One of the things I love the most about Boot Campaign is that we are story tellers. We get the opportunity to tell the stories of our heroes and their families. The often untold stories. The stories that need to be heard. When I first started working for Boot Campaign full time last year, I started a weekly Facebook series called, “Faces of OUR Freedom.” It was my way of telling the stories of those that have lost their lives to war, those injured by war, those recovering, those aching at the loss of their loved ones, and those who have recovered, thrived, and overcame their hardships! My little FOOF (Faces of OUR Freedom) posts are the most popular posts that we do on social media now. It amazes me all the THANKS we get for posting them and all the love that is shown to the people who I write the FOOF posts about. So, if you have never seen a FOOF post on Facebook this is a FOOF post…. it’s just a little more in depth.
Today I want you to hear the story of Patrick and Emily Feeks. Their story touched my heart so deeply. Patrick and Emily are BOTH Faces of OUR Freedom who’s story needs to be shared. The story of two warriors….
Emily is the only Gold Star Spouse still on active duty who works for SOCOM. She is not only a Surviving Spouse but she is also a Warrior and Hero! She has been in the military for 14 years as of Sept 1, 2013 and continues to serve this great nation after the tragic loss of her Patrick. She is one AMAZING woman and I hope that you read her story and feel compelled to share it with others….. as I am doing now. – Boot Girl Brandi
I met Patrick after returning from Afghanistan in 2010. When I returned I felt so lost and was learning to cope with issues from returning back from a war zone. I saw more than I ever thought I would see in my military career. While we were waiting to leave the country there was an accident involving a helicopter. We lost several men including a Navy SEAL with the team I was deployed with. I was there as they sent him home on the C17. It was so awful to watch these men breakdown, the bravest men in the world and know that I was powerless to help them. It isn’t until you come home that you begin to realize the toll that war takes on you.
When I met Patrick I wasn’t looking for love I had just turned 30 over in Afghanistan and was just trying to regain my footing being back in the states. Patrick had this amazing way about him and before I knew it he had won me over.
With Patrick by my side, I found my purpose, my compass, the man who could deal with anything and the one who was always there for me. He was there for my nightmares, my easily frustrated demeanor, and my irrational fears. He would always hold me, or put his hand on my shoulder and tell me it was okay. We had a joke between the two of us that he was the “Emily Whisperer.” He truly was my rock, my everything.
I lost the love of my life, SO1 (Navy SEAL) Patrick Feeks, killed in action in Afghanistan on August 16, 2012.
It still seems so impossible. I had just talked to my husband on Skype as he headed out the door overseas, he said “I love you more,” just like he did every day. So impossible that less than 12 hours later they would be telling me he was gone. Those words still cut through me like a knife as they do any wife, mother, father, sibling, family member, teammate, or friend. I choke up as I write this even now… bringing back the memories of that day.
There is this hole that no person could ever fill in my life, as no one could ever fill any of Patrick’s roles in life the way that he did with such humor, love, faithfulness, and devotion. I may not have lost a limb or sustained a brain injury at War but when I lost Pat I lost a huge part of myself. When Patrick was killed my worst “irrational” fear came true and he wasn’t there to hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay. There are so many things in life we are powerless against and Patrick’s death is one of them. We have no choice to the events that happen in our lives but we do have the choice on how we move forward. We have the choice to carry on and to change other people’s lives. To not let the lives of those we have loved and lost ever be forgotten. Life is not about what you cannot do but what you CAN do; in this we have a choice. No day is “easy” with Patrick gone, but I find some peace when I am surfing or out on the water in any capacity. I also find peace in giving back and trying to make a difference. When working to help others, I help myself, and I have found a purpose again. Being a part of Boot Campaign, and the Never Quit Challenge keeps me going. To me that choice to move on and CAN DO… is what Never Quit Challenge is all about, the choice that we HAVE… not to give up, or to give in, the CHOICE to keep going.
I’m excited to find out where this life is going. I have met so many amazing people and I am sure I will meet more along the way! Their positivity and generosity fuel me to keep going! I now know that there is hope, there is support, and that no one will be forgotten.
I remain on active duty and plan to stay until I at least do my 20 years. I am moving to Tampa to work for SOCOM which is going to be a huge change for me but I know that I have a lot of love and support everywhere… from my family, military family, friends, and organizations like Boot Campaign and Never Quit Challenge. – Emily Feeks
In loving memory of SO1 (Navy SEAL) Patrick Delaney Feeks
“Cry Havoc, let slip the frogs of war!”