Ride Report for Ride Captain RJ
One of the toughest things for military moms is taking their children to the airport to send them off on deployment.  The same is true for dads and the rest of the Blue Star family, so it is a great honor and privilege for us to provide escort for these tearful sendoffs.  It gives us a chance to show both the warrior and the family that we are here for them, even as the family prepares for the waiting and the uncertainty.

These were my thoughts as we waited in the Cel Phone Lot at Chicago’s O’hare Airport for the Kowalczyk family to arrive (parents Chris and Dawn).  Joining about a dozen WWR members in our ride brief were about an equal number of LCpl Kowalczyk’s extended family, including his grandfather.

Upon their arrival, one thing was clear, this was a close and devoted family.  Alex hugged and kissed all his relatives and then we did what we came to do, we hugged him and thanked him and wished him Godspeed. Then we mounted up for a police escorted ride to the terminal.  Here I have to thank Sgt Bill O’Reilly of the Chicago Police Department, who provides unprecedented support in and around the airport, without which these missions would be more difficult and more dangerous, if not impossible.  He is always there for us.

At the terminal (we all parked right in front) we gathered up the Kowalczyk family and a few passers-by and gave Alex some small tokens and some words, all of which seemed inadequate.  The look in Dawn Kowalczyk’s eyes said it all.  We hugged and I told her one thing that I know to be true, “They always come back to me, Dawn” and so far they have.  Tears flowed as she sobbed into my shoulder.

Can we say it enough?  Thank you, Blue Star families for the outstanding children you have raised, for the long nights we know you endure.
Please know, you are appreciated.