Saturday, April 18, 2009

My brother's escort

Last night was sweet.

After 21-1/2 years, my mom and I were reunited with my brother's Army escort.

As some of you know, on October 7, 1987, my brother Mike died in a car accident while he was in the Army.

This kind man, Greg Ulibarri...

...brought his soldier home.

A difficult job that he did extremely well.

In his entire Army career, it was the only time he served as an escort.

Until last year, we had lost touch with Greg after he returned to Fort Bliss from Mike's funeral. Not that I hadn't tried finding him. Making the search more challenging was that my information had his name misspelled (leaving out an "r" in his last name), and he doesn't live in this country anymore!

Coincidentally, we unknowingly lived only a short distance from each other--not even an hour's drive--for a number of years here in Texas before he moved to Germany.

So, we met his lovely wife, Ann, and hugged and visited.

After the kids found out that Mr. Ulibarri had been a wrestler, they begged some tips on holds (e.g. half nelson) and learned some rules. Then, of course, they had to display their new-found moves.

Then the kids presented some pictures they drew for our friends to have.

My Mikey (named after my brother Mike) showing Mike's escort the pictures of Army vehicles he drew for him. *Sniff*

After a wonderfully warm visit and lots of laughing (and eating), we had come to realize what we had already guessed. Greg is an amazingly compassionate, thoughtful, and selfless family man...and always seems to have a fun story and comforting word.

Then we had to say 'goodbye' since they had an early flight back to Germany this morning--but not after some more big hugs...and our kids chasing them in their car down to the end of the block! (Who needs dogs when you have kids like ours?)

You know how some people are so warm, you think you've known them all your life and could consider them extended family? That's Greg and Ann.

Thank you again, Greg, for bringing your soldier--our brother, son, and uncle--back home for his final rest.


mrs boo radley said...

What an awesome story!

Kristin said...

Laura...I'm blinking back tears. What a wonderful tribute to your brother for you to have such a special relationship with his escort. I soooo wish for both of us that we did not share this common bond, but I am grateful for a friend like you who can empathize in a way that many cannot. I'm sending you a hug!!!

Renee said...

OMG, that was a wonderful story! So how the heck did you finally find him?

I have read about you trying to find him.