Building a military family

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The Morgan’s:

The Morgan Family

“As parents, you’re always frightened, but you spend a lot of time on your knees. You have a lot of faith and a lot of hope that God’s going to bring him through the training, and through the deployments,” said Lori Morgan, mother of Army Ranger, Captain Corey Morgan.

Lori and her husband Kenny also had a support system while their son was deployed.

“Lori’s on a prayer chain with VMI moms, even though Corey’s been gone from there 6 or 7 years, he graduated in 2011. They still stay in contact, and still have prayer chains for VMI grads who are serving or who are in harm’s way,” Kenny Morgan said.

They have their church community as well. That’s where they found other families going through the same thing.

“I would be texting a couple of my friends, or call them on the phone, and we’d just both cry and pray,” Lori said. “Because we knew at that point, number one, we might not know where they’re at, and number two we’re just so worried about their safety. So it was very, very nice being in communication with these people who understood exactly where your tears were coming from.”

Their tears coming from a place of worry and fear, as Corey was really unable to communicate with them. Now, he’s based at Fort Myer near Washington, D.C.

“He’s safe, so we certainly like that about it, but he really enjoys what he’s doing now, even though it’s not the action, you know, that he had before,” Kenny said. “But he really loves what he’s doing, he’s still serving and so it’s different, but it’s nice to have him close by.”

For the Morgan’s, who have another son, they say they couldn’t be prouder of their family.

“It wasn’t a job for Corey, it was his love for America and what we stood for, and that’s freedom,” Lori said.

“But if you ask him? He’ll say, ‘I just did my part,’” Kenny said.

The Varney’s:

This time last year, the Varney’s were getting ready for the holidays without their son, Jared, who was on deployment with the Army National Guard.

But on top that, before Jared left, his mother, Katie, got some devastating news.

“The hardest part for me of Jared’s deployment was the fact that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a few months before we knew he was going to be deployed,” she said.

Katie was in the middle of chemo when they had to say goodbye.

“I was pretty sure that Jared was going to be safe and sound, I had a great faith in that. We gave our children to God when they were born and I trusted Him to bring him back,” Katie said. “But I was afraid that I wouldn’t be here when he got back.”

Katie remembered what her own father, also a military man, told her.

“He said, ‘Don’t make the last thing he sees you crying’ so I bucked up and that’s kind of how we go through our life.”

While Jared was away, Katie and her husband John say technology actually helped make the deployment feel more normal. They were even able to stay in touch about once a week during his deployment, which helped while Katie was sick.

“I think that probably had a lot to do with why the facetiming happened so much because he was able to see me, and see the good days,” she said.

But the Varney’s say her cancer was very difficult on Jared.

“I think it was harder on me than you all, but what about you?” Katie asked her husband. “I don’t know, I think it was tough all the way around,” he responded.

Today, Katie is doing well. Jared came back home from deployment in May and is back and forth from Richmond with his wife.

“And I am so looking forward to the holidays this year. I don’t care what the weather is like, I don’t care if the turkey’s done or not, I’m just glad that my boy is going to be home with us,” Katie said.

The Varney’s and the Morgan’s are close friends. Jared Varney and Corey Morgan grew up together.

Katie Varney is also very active in the local Susan G. Komen, and both families have done troop supply and care package drives, serving locally deployed service members.