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Thanks For Service Given Strengthens Family
Army 1
Escalon High graduate Shari White, left, shows a letter of support that was tacked on her door recently honoring the service of her son and the sacrifice of the family, while daughter Sarah, 16, shows a picture of her soldier brother, who is serving his second tour overseas. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

An anonymous note, left on the lawn of a local family, was just what was needed.

Shari White, whose son Brandon O’Hanley is currently deployed in Afghanistan, is serving his second overseas tour. His first was in Iraq and he just left for Afghanistan.

“I am struggling with this tour much more than his last,” Shari admitted.

She came out of her house one recent morning and found, attached to her door near the ‘Our Son is Army Strong’ sign, an anonymous letter that made all the difference.

“Having found this letter on my door just made Brandon’s sacrifice seem even more important,” she said. “I realize that he isn’t just fighting for his family but for our nation and to know that there are people out there that truly appreciate his sacrifice means the world to me.”

Shari graduated from Escalon High School, her son graduated from Grace Davis and she has a daughter currently attending school at EHS. Younger sister Sarah White is extremely proud of her soldier brother, mom Shari said, and misses him very much.

“The person that left this letter could have driven on by my home without stopping but they chose to stop and let me know how much they appreciate his sacrifice,” Shari said.

The family, including Shari’s husband Scott, live on Countrywood. Sarah is in the Special Day Class at Escalon High, where she is a sophomore.

Son Brandon is stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he has a wife, a stepdaughter and a four-year-old daughter of his own. He was a 2003 Grace Davis graduate and worked locally before joining the army in October, 2009.

His first tour was from June 2010 to June 2011 in Iraq and the infantryman left March 3 of this year for a nine-month tour in Afghanistan.

“The first one was tough but the second one is even tougher,” Shari said of dealing with her son’s deployment, citing the “more apparent danger” for this tour.

Shari said people at her work are bringing items in to create care packages to send overseas, and she may also start collecting locally so soldiers will be able to get a little piece of home.

The letter left on the family’s door read, in part: ‘My dad is an army man from Vietnam. I just wanted so say thank you! for your son and you as a family who support him and for your family sacrifice. Being a military family isn’t the easiest thing to be … America is a blessed place for my children to learn and be free because of people like you and your son…”

Shari said the letter touched her heart.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to the person that left this letter and let others know just how a simple act of kindness can mean the world to a mother of a soldier,” Shari said.