Military families support each other through tough times - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Military families support each other through tough times

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The death of an Eastern Iowa soldier is weighing heavily on troops overseas and their families at home. Specialist Donald Nichols, of Shell Rock, is the second Iowan to die in combat this week. Several other local soldiers have suffered serious injuries from IED attacks in a matter of days. Through it all, military families are working to stay strong and support each other, especially when times are tough.

Angela Gingrich learned of Nichols' death just a few hours before her husband, and his younger brother, were scheduled to return home on leave from Afghanistan.

"We finally got the call from Garrett to know when he was going to get in, I called right away here to Camp Gingrich to let them know when we needed to go to the airport. I got ahold of Pop. And he said the calling tree was activated," said Angela.

When a calling tree is activated during a deployment, families know what it means.

"You don't really know what to say. You just, try to get them to talk, and you try to listen more than anything," said Craig Gingrich, father of two deployed soldiers, and one of the parents responsible for calling families of the 1-133rd.

"It took my high down to a big low. Because it's such mixed feelings to have my husband home, and know someone else won't have theirs back," said Angela.

The Gingrich family is facing that roller coaster of emotions. With both Capt. Garrett Gingrich and 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich on leave, all four boys are home at the aptly named "Camp Gingrich".  They're looking forward to a rambunctious couple of weeks, days when ranks don't matter as much as age (Taylor is the youngest of the four).

But even though the soldiers are out of the desert, the impact of war is far reaching.

"You want to relax and come home and focus on your family for the 15 days you're here. But you also, it's always in the back of your mind how your company is coming along," said Capt. Garrett Gingrich.

"We're so grateful and so fortunate," his dad added. "We just can't imagine what it must be like to be one of those families who's not having good news and not having a good time. It's sobering."

In 15 days, Garrett and Taylor will go back to their troops, and the camp back home will continue praying for the good news, and good times, to continue.

"They're always on our minds. We're very proud."

Garrett and Taylor asked us to say a special "hello" to their companies, Charlie and Alpha -- both from the 1st Battalion of the 133 Infantry of the Iowa National Guard.

Their troops have been through a lot in the last few days. Taylor was just a few yards away from the explosion that injured Sergeant 1st Class Eric Lindsey and Specialist Tim Bagley last week. Garrett is their commander. They noted, it's difficult to continue fighting without Lindsey and Bagley, but they are praying for their recovery.

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