Naperville is a community of about 130,000 people located west of Chicago in DuPage and Will counties.
The Chicago Sun-Times did a very nice piece on the family entitled “My Son, My Husband, My Heroes”. I would like to share it with you:
Donna Perchatsch sat in her Naperville home Thursday afternoon, surrounded by an uneasy quiet and stillness.
Under different circumstances, the mother of two teenagers and a 20-year-old son might have relished the tranquility of an empty house.
“I’m not quite sure what to do with myself,” Perchatsch explained. “It’s just a very quiet feeling of being alone.”
The house needed cleaning, but she didn’t feel up to it — hours after saying goodbye to her son, Army Pfc. Nick Perchatsch, who flew out of O’Hare Airport on his way back to Iraq.
On Monday, Donna Perchatsch hugged and kissed her husband, Greg, a colonel with the Army Reserves, who also flew back to Iraq.
It’s been a chaotic, exhausting — but mostly wonderful — 2½ weeks for a mother and wife whose military loved ones both came home May 17 for some R&R.
Relatives arrived from New Mexico and Pennsylvania to be part of the homecoming. And then there was a Memorial Day parade to attend, a party to honor the two soldiers, and the high school graduation of the family’s middle son, Chris.
The house was littered with military backpacks, duffel bags and uniforms.
“It was all over the floor,” Donna Perchatsch said. “They didn’t even hang it up. I just didn’t want to complain. I said, ‘They will be gone in two weeks, and I’ll be missing them.’ “
Although Perchatsch’s husband had been gone for 10 months — serving in Baghdad — the couple quickly slipped back into the comfortable, familiar routine of married life, she said. And her 20-year-old son behaved, well, just like a typical 20-year-old.
“He was always out with his friends, but he’s 20 years old, so who would want to sit at home with mom and dad?” the mother said.
Donna Perchatsch said her boy has changed in the nine months since he began serving overseas. For one thing, he’s bulked up. And before he left, “Mom didn’t know anything. I think he realizes that Mom does a lot,” said mom, who works as a nurse.
Nick, who is serving in the northern city of Kirkuk, finishes his tour in late November. Her husband comes home in October, a month after the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary. They’re thinking about taking a vacation in the Caribbean, but that’s just an idea at this point.
On Thursday — after two weeks of a double dose of joy — she was doing her best to cope with the pain of two goodbyes.
“It was tough,” she said. “They came together. They left separately — not that I wanted my son to leave any sooner, but I would rather have done one goodbye.” ##End Story##
This family, like hundreds of thousands of others, deserves our praise, admiration and support.
I ask each and every one of you to please pray for this family and pray for the safe return of Greg and Nick to their family.
And next time you are walking in a park, shopping in the store, at a restaurant or out and about, if you see someone in our military’s uniform, please stop and say thank and shake their hand. They need that and they appreciate it.
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