Our Patriot’s Journey


We give thanks . . .

Here we acknowledge our sincere gratitude to the people who have helped us through our patriot’s journey

    ..... we thank foremost the men and women, both military and civilian, of the North Carolina National Guard.  From the 30th of June when our Casualty Assistance Officer, 1st Sergeant Gradus, and the Chaplain, Captain Cook, knocked on our front door to inform us of Robert's death, we have been given the utmost support, comfort and respect.  They lead us though the memorial service, funeral and paperwork and have been with us ever since.  The Family Support Unit has sponsored several weekend retreats, a Christmas reception at the NC Governor's mansion, and many other events for National Guard Gold Star families.  To this day, 1st Sergeant Gradus remains only a phone call away to help us with anything we need.  We will be forever grateful for all they have done.


With something as devastating as the sudden and violent loss of your child, no matter the age of that child, no one can really be ready to deal with it or with the myriad of things that must be done.  You aren’t entirely cognizant of what has occurred ..... you might say you walk through it like a fog, not entirely sure of what’s going on around you, expecting -- or maybe hoping -- to awaken as if from a dream to find that it didn’t really happen.  In this state you make it through only with a the help of friends, compassionate strangers, and the professionals whose job it is to be there when needed in the worst of times. 

..... we thank all who played a part in keeping Robert with us a while longer ... for helping us honor both his memory and the work he and his fellow military members do every day for us .... for you .... as they do their best to keep peace at home, and war in the distance.  We have found that most people, whether or not they support the war in Iraq, do support our soldiers and respect their courage in doing what their Country has asked them to do.  For respecting our son and the other fallen warriors, we thank you.

..... we thank the media who treated us with kindness and respect, and did such a marvelous job of honoring Robert and his fellow National Guardsmen.  The WNCT-TV Eyewitness 9 News video at the bottom of this page was taken the day of Robert’s funeral.  We have posted it on this web site to preserve it as a part of our family’s history.

.....  we thank the organizations who provide support to families of fallen service members.  I do this not only to thank them again for what they did for us, but also as a resource for others who have suffered a loss.   For the most part, these are organizations that are unheard of unless you become a gold-star family, but they provide wonderful services to those who need it.  You may want to support one or more of these organizations, either with time or money.  I particularly draw your attention to Soldiers Angels.  They are truly angels.  Through this organization, you can even “adopt” a serviceman/woman who is stationed in Iraq/Afghanistan who gets little or no mail from home.  Check out their web site to see what they do for those in the U. S. armed forces.


Soldiers Angels


Home of the Brave Quilts


Gold Star Mothers


North Carolina National Guard


Military Order of the Purple Heart


Patriot Guard


Wounded Warrior Project


Step Up for Soldiers


Children of the Dome



To commemorate the anniversary of Robert’s death, The Daily News here in Jacksonville, NC wrote an article about this web site and the journey that Robert has taken.  Read that article by clicking here.


Winner of the Top Gun Award, 2007


Brian and Mary Wheat with Robert and his boys

United We Stand

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Words of Honor





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