My Story: Joanne Janas

I’ll never forget the day, last June, when my daughter Kristy (who has been in the Navy for 10 years) called me at work and said:  “Mom, are you sitting down?”  She proceeded to tell me that my son, Matt, (in the Navy 6 years in IT with a Top Secret clearance) was being sent with the Army to Afghanistan.

It was my worst fear.  Matt had gone to Iraq a few years earlier on board the USS Nimitz and although I was apprehensive, I was comforted that he was in the Navy and aboard an aircraft carrier. When I heard that he was going to be sent on the ground with the Army, I was devastated.  I am grateful that I didn’t know what he did while he was there until he got back. One of his duties was to jump out of a helicopter near a convoy, and repair the communications equipment inside the humvees.

 I shut down while Matt was in Afghanistan and found it especially difficult getting through the holidays.  Work was a good diversion and I found solace in gathering items and sending him a steady stream of boxes.

 I was comforted by knitting him a scarf and helmet liner, according to the criteria I received from the Internet, which I took to my local yarn shop for assistance.  I was extremely touched and surprised by the kindness of women I did not know from that local yarn shop, when they knitted an entire box of scarves and helmet liners to send to Matt to distribute to other soldiers. 

 Matt came home May 13th, two days after Mother’s Day.  He has decided to get out of the Navy and to go back to school.  It is wonderful to be able to have him close by after not being able to spend a Thanksgiving or Christmas together for the past seven years.  I am so very grateful.

 Joanne Janas

Elyria, Ohio

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One thought on “My Story: Joanne Janas

  1. Dear Joanne,

    I loved reading about your knitting and the help you received from
    the yarn shop.

    When my son was in Iraq in late 2003, the military did not YET
    supply the troops with sand scarves. I was able to create some to send to him. I also located a high school in Denver and had a high school sewing class create scarves from the material I sent them.

    As a military mom, NOTHING, is taken for granted when we have
    our children near by.

    My son is coming on his 7 year in the Air Force. I am fairly certain he will be making a career of the military. I am proud of his service, but there is
    a selfish mom part that would like him local. I keep reminding myself,
    ‘he is living his dream’.

    Thank you for raising 2 children who have volunteered for military duty !!!

    xo xo
    Deb Estep
    Twinsburg, Ohio
    Proud AF Mom
    SSgt Vinny

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