Today America takes time to show gratitude to our veteran population more than any other day of the year. Here at Boot Campaign, we strive to thank our military community every day, but sometimes we overlook showing appreciation to the people we love the most. Today we want to thank one of our own staff. Char Fontan Westfall is one of ours and she deserves our deepest gratitude.
Let’s go back several years to 1996 when a teenage Char met Jacques Fontan at the local pool. Their budding relationship was not all roses because Jacques was 8 years older and therefore unfit for Char according to her parents. Although this complicated their relationship, nothing was easier than loving this selfless military man. He was sarcastically funny, witty, athletic and a true patriot. Eventually Char’s parents accepted their devotion to one another and in 2000 the couple was married. Unfortunately, their marriage was cut short. Jacques died for his country on June 28, 2005. Jacques was attempting to rescue his SEAL team brothers when his helicopter was shot down by the enemy in Afghanistan during Operation Red Wings.
Now a Gold Star widow, Char had a choice to make. She could wither in bitterness or she could honor the memory of her late husband through her own service to America. Char overcame the dark hours and months after Jacques’ death with the help of her military wives support system and her current husband, Drew Westfall. Little by little, Drew and Char forged a friendship that turned into mutual admiration and eventually love. Together they have created a life that includes two precious children and a daily appreciation of Jacques and all of the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. These days, Char dedicates her time to her family and the Boot Campaign. She shares her story of patriotism with people across the nation and her optimism is something that most people strive to achieve. And so on this Veterans’ Day, which happens to be Jacques Fontan’s birthday, we say thank you to Char and all members of the military community.