia, Haiti,
Afghanistan and more. But the plan was to stop moving by the time their two boys were in high school. So much for plans.
On Monday we attended Col. Jered Helwig’s promotion ceremony to General at Fort Lee in Virginia. He has become one of 113 one star Generals and one of the country’s youngest Generals. Tears of joy flowed all day long. His first college professor at Wheaton was there. All the aunts and uncles, siblings, many cousins and dozens of other family members gathered to witness him take the oath of office pledging to defend and protect the constitution of this gifted treasure, our homeland. His humility, dignity, honor, commitment, wisdom, intellect and service inspired us all. And hundreds of his colleagues in the military service were there to hear the cannon fire 11 times in tribute to his service.
If this sounds like bragging, I suppose I’m guilty of that. But more than that, I share the tale to remind us all that sometimes we back into greatness. Sometimes by being true to ourselves and listening to the wisdom of those mentors who guide us along the way, we discover that there is a claim and call on our lives to serve the greater good. And I also share the path of this exemplary leader to remind us that though our news often bombards us with stories of those who have failed the public good, that we also have millions of examples of those who nobly serve and lift us all up to become stronger and better people. I offer a prayer of gratitude for all who offer their lives in public service and for the ways God uses ordinary lives for to make this world a better place.
Grace and peace,