Global love: Valentines sent to stationed loved ones

Heather Cowherd

The true meaning of Valentine’s Day cannot be found in a greeting card, but inside of someone’s heart.

At least that’s the way some Western students will celebrate this year.

The holiday will be hard to get through because they’re apart from their significant others who serve overseas in the military.

“I think being in my situation I have realized that Valentine’s Day is not something that the card company has made up, but it is a day to appreciate the one you love and to show them how much you appreciate them,” Radcliff freshman Daniella Housler said.

Housler’s boyfriend is Pvc. Joshua Willis who is stationed in Afghanistan. Housler has been with Willis for about 10 months.

“I was kind of worried when we first met because I didn’t want to get serious with him and he then leave, but after we got serious it didn’t matter,” Housler said. “I didn’t care about the distance because I knew that he would be coming home.”

Willis proposed to her during his last visit, which was July 1, 2003. He left for Afghanistan in August of last year.

Housler said she doesn’t like the fact that he is away, but she doesn’t want him to give up the military because it’s what he enjoys.

“It is a big part of his life, and it was there before me,” she said.

For Whitley City freshman Ariel Worley, the military was a new chapter in her relationship.

Worley is engaged to Spc. Christopher Redmon who is stationed in Kuwait.

About three months after the start of their relationship, Redmon decided to enlist in the Army.

“I wasn’t really sure how to take it,” Worley said. “But I knew that with God we would still be together and stay strong no matter what curve ball was thrown at us.”

Worley and Redmon have been together for two years and are planning to get married in September 2007 after they graduate from college.

“I feel that the Army has made our relationship stronger because of the distance, and I feel that it has also made a better man out of him,” Worley said.

Neither Housler nor Worley will be spending Valentine’s Day with their fianc?es.

This is the first Valentine’s Day since Housler and Willis started dating.

“For Valentine’s day, I sent Josh a big package, and I will also talk to him that day and think about all the time we did have together and how proud I am,” Housler said. “Hopefully it will make it a lot easier.”

Worley and Redmon celebrated Valentine’s Day early. They exchanged gifts before he left for Kuwait Jan. 29. Worley also sent Redmon a surprise care package.

“I feel lonely,” Worley said. “When you have something that has been a main part of your life for two years and suddenly they are a thousand miles away, it hits home.”

Communication overseas is also limited because Internet access is only offered in certain areas, and there are long lines for the pay phone.

Housler said she e-mails her boyfriend once in a while because she knows that he only has five minutes to check it.

During those five minutes, she said she wants him to know that she is thinking about him.

Mail is the best way for Housler and Worley to keep in constant contact with their loved ones, but the letters cannot replace the lack of physical contact.

“It is sometimes a slap in the face when you see all these couples together and you can’t be with the one you love,” Housler said.

Worley said you can send letters and pictures, but it’s harder to send a hug.

Besides writing letters, Worley is only able to communicate with her fianc? by telephone for 15 minutes at a time.

“When I am not able to talk to him, I usually talk to friends,” she said. “Even though they don’t understand the heartache of being apart from their loved ones, they still try to comfort (me).”

People who are in similar relationships like Worley and Housler may have a support group next year.

Housler said she and a friend who also has a boyfriend in the military tried to organize a club together last semester, but the idea was postponed during finals week.

They decided to take their time into getting the club organized.

“It is just easier to talk to people who are in the same position as you, who can relate and understand the things you are talking about,” she said.

For people who are experiencing similar relationships, Housler and Worley believe that they should talk with their friends and remember to keep their faith.

“Just develop a strong relationship with God,” Worley said. “Because when your loved ones are so far away, he is the only link that you have with them – and also be loyal to the one you love no matter how hard the road is.”

Reach Heather Cowherd at [email protected].