An Army Wife Shares How The Armed Services YMCA Helped Their Family

Lawton | KSWO TV | April 20th, 2012

LAWTON, OK- It’s important in a military town to have a strong support structure and that’s what the Armed Services YMCA in Lawton provide.  They’ve been helping service men and women for 70 years.

This morning they kicked off their annual Partner-Member Campaign with a breakfast. Their goal is to raise over $82,000.

To show what the Armed Services Y does to help, they invited a woman to share her story.

Jodi Patterson had lived her entire life in California, her family and her job of 15 years were there, but she was about to be an army wife living in Oklahoma.

It doesn’t sound that unusual until you find out that Brian was 39 when he decided to join the army.

So he joined, she wasn’t happy, but wait there’s more, this story has tears, screaming, a coma and a happy ending.

“Well I don’t think I can put that on camera because I was furious, I came unglued, I just got in the car and drove. I drove out to Palm Springs which was about an hour away I just screamed and hollered and bawled my eyes out the whole time,” Jodi said.

When you decide to make a life changing decision, like joining the army that’s not exactly the kind of response you’re looking for. Understand that before joining, Brian was unemployed.

“As the breadwinner of the family the kids look up to you for food, look up to you to get fixed if they have medical needs, and I’m not gonna get a job that doesn’t offer much [sic] benefits,” Brian said.

After basic training they moved to Oklahoma

“We got here March 17th and he deployed June 3rd,” Jodi said.

So about 75 days after arriving in Oklahoma it’s just Jodi and her kids. She didn’t know anybody, no support system and that’s where the Armed Services YMCA comes in.

“We got here we needed a microwave and we went in there and that’s how we met them, and we walked out with a microwave at no cost because it was available that day at the soldiers closet,” Jodi said.

But that’s just the beginning…

“They were on the phone what do you need, they were emotionally you know when you go in there they would you could just cry on their shoulder you could share your story, they cared they remembered your name  you weren’t just a person walking in that was a nobody they actually cared enough to know who you were,” she said.

That’s not the end of the story, after returning from Afghanistan the family of four reunited and took off to visit family in California. But they didn’t get far, a terrible car accident, a few hours down the road; Brian suffered a traumatic brain injury, and spent 6 weeks in a coma.

“When we were in the accident we immediately had an outpouring of his command team and the Y they immediately contacted us,” she said.

What does Jodi, who was screaming, crying, and not happy when her husband joined up, think about the army now?

“We want to stay, we want to keep and do it and he wants to retire out with it and we say we’re not gonna let it go and they’ll have to push us out, we’re ready to stay.”

We’re ready to stay? What a difference a couple of years can make. Jodi loves the army now, and she loves the Armed Services YMCA.

If you are a member of the armed services they would love to help you too.

By the way Brian isn’t fully recovered from the traumatic brain injury but the army has been there to support him all the way.