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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | May 12, 2014

Every hero needs a sidekick: a tale of two mothers

By Amber J. Russell 11th Wing Public Affairs

Mother's Day is observed to pay tribute to the nurturers, teachers, best friends and leaders who shape their children's development and prepare them for life's challenges.

It has been said, "A man works from sun[rise]-to-sun[set], but a woman's work is never done."

This sacrifice does not always go unnoticed.

Airman 1st Class Samuel DeWitt and his wife Kaila said they gained the wisdom and strength it takes to adapt and overcome tough times from someone they both said has hero-like qualities.

The two agreed that this conqueror of circumstance faced a life riddled with pain, and surfaced with a smile.

"I don't know how someone could be that strong," Airman DeWitt said. "With everything she went through you still see her smiling and laughing all the time."

Kaila said she witnessed her idol being mistreated by her abusive ex-husband and continue to hold herself up. It was only a matter of time before the woman she idealized learned to take a stand against abuse.

"If you're not happy in a relationship, it's ok to leave," self-love and preservation is one of the messages Kaila said she learned from her role model.

As if being the object of abuse wasn't crippling enough, life continued to throw daggers and spew venom on the heroine of this story.

"She was only 24-years old when her three-year old son became ill and passed away." Kaila said. "I was just 4-years old then."

Still, this resilient character in her life kept her thoughts uplifted, saying:

"You've got to learn from tragedy and horrific things, and know that you cannot take life too serious. My son taught me a lot in those three years of his life. Jonathan is with God, and one day I'll see him."

Kaila said she witnessed this champion-spirited woman persevere by directing her full love and attention to her, then, only daughter.

"If it was within her means, she would never let me go without my needs and wants," Kaila stated.

Although, painfully trying times was not a thing of the past, but in fact only the beginning.

It wasn't until Kaila was a high school senior that she saw her mother put down her armor and shed tears when her own dad passed away from cancer.

There were many external forces against her, but an internal battle with diabetes was the kryptonite that threatened to destroy her life.

"One night her blood-sugar levels bottomed out and we took her to the hospital where she went into a coma," Kaila said. "We share such a special bond. The thought of her never coming back was absolutely terrifying."

Like a faithful sidekick, Kaila stayed by her side to show love and support.

"Now we make sure to give her a hug and kiss every night, because we know what could happen," she said.

As a diet therapy apprentice at the 79th Medical Staging Squadron here, Airman DeWitt said he learned a great deal about diabetes and what it takes to manage the condition from her.

In addition to her providing helpful insight, Airman DeWitt said he considers her a true friend.

"She's awesome," Airman DeWitt said. "100 percent, no matter, what she would be there for us through the best and worst times."

This testimony is about a woman whom is said to give her last dollar without expecting anything back; listen to other's problems in light of her own; provide a refuge for those in need; and send help to perfect strangers as a dispatcher for the Stowe, Pennsylvania Police Department.

"She's beautiful, amazing, spontaneous and compassionate," Kaila testified. "She's that voice shouting out optimism over any doubt or naysayers saying, 'you can do it.' And if she can make it through all of these trials and still come out strong, I know there's no stopping me."

Now, Kaila said she is taking cues from this woman of courage and applying the same strength, tenacity and optimism into the upcoming adventure in her life: Parenthood.

Additionally, Airman DeWitt and his wife said they will never forget her reaction when they first told the unsung hero that she is going to be a new grandmother.

"'I'm too young for this; you're going to make me feel old," Ginger Preston said. "I am so proud of you and Samuel for taking the right steps and beginning parenthood the right way."

As luck would have it, the couple had their firstborn daughter on March 31, Ginger's birthday. Now, Kaila has her own sidekick to continue the legacy of strength and courage she inherited from her hero.

"An abusive relationship, the loss of her father and her son, and an epic battle with diabetes aren't enough to keep this woman of courage down," the 'heroine's' biggest fan Kaila, said. "Wonder Woman has nothing on my mom."