USO lifts spirits of fallen soldiers' wives

June 11, 2009 9:47:42 PM PDT
A USO program involves special treatment for some special families.Nothing can erase the pain of losing a loved one. But on Thursday the U.S.O. of Illinois tried to lift the spirits of six women who've experienced the cost of war firsthand.

It is a special treat - a day at the spa and much more. But behind the painting and prettiness, there's pain.

"I can feel from everyone's vibes that we all have that sadness," said Rashmi Grieco, Gold Star wife.

There's sadness in the eyes of mothers like Lisa Otto and Sue Weinger, who wears a necklace to honor her son, and Chrissy Southworth - six women in all, each one along with a friend, because their husband or son was killed in Afghanistan.

"I am so proud of what my husband did," said Chrissy Southworth, Gold Star wife.

Chrissy's husband, First Lt. Jared Southworth, was killed by a makeshift bomb in Kabul. He left behind four children, 7 and younger. On Thurseday, the USO of Illinois wanted to recognize and thank the women for their sacrifice.

"It's a humbling experience to see that other people appreciate the sacrifice that we've made along with our husbands, our sons," said Southworth.

The six men were all part of the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Infantry Brigade. Their deaths brought these women together for one day. Some called it 'Diva for a Day.'

The cocktail party, the spa, lunch, even the hotel rooms have all been donated by people who care in Chicago.

"It's the business community...it's the Chicagoland community coming together and saying we care, we support you, we support the troops," said Alison Ruble, USO of Illinois.

And they hope that with their loved ones gone they take time for themselves.

"Coming here made me realize that yes, it is important to take care of yourself and spoil yourself once in a while," said Grieco.


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