Sergeant First Class Sherri Spiker and daughter Ryen. (Photo: Wendy Heise)
Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Park Forest took time last Monday, Memorial Day, on the DownTown Village Green, to remember fallen soldiers and honor veterans. The 11:00 a.m. ceremony started about 20 minutes earlier for some veterans, who were provided a military escort from the Park Forest American Legion Post #1198 on Western Avenue.
The veterans traveled in a Humvee (HMMWV), an M35 “Deuce-and-a-Half” 2-1/2 ton cargo truck, and a five-ton truck.
“They came to us through the Crete Area Jaycees,” said Bill Patterson, a member of the Sons of the American Legion. “They’re regular transport trucks that the military uses.”
Sergeant First Class Sherri Spiker was on hand to escort veterans, traveling to Park Forest from her home in Yorkville, IL. She had just taken her husband to the airport that morning for another deployment to Iraq. Memorial Day happened to be the couple’s first wedding anniversary. Her husband has another seven months to serve in Iraq.
This was the first time he had met his daughter, Ryen. “Unfortunately, he went over there the 29th of September. She was born the 13th of November, and he just met her when he got back on the 8th of May. He spent 18 days here, and I just had to take him back today.”
He was able to spend time home on leave in the midst of his fifteen month deployment in Mosul.
“Our one-year wedding anniversary is today. I had to take him to the airport, his R&R is done,” Sergeant Spiker said.
Members of the Park Forest Fire and Police Departments pay their respects. (Photo: Wendy Heise)
Sergeant Spiker serves in the reserves and was deployed to Ft. Leonard Wood, “That’s where we met. He’s active duty, I’m reserves.”
She said it was difficult to take her husband back to the airport, “I’m glad he was able to come home. He definitely needed a break. He didn’t want to take one, but he figured he needed one, so he was able to come back and see his daughter. He was very glad that he was able to come back, and he hated to leave again, which is understandable.”
Spiker expressed her gratitude for all who showed up on this Memorial Day, “I want to thank everyone who supports the military and supports all that we do. I want to thank those who had come and gone before us. That’s how we got to where we are today.”