When mom-to-be Hillary Vallejo lost her husband in Iraq, Ladies Auxiliary VFW 8561 hosted a baby shower in her honor.

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September 18, 2008. That day a Chinook helicopter crashed in Iraq, claiming the lives of seven American soldiers. Among them was Hillary Vallejo’s husband, Robert.

Pregnant with their first child, Hillary got the news that every military wife fears. She had lost the love of her life and would be raising their son alone.

After the tragedy, members of Ladies Auxiliary VFW 8561, Arlington, Texas, wanted to help. Robert was a member of their adopted unit.

“We wanted to let her know she is not alone,” said Peggy Jentgens, Americanism Chair/Patriotic Instructor. “We called the 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion and asked what we could do.”

Cris Gerrardo, Family Readiness Officer, offered an idea: hosting a baby shower.

“We jumped at it,” continued Jentgens. “The Commander offered the use of the Post, and we got busy preparing.”

With VFW Post 8561 transformed into a baby paradise, the big day arrived.

The ladies worked hard to keep the mood upbeat, but very reverent. The women played baby shower games and watched the mom-to-be excitedly open her gifts for her unborn son, to be named after his father, Robert Vallejo III.

The ladies even passed around a blue piggy bank with the message, “Please feed the piggy.”

“And let me tell you, the Post really fed that piggy!” said Jentgens.

By the end of the party, Hillary was smiling bright. She was grateful for the gifts, but most of all, the support.

“It perked her spirits a bit,” said Jentgens. “She’s a sister. We’ve all sent men off to war. We’ve all had babies. We’ll always be there for her, and I think she knows that now.”



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