June 27, 2013
By Johanna Krause, Northwest Guardian
Holly’s heart stopped when she looked out of her kitchen window that Friday morning in August 2009. She knew why the two uniformed officers were approaching her front door. The casualty notification officer said her husband of three years and father of their 7-month-old daughter, Chloe, was dead. Sergeant Matthew L. Ingram of 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment in the 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, had died when an explosive device hit his MRAP in Chapa Dara, Afghanistan.
Holding Chloe on her lap, Holly listened with detachment, as if she were watching the scene from across the room. She felt numb. Where to go from here?
Her feelings had always guided Holly Ingram and helped her make sense of things. But when you don’t feel anything, how do you know what to do? How do you trust your emotions to make the necessary decisions?
For spouses of fallen Soldiers like Holly, help is available through the Casualty Assistance and the Survivor Outreach Services programs.
While Casualty Assistance provides next of kin notification and focused administrative assistance, Army Community Service’s SOS offers guidance and long-term support to families of fallen active, reserve, and National Guard service members. Chip Fowler, JBLM SOS support coordinator, explained the holistic approach of the SOS program.