Monday, 26 May 2014 16:32 Speaker at Lawrence VFW Memorial Day service dedicates life to fallen husband This Memorial Day, Americans across the country are finding ways to honor those who served. One veteran's widow has donated not only Memorial Day, but her entire life to honoring her fallen husband.
"If my husband can give his life for our country, then I can live each day for him, carrying on his dying wish," said Melissa Jarboe.
That wish was caring for his fellow service members.
Jarboe is known as a gold star wife in the military world, but a war widow to civilians. She was the keynote speaker for Memorial Day services hosted by Lawrence VFW Post No. 852. Many assembled at Memorial Park Cemetery Monday morning to express their gratitude and commemorate the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Jarboe told her story that began three years ago, when she got a phone call that her husband Jamie was wounded in action, while deployed in Afghanistan.
"After 11 months fighting for his life inside that hospital, the doctor's couldn't heal what that sniper took away," she said.
Jarboe remembers the nurses asking her husband if he regretted his service, he told them he didn't. He said he loved the military, loved his country, and would take that bullet again. As the Jarboe's embraced the end of Jamie's life, they used the rest of his time to plan out the rest of Melissa's.
Her life became devoted to honoring her husband's dying wish by caring for his fellow service members. Jarboe founded the Military Veteran Project, a 501c3 Nonprofit that honors and empowers military veterans.
Published in Local News
Meet Nic. Widow. Mother. Survivor. Hero. I met Nic recently through a mutual friend and knew immediately why God chose for our paths to intersect. I believe, in part, it was for this very purpose: to share her story with you. It bears out that when we live by faith in Christ, even the shattering moments result in Life. This is an important read on this Memorial Day weekend as we remember those who have paid a very dear price.
Photo Credit: Director, Krissy Collins; Photographer and Editor, Gabi Brown
It was May 25th, 2006. The interrupting knock at my door startled me. It was unexpected but not abrupt. The taps were inviting and considerate, gently rhythmic. Jumping up, I made my way over to the entryway. Who was there? With curious anticipation, I flung open the door.
Vision now blurry. Mind in overdrive. You...no. You're not welcome here, I roared under my breath.
Standing before me were two soldiers in full military uniform. Speechless. Suddenly feeling deceived by those sweet knocks just seconds ago.
“Ma'am. Your husband was killed today in Bagdad, Iraq.”
I wanted to stop the man’s words, push them back into his mouth, and shut the door. But I didn't. Time for me was halted and shock had found a home.
Where were the tears? They never flowed. They couldn't. This was not real. My life was not over. My world was not gone. But it was. And the darkness...it surrounded me.
So there I was...shut up in my home, Death invading. The minutes passed slowly 'til the twilight hours sat glaring me in the face. At three o’clock that morning, I allowed my body to sink into the couch, and the tears rushed like rivers. “Daddy, help me. Daddy, help me. Please, Daddy help me.” The only words my broken spirit could muster. Over and over I'd repeat these words...they became this blanket of security as I enfolded myself in them just to stay alive.
I had never called God “Daddy." God the Father had always been slightly elusive to me. Jesus I could touch and feel. His sacrifice was brutal, yet beautiful. But God? Who was He? That night I discovered who God really was and His new name began to roll off my tongue.
And Daddy gave me a thought. It was a thought I would return to everyday: Doug is not dead, because Jesus is not dead. That was the point of the cross.
Doug is alive, because Jesus is alive.
Those words were a starting point…my anchor…the hope I carried.
But the nightmare didn’t end with the knock—far from it. It had only just begun.
Stationed in Germany at the time, the army saw fit to move my son and I out in less than two weeks. Barely able to breathe, I packed my things and said my goodbyes. I boarded the plane, never having felt so alone. I crawled into my seat and wept the entire flight home, my tears the only friends I had left. I was leaving everything and headed to nothing. My friends were gone. My things were gone. My husband was gone. And in a way, I was gone. I wasn't the same person as I had been seconds before the knock on that door...I was not that person. But she was all I knew how to be. Who was I now?
Time passed, and I prayed it would pass quickly. Living another day without him was unbearable. I prayed Jesus would return yesterday. Doug was gone, and I just couldn't carry the load without him. I needed to see him again. I needed Heaven to come now--I needed that space where there would be no more tears or pain. But I wasn't living in Heaven...I was in hell, reliving my loss with each breath, mourning Doug and the life that had been suffocated in grief. Little did I know that every tear, every question would have a purpose...but that's the sting of grief: it narrows your sight to see only the pain and to miss the point.
I was doing my best to adjust to my new life. I was in a borrowed home, in a strange city, surrounded by things not my own, driving a car not my own, and living a life not my own. Nothing was recognizable, not even me. The tears continued without mercy and came in torrents until there were no more. Grief pursued me, silenced me, and dragged me into the darkness.
A month after Doug's death, I received a call. “Nic, more of Doug has been identified. More of him is coming in urn number two.” I had already lost all of him...how could there be more?
The deep darkness swelled in tidal waves and crashed across my soul. What did Doug look like when he was killed? What had happened? Was his head even attached to his body? Were his hands? His feet?
Six months later. Another call. “Nic, are you sitting down?” Urn number three was on the way.Crash...another wave of darkness.
Doug died three times that year. His vehicle was struck by an IED. It was the most powerful explosion his men had ever seen. It exploded right next to his door, severing him in two. His lower half was in tact as if nothing had happened...his upper half was gone. Nothing was whole. Nothing recognizable. I'm told they picked little bits and pieces of him off the doors, off the streets, and off his men. His head wasn’t there. His arms weren’t there. His chest wasn’t there. My husband was scattered over Bagdad in a billion little pieces, like my life...shattered in disrepair.
My mind would pulse. Did he know how much I loved him? I sat imagining his head in my lap, demanding he hear those words one more time. I was a wreck, wondering if he had suffered...had he felt pain? But then Jesus gave me was a gift: Doug didn’t feel anything...Doug saw war and then saw Jesus.
But even with the comfort of knowing that, tragedy demanded an answer. If God is good, how could He allow this?
And that’s when the hope that anchored my soul, Daddy, swept in.
A fire had begun to burn in me, despite my brokenness. And the questions I pondered over Doug’s death, drove it to a full-grown blaze, because in the midst of all that hurt and darkness, God--Daddy—was there.
I got on my knees and prayed. I begged. I pleaded for God to reveal Heaven to me, to give me a vision. I longed to understand, to see. It didn’t come immediately, but it came, slowly taking form.
Heaven is not clouds, harps, and haloes...it is life, because He is life. Heaven is life. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life." And it’s there that we find that death is powerless. Even when it does its worst, we live...because we believe in Him.
Hope. Life. Purpose. I was desperate to see, hungry to taste and Daddy came through. "And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us." - Romans 5:5
I believe this is why God formed me in the womb—for this very revelation. And without Doug’s death, the vision would not have come. The pain I survived was excruciatingly harsh and tortuous and raw, but I wouldn't trade it. If I did, I would lose a piece of God that I came to know, I would lose the hope of Jesus, and that is something I just can’t fathom. God has used this. He has used the broken pieces of my husband's body to bring others to the truth of eternity.
Since experiencing Daddy’s love in such a tangible way, I have been teaching on the subjects of Heaven and Revelation, and with each and every class, I see hope take root and life take shape. It is amazing to witness, and honestly without Doug that hope would not be alive.
Memorial Day weekend is where it all started. Memorial Day weekend my husband was in a billion different pieces and his blood painted a plot of ground in Baghdad. On Memorial Day weekend, my tears fell and my world was forever changed. The darkness crashed in. But out of that crushing darkness, out of Doug’s bits and pieces, a revelation also crashed in, and when revelation comes, so does the light.
“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” John 1:4
In this world darkness and death will come, but He promises us if we trust Him, so will the Light. I am baffled and awe-struck that Daddy took the darkest moment of my life to shine the brightest light. It’s in His light that we are whole.
So today, on this Memorial Day, remember the fallen, remember their families, but most of all, remember that we live because Jesus lives.
There are no graves in Heaven. There are no bits and pieces. There is wholeness. There is Life.
For more information on Nic and her book Revelation In Black and White, click here.
VA Contact List-2012
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Secretary of Veterans Affairs.--Eric K. Shinseki (202) 461-4800.
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.--W. Scott Gould, 461-4817.
Chief of Staff.--John R. Gingrich, 461-4808.
Deputy Chief of Staff.--Michael Galloucis, 461-4808.
Senior Advisor to the Secretary.--John Spinelli, 461-4874.
Special Assistant for Veterans Service Organizations Liaison.--Kevin Secor, 461-4835.
Executive Secretary.--Kenneth Greenberg, 461-4869.
Director, Center for-- Faith-Based Community Initiative.--Rev. E. Terri LaVelle, 461-7611.
Minority Veterans.--Lucretia McClenney, 461-6191.
Women Veterans.--Irene Trowell-Harris, Ed.D., RN, 461-6193.
Employment Discrimination Complaint Adjudication.--Maxanne R. Witkin, 1722 I Street, NW., 461-1650.
Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.--Tom Leney, 801 I Street, NW., 461-4300.
BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS
Chairman.--Steve Keller (acting), 811 Vermont Avenue, NW. (202) 461-8001 Vice Chairman.--Steve Keller.
OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL
General Counsel.--Will A. Gunn (202) 461-4995.
Deputy General Counsel.--John ``Jack'' Thompson, 461-4995.
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
Inspector General.--George J. Opfer, 801 I Street, NW. (202) 461-4720.
Deputy Inspector General.--Richard J. Griffin.
OFFICE OF ACQUISITIONS, LOGISTICS, AND CONSTRUCTION
Executive Director.--Glenn D. Haggstrom, 425 I Street, NW. (202) 461-8007.
Deputy Assistant Secretary. Office of Acquisition and Logistics.-
Jan R. Frye, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., 461-6920.
Director, Office of Construction and Facilities Management.--
Robert L. Neary (acting), 425 I Street, NW., 461-8197.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS
Assistant Secretary.--Joan M. Evans (202) 461-6619.
Director of Operations.--Terrence Stinson, 461-6490. Deputy Assistant Secretary.--Emory Ray Helton.
Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary.--Christopher E. O'Connor, 461-6490.
Legislative Advisor.--David Ballenger, 461-6492.
Director for--Congressional and Legislative Affairs.--Len Sistek, 461-6492.
Congressional Liaison.--Ronald Maurer, 224-5351.
Corporate Enterprise Service.--Mary K. Stack, 461-6453.
Legislative Affairs Service.--John Kruse, 461-6492.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
Assistant Secretary.--L. Tammy Duckworth (202) 461-7500.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for--
Intergovernmental and International Affairs.--John Garcia, 461-7400.
Public Affairs.--Nathan Naylor.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR POLICY AND PLANNING
Assistant Secretary.--Dr. Raul Perea-Henze, M.D., 461-5800.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.--Robert Snyder, 461-5800.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for--Data Governance and Analysis.--Dat Tran, 461-5788.
Policy.--Nancy Dolan, 461-5663.
Executive Director for--Corporate Analysis and Evaluation.--Albert J. Starnes, 461-5752.
Enterprise Program Management Office.--Greg L. Giddens, 461-6986.
VA / DoD Collaboration.--John P. Medve, 461-5626.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR OPERATIONS, SECURITY AND PREPAREDNESS
Assistant Secretary.--Jose D. Riojas (202) 461-4980.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for--Emergency Management.--Kevin Hanretta, 461-4985.
Security and Law Enforcement.--Frederick R. Jackson, 461-6920.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT
Assistant Secretary / Chief Financial Officer.--W. Todd Grams (acting),(202) 461-6600.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.--W. Todd Grams 461-6703.
Executive Director of Operations.--Helen Tierney 461-6703.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for--
Budget.--Daniel A. Tucker, 461-6630.
Finance.--Edward J. Murray, 461-6180.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY
Assistant Secretary.--Roger W. Baker (202) 461-6911.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.--Stephen W. Warren, 461-6910.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HUMAN RESOURCES AND ADMINISTRATION
Assistant Secretary.--John U. Sepulveda (202) 461-7750.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.--Rafael Torres (acting), 501-2662. Deputy Assistant Secretary for-- Administration.--Catherine Biggs-Silvers, 461-5000.
Diversity Management and Inclusion.--Georgia Coffey, 1575 I Street, NW., 461-4131.
Human Resources Management.--Tonya Deanes, 461-7765.
Labor-Management Relations.--Leslie Wiggins, 461-4119.
Resolution Management.--Rafael Torres, 1575 I Street, NW., 501- 280.
NATIONAL CEMETERY ADMINISTRATION
Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs.--Steve L. Muro (acting), (202) 461-6112.
Executive Assistants: Beth Beardsley, 461-6242; George D. Eisenbach, Jr., 461-6014.
Deputy Under Secretary.--Ron Walters (acting), 461-6510.
Executive Assistant.--Sharon Stevens, 461-6740.
Deputy Under Secretary for Management.--Dave Schettler, 461-6234.
Associate Director for Field Programs.--Glenn Powers (acting), 461-6071.
Deputy Under Secretary for Finance and Planning / CFO.--Ron Walters, 461-6738.
Director of: Budget Service.--Joan Jefferies, 461-6742.
Design and Construction.--Fred Neun, 461-8919.
Field Programs.--Kimberly Wright, 461-6748.
Information Technology and Business Requirements.--Joe Nosari, 461-8975.
Management Support and Communication Service.--Deanna Wilson (acting), 461-6232.
Memorial Programs Service.--Anita Hanson, 501-3060.
Veterans Cemetery Grants Service.--Frank Salvas, 249-7396.
VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION
Under Secretary.--Michael Walcoff (acting), 1800 G Street, NW. (202) 461-9300.
Principal Deputy Under Secretary.--Michael Cardarelli.
Chief of Staff.--Lois Mittelstaedt.
Deputy Under Secretary for--
Disability Assistance.--Thomas Pamperin, 461-9320.
Economic Opportunity.--Vacant, 461-9320.
Field Operations.--Diana Rubens, 461-9340.
Chief Financial Officer.--Jamie Manker, 461-9900.
Business Process Integration.--Brad Houston, 215-2588.
Compensation.--Thomas Murphy, 461-9700.
Education.--Keith M. Wilson, 461-9800.
Employee Development and Training.--Terrence Meehan, 461-9860.
Insurance.--Thomas Lastowka (215) 381-3100.
Loan Guaranty.--Richard Fyne (acting), (571) 272-0001.
Management.--Bonnie Miranda, 461-9412.
Pension and Fiduciary.--Vacant, 461-9700.
Performance Analysis and Integrity.--William Kane, 461-9040.
Strategic Planning.--Vacant, 461-9222.
Veterans Benefits Management System.--Mark Bologna (acting) 461-9640.
Veterans Relationship Management.--Leo Phelan,
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.--Ruth Fanning, 461-9333.
VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Under Secretary.--Robert A. Petzel, M.D. (202) 461-7000.
Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health.--Robert L. Jesse, M.D., Ph.D., 461-7008.
Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management.--
William C. Schoenhard, FACHE, 461-7026.
Chief of Staff.--Lisa Thomas, Ph.D. (acting), 461-7016.
Deputy Chief of Staff.--Ann C. Patterson, 461-7016.
Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services.--
Madhulika Agarwal, M.D., M.P.H., 461-7590.
Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for--
Health for Clinical and Organizational Support.--Laura O'Grady,RN, M.S.N., 461-7008.
Health for Policy and Planning.--Patricia Vandenberg, M.H.A., B.S.N., 461-7100.
Associate Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality and Safety.--
William E. Duncan, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.C.P., 461-7254.
Medical Inspector.--John Pierce, M.D., 1575 I Street, NW., 501-2000.
Executive Director, Federal Recovery Program.--Karen Guice, M.D., M.P.P., 461-4839.
Chief Officer for--
Academic Affiliations.--Malcolm Cox, M.D., 461-9490.
Business.--Gary M. Baker, 461-1600.
Communications.--John S. Hale, 461-7070.
Compliance and Business Integrity.--Caitlin O'Brien, 1575 I Street,NW., 501-0364.
Employee Education System.--Louise R. Van Diepen, M.S., C.G.P.,(acting), 461-4076.
Ethics in Health Care.--Ellen Fox, M.D., 1575 I Street, NW., 501-0364.
Financial.--W. Paul Kearns III, FACHE, FHFMA, CPA, 461-6666.
Health Information.--Craig B. Luigart, 461-5848.
Nursing.--Cathy Rick, RN, CNAA, FACHE, 461-6962.
Patient Care Services.--Margaret Hammond, M.D. (acting), 461-7590.
Patient Safety.--James P. Bagian, M.D., PE (734) 930-5920.
Procurement and Logistics.--Frederick Downs, Jr., 461-1770.
Public Health and Environmental Hazards.--Victoria Davey, Ph.D., 461-1000.
Quality and Performance.--Joseph Francis, M.D., M.P.H. (acting),1717 H Street, NW., 266-4533.
Readjustment Counseling.--Alfonso R. Batres, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., 461-6525.
Research and Development.--Joel Kupersmith, M.D., 461-1700.
Research Oversight.--J. Thomas Puglisi, Ph.D., CIP, 1717 H Street, NW., 266-4580.
Never in a million years did I see myself standing in front of hundreds of people carrying out my patriotic duty with the passion that I have today.
Today, after months of organization, countless conference calls, emails and gather photos of America's fallen, we were able to do something that needed to be done, we honored the fallen and carried on their memory.
Across the nation communities united to pay tribute to service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. While we honored the fallen Saturday, we were showing support to the veterans & service members still here today. Below you will see why...
Did you know 100% of your donation goes directly to the cause of advocating and educating our military!
Currently, veterans have to wait for nearly 200 days for benefits from the VA because of backlog? Or that cutbacks have forced VA hospitals to cut staffing and costs which directly affects the care our veterans receive? 22 veterans commit suicide a day? Millions of veterans need medical help for PTSD, TBI's and peer to peer support and with your donation today, you can help!
Now for many of you that may have followed the story of SSG Jamie Jarboe, you saw first hand and experienced our hardships. The struggles we had learning how to navigate the military medical system, not because it is broken, but because there is so much to learn and understand. Today, I take the knowledge I was given advocating for Jamie & thousands of other veterans & active duty service members and educate the community and families on how to protect their loved ones. How to use the system and steps to take to understand how it works. While we focus on educating medical power of attorneys of veterans and service members, we take the time to create a peer to peer support program for each veteran that is requesting medical assistance.
Please help us move forward to make a difference in a veteran's life.
My name is Melissa Jarboe, military spouse, wounded warrior wife and war widow. Today and everyday moving forward, I will honor the sacrifice of our men and women who selflessly serve our nation.