Today we honor the men and women around our nation, and within Graceway, who have dedicated their lives to serving in the military.
Terri Bly, a Graceway member, enlisted in the Army National Guard in 1981. Terri, along with her two sisters, all enlisted after their uncle encouraged them to join as a way to help pay for their education. At the time of her enlistment, Terri had been married to her husband, Dan, for just one year. Over her 24 years in the service, Terri has spent time in Panama, Ecuador, and did a tour in Afghanistan in 2004. She served primarily providing medical support to different branches of the military.
During her time in the service, Dan and Terri had three children. Being away from her family wasn’t easy. The tour in the MIddle East came during a time when her oldest son was in his senior year of high school and her youngest daughter entering her freshman year. Dan took over all household responsibilities and even quit his job to ensure the kids didn’t have to miss out on anything during this time. Dan said that at first he didn’t understand Terri’s decision to join the military, but it was during this time when God put people in Dan’s life that brought him to Graceway.
Serving in the military as a woman had its unique challenges. Terri says that everywhere they went, women had to use the buddy system, never able to go anywhere without someone by their side. One of the biggest blessings, she states, was the ability to communicate with her family while away. Even if it wasn’t always easy, she always enjoyed being able to speak to her husband and children. She also was able to connect with other believers and able to establish fellowship overseas. Having fellowship with others helped get through some difficult times. At one point they were able to see one of their Afghani translators come to Christ and be baptized.
Dan said that when Terri first enlisted he didn’t understand the reasons why and he wasn’t too happy with the decision. “But when I look back on the sacrifice she made for 24 years to serve our country,” he said, “I have so much respect for her.”
Thank you to all of our veterans and their families for the incredible sacrifice you have made to this country.