New support for military families
“Amber is one of those amazing people who have an endless capacity to give and love”, says Executive Director, Miranda Klassen. “I will never forget my first call with Amber. She was devastated by the loss of her best friend, Nichole to an AFE. As a nurse Amber could understand what had clinically happened but was having such a hard time processing the crushing loss. She vowed that first day we spoke that she would not only keep Nichole’s memory alive but also to support the efforts of the AFE Foundation.”
Almost 4 years have passed since that call and Amber has upheld her promise to do both. “There hasn’t been a month when Amber hasn’t called to check in and find ways to help”, says Miranda.
Amber found solace in helping Nichole’s husband Chris, after her passing. She organized a diaper and wipe drive providing Chris with 2 years worth of supplies. She helped him transition from active duty military, move, and take care of the children. Over time, the two also found love with one another. Now married, they are raising their children and honoring Nichole every single day. Amber has also spent countless hours helping the foundation on various projects.
In January, Amber put her clinical skills to work and traveled to Houston to volunteer her time with the research team at Baylor College of Medicine. “She jumped right in and was especially efficient in gathering hospital records that we had been having a hard time requesting”, recalls Miranda.
Amber and Chris also attended the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) national conference this past June. There, they volunteered at the AFE Foundation booth sharing their stories and information about our organization with hundreds of Labor and Delivery nurses.
“After helping several families in need, we saw that Amber could really help out our military families. We were hesitant to ask as Amber has a full-time job, is raising 4 children, and is a soccer coach! Without taking a moment to think about it, Amber accepted the role of Military Family Liaison for the AFE Foundation”, says Miranda.
Amber shares, “As I was helping Chris, who was in Special Operations for the Navy, I learned a great deal about the support available to our military families. It takes a certain amount of tenacity and organization to make sure you get every bit of support that is available. For many families, they are overwhelmed and can barely get through the day to day. Managing paperwork, phone calls, and completing all of the necessary forms is just too much. I am so grateful to be able to share this knowledge and help others who may not otherwise know about what is available to them. I know how hard and isolating it was for Chris and how much our support aided him in those crucial days, weeks and months after Nichole’s death.”
In this role, Amber assists military families affected by AFE and connecting them with national, state, and local support. Most recently, Amber supported an Army dad who lost his wife to AFE. Amber quickly got to work and connected with his local command post and local military wives to create a diaper and wipe drive. Through these efforts we were able to supply more than a year’s worth of essentials, newborn photos, financial support, and most especially emotional support to this father in need.