A Salute to Dawn


Mother Goose has met many amazing people in her long and interesting life, but none have touched my heart quite like Dawn Hedrick. I would like to share her story here with you today. You may need to keep a tissue handy…

On November 10, 2010, U.S. Marine Lance Corporal James B. Stack was on foot patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. From out of nowhere, an enemy sniper shot and killed the young soldier. His widow is Dawn’s daughter, Katie. His daughter is Mikayla, Dawn’s grand-daughter. James had been in Afghanistan only a month.

Lcpl James B. Stack, KIA Afghanistan 11/10/10.

Lcpl James B. Stack, KIA Afghanistan 11/10/10.

How does a mother or a mother-in-law cope with life after a tragedy like this? How does she get out of bed in the morning? How does she keep going?

For Dawn, the healing for her broken heart comes through giving back to the Marines who served with James in Afghanistan. She now devotes her free time and energy and money to support the men and women of our Armed Forces for their sacrifice to our country.

This amazing Gold Star Mother has organized several community food and supply drives to send to the troops overseas. She arranges for drop off locations in her town. Along with her husband and family and friends, they pack the boxes and ship them to Marines and Army soldiers stationed around the world and serving in harm’s way.

Hundreds of boxes.

Dawn and some of her packing party crew members.

Dawn and some of her packing party crew members.

Dawn and Mikayla

Dawn and Mikayla

Just a few of the boxes that have been shipped to the troops since January 2012.

Just a few of the boxes that have been shipped to the troops since January 2012.

She sends them donated food, socks, hygiene products, Halloween candy, magazines, and snacks as well as letters and pictures from the homefront. Dawn will pack and send anything that might bring a little comfort to the brave men and women who are serving and protecting our freedoms.

She even sent a Christmas card with an Olive Garden gift card to the sailor sons of this goose!

Whenever I see Dawn or talk to her, I thank her for her amazing service to our nation’s heroes. “Oh no,” she says with a smile. “I owe them.”

Dawn, we all salute you today. God bless you and your family with His great love and care and protection.

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8 thoughts on “A Salute to Dawn

  1. It seems to me that often a particular event can spur a mission to the change the world. In the story, you have shared about Ms. Hedrick, that is certainly the case. Many people in a similar circumstance would have been bitter and closed off, but Ms. Hedrick decided to use her story to change the lives of others. I recently talked to a college student who, after going to Africa and seeing the tragedies occurring there, started a chapter of an organization at Arizona State University to advocate for foreign aid and resources in Africa. Events trigger action. They clearly did so in Ms. Hedrick’s story and I believe almost every warrior for change was at one time inspired by a single event.

  2. Wow! Love in action! I so admire this woman, who could have only turned inward and bitter. What a gift she is also sharing with her little granddaughter. I’ve decided to write down the names of the people you highlight in this new blog and pray for them. I would consider that MY honor! oxo

    • Debra, bless you for your great love to our Heroes. If you could only meet Dawn in person, you’d be speechless (as I am) at her selflessness and devotion to these men and women who serve. I’ve never met anyone like her — she bears such grief for the loss of James, but she just turns it into service. I’ve nominated her for the Chicago Red Cross Breakfast — she’s so deserving of a public honor like they would bestow on her.

  3. Jessica, thank you for sharing these wise words! I especially love your phrase “events trigger action”. And my friend is truly a “warrior for change”. Bless you!

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  6. Thank you all so much. Natalie is such a angel.. I just want everyone to think and reflect and remember… What does FREEDOM mean?? It means I get to wake up in America and charish every moment of it.. We Miss James from now until we see him again, but We owe our Troops so much. I appreicate all the prayers and comments. They are my heroes until they all come home… GOD BLESS AMERICA!! Stay Safe, Fight Strong and Come HOME! Thank you soooo much for my Freedom! love you James and miss you sooo much. Love, Dawn Hedrick

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