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Release honors Gold Star families

Northwest Guardian

Published: 03:56PM April 30th, 2015

One day Krista Simpson of Olympia woke up as Staff Sgt. Michael Simpson’s wife — the next day she woke up his widow.

Simpson told her story during Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Survivor Outreach Services dove release Saturday at Memorial Park on Lewis Main. In front of about a dozen families, Simpson talked about the tragedy of losing a loved one.

“One day my kids’ father lived here on Earth and the next he lived in heaven,” she said. “Two days from now will mark the two-year anniversary of when I was notified of the IED attack.”

Michael Simpson was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan in May 2013. Families, like Krista Simpson and her two sons, gathered to remember their loved ones. Regional Gold Star Director for the Navy Angela Spatz emceed the memorial.

“I am really honored to be a part of this and to honor our Gold Star families and our Gold Star spouses,” Spatz said. “This event is to honor the sacrifices you have made and to let you know that we really see the difference and what a pleasure it is that we all take care of each other here.”

Survivor Outreach Services is located at 2166 Liggett Ave. on Lewis Main. The organization offers services to families of fallen service members. Krista Simpson said she found solace with SOS’s support after her husband was killed.

“They have truly helped me stay positive and faithful,” she said. “They encouraged me to get out there and make sure Mike’s name is heard and all Gold Star families are recognized for their sacrifice.”

The Gold Star spouses and family groups work to support the families of the fallen while encouraging the public to honor and remember the service members who have lost their lives.

“One of the things we try to do is bring awareness to the term Gold Star family so we don’t have to say ‘oh Mike was killed in Afghanistan,’” Krista Simpson said.

She also works to bring awareness by participating in wear blue: run to remember races and with the Hands on Children’s Museum Gold Star Family Support Program in Olympia.

“We make a choice every day to stay under the covers and let life pass us by or jump out of bed and face it head on,” Krista Simpson said. “I choose to face it because that’s what my husband believed in, fought for and died for.”

For more information on SOS visit facebook.com/SOSWASTATE or call toll free 1-866-963-2538.