Reflections from a Navy-brat

The Veteran Wellness Center of Hampton Roads is located @The Renova Canter where many businesses live and care about health and wellness and our veterans, first responders and their families and friends. They humble me with their caring missions and bless me to be part of their projects of love and service. "Giving back" is just the norm.

I received an email from a Veteran Widow. Her words touched my heart and caused a plethora of thoughts and emotions to explode in my head, taking me on a roller coaster ride in my heart. I am humbled and grateful for hearing their stories, and to be part of their health restoration. The author of this email is a Navy wife, married to the same warrior all her adult life. He died a few years back - retired and proud to have served. She misses her sweetheart and loves our Veterans. Even though on a limited budget - she wants to help raise money for a new project called "Heal the Brain - Release the Pain":

"Dr. Wood (an Earth Angel), just a short note. I so enjoyed our telcon chat and it was truly an honor.Will definitely be registering for your event on May 20th.Oh my how I love your website. Please bear in mind that hopefully I plan on helping you with your "calling" sometime in the very near future.#1 on my agenda of course is to get my personal Bemer, Appreciate all your sound advise, references. Were you able to help the recent Veteran with Parkinson's? Stay in touch, would love hearing from you soon. Please do not be a stranger.Also have sent your website [ - Veteran Wellness Center of Hampton Roads] to several people whom I believe would salute you and your endeavor.Take care of our beautiful men/women of our Armed Forces and their families. My heartfelt prayers are with you and your team both day and night.Thanking you,

"Only a service wife understands the sorrow and problems of another service wife." This quote is found on the website for Gold Star Wives of America,Inc. ( The families of our fallen warriors, are a selfless group who are constantly doing good for our country by helping each other and supporting programs that help our veterans - like showing up in Alaska for Battle Dawgs events. I can only imagine the depth of sorrow they endure but they are revered by the veterans still serving while their spouses are in awe and fear of someday being in their shoes.

Military spouses have a difficult job, during and after service, and of course after death. My mom was a military wife, and I watched her struggle with the constant reversing of roles, from being "the Mom," to "the Mom AND the Dad." As soon as the ship pulled away from the dock, it seemed the car, the washer, the dryer, and more - broke. I have my own personal tool-kit because mom had one. She never complained - just pulled out the tool kit and went to work fixing the toilet, the stove, me or my brother ... or whatever broke, while dealing with finances and the processes of life - alone.

I also watched her pack up and sell our homes - by herself (Dad had already been sent to our next post/assignment). As a Navy family - we never questioned, complained or negotiated with our parents when told we were moving, again. It was just our way of life. And what a great life it was. To this day, you can pick up my brother and I and drop us anywhere in the world and we know how to make friends and how to survive.

Living on an enlisted man's paycheck was tricky. We were middle class - "lower" middle class - but we didn't know we were poor. We had each other, military friends and were proud of Dad's uniform. He wore it well and stood for honor, respect and integrity which was exemplified in every day's events.

Dane McMurry Cox - 1933-1975

If it wasn't for being a Navy-brat, how else would we have been able to live in Naples Italy and be part of NATO? Learn a foreign language and meet people who would change our lives forever - like Mr. Aliano a sixth grade teacher who still blesses me to this day with his wise advise and cheerleader motivational talks.

We met Bob Hope and Tuesday Weld and Chubby Checker. We made Italian friends whom we still visit and communicate with today. God Bless America and our Military. Thank you for giving a little girl and boy (my brother) the best education in the world. We were educated with other NATO families and we learned to love and respect our friends from Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Morocco and all over the world. My brother and I still have a sense of love and respect for the Military and the privilege of living in America.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

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