Merry Christmas and Season Greetings from E. Afghanistan!
I hope everyone is well and looking forward to a festive and happy holiday season! Hopefully, I will deliver this message in person to many of you. I am almost finished with my deployment and plan to depart the area next week.
The holidays are the time of the year that we reflect upon the previous year and plan the next. 2011 was a busy year! It seems like an eternity since I have been home. I departed Arkansas in June and hope to be home to ring in the year with Jon and Chris. Deployments are often more difficult on the family members that are left at home. The spouses, children, parents and colleagues left behind adjust their lives without the service member and keep doing what they would normally do like work, school, activities, church, and home. I think the worry and fear is the worse emotion to be left to deal with. I know my dear, sweet husband graciously accepted all the additional responsibilities left for him, like the clinic bills, household stuff, cat litter boxes, swimming pool patrol and stand in “mom” duties! My son graciously accepted the daily school shuffle and the many nights of not being home to sleep in his own bed. Grandparents gracefully stepped into “parent mode” to care for Chris. The clinic continued on with Dr Woody and staff. Needless to say, life continued back in Arkansas without me. I am eternally grateful for your support and understanding during this deployment. But my mission here is complete and time for me to come home.
I have had the honor to work with a stellar Agribusiness Development Team with the Nebraska Army National Guard. Their leadership and security element has kept us safe. I feel that I positively contributed to the team and to the people of Afghanistan. Many of my projects provided improved veterinary care to numerous districts and thousands of livestock. We provided invaluable training for many Afghan veterinarians and para-vets and improved their technical skills and ability to enhance their professional status and livelihoods. We aided the Afghan Veterinary Assoc with a rabies vaccine and awareness campaign along with seasonal livestock vaccination clinics. I have spent countless hours mentoring and training members of the Afghan government and worked with a Women’s Advocacy Group to improve the safety of women and to improve their access to schools and college. Just to name a few. It is a very humbling experience to hear from an Afghan how much they appreciate what the “Americans do for us”. Regardless of how much we try to put the Afghan face on our projects and efforts, that “US Army” nametag and flag is hard to ignore. What will become of Afghanistan and my friends after I leave and the US forces depart the theater is still unknown…..all we can do is hope and pray they will stay safe and prosper. I will miss my Afghan friends and Ag Team. My mission is complete here and it is time for me to come home.
I look forward to 2012. I look forward to transforming back into my American roles of mom and wife and Dr Kate. I look forward to spending time with the family and friends. I cherish my clients and patients and can’t wait to get back to work at the clinic.
I have never been more proud to be an American…..we are the chosen ones and have so much to be thankful for. Even with a tough economy and economic downfall, we are the most influential people around the globe….be proud of who we are, what we represent, and what we believe in. Never forget that blood was shed to keep our country free, freedom is never free! God bless you all and hope to see you soon.
Peace be with you,
Kate Williams, DVM
St. Francis Animal Hospital