I wish to start this letter as stating I am proud to be an American, also known as a citizen of the United States of America. I am also proud to say I am a Montanan. I was raised here and raised my children here. I also hold great respect and awe for those Americans who choose to serve to preserve and protect our great nation. These servicemen and women enlisted to put their lives on the line and they know the risks and the pay is not great. Some have more hardships than others to continue to serve.
Staff Sgt. Alicia Shook has not lost her life but has served with some who could not come home to their family. SSgt. Shook has been proudly serving her country since she graduated from Darby High School in 2000. She follows her grandfather Beryl Cooper, father Ernie Shook, and uncles, cousins and two brothers in their pride and service to this great nation. SSgt. Shook has served 12 years with the U.S. Air Force. Military life comes with many challenges. SSgt. Shook has never asked, or expected, any special treatment just because she is female. During her service, she has been stationed in Montana, Iraq, Kuwait and Turkey. Currently SSgt. Shook is attached to bases in Las Vegas, Nevada.
SSgt. Shook recently returned home from a 2-week leave to Montana. She returned to her home in Vegas at 1:30 a.m. in the morning of May 20 to find her home had been burglarized. She and her family lost most everything including security and piece of mind. Base housing has not been available for her. SSgt. arrived in Nevada September 2010.
Did I mention SSgt. Shook is a single parent with two boys, aged 15 months and 9 years? By federal standards she does not qualify for any type of assistance and has not asked for special considerations. SSgt. Shook and her children have lost much but not their pride and sense of family. They are still there to help her troops and others who “have so much less than us and I can help them out.”
If anyone wishes to help SSgt. Shook and her children in this time of need, donations can be made in her name at Bitterroot Community Federal Credit Union in Darby, MT.
One nation, under God.
Barbara Cooper Shook