Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Military Wife Fights Her Own Special Battle

Part of an occasional series from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

PHILADELPHIA -- Any day now, Lisa Mathews' husband will be on American soil after a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq.
When his week of deployment-ending activities at Fort Dix is over, Staff Sgt. Joseph Mathews II, an Army National Guardsman in the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, will walk through the front door of his Northeast Philadelphia rowhouse. He will be back into the daily, chaotic lives of his wife and children.
Only then, when the family is reunited, will Lisa be done with her contribution to the military - serving as the lone caretaker of their five children, three of whom have special needs.
The Mathewses are among thousands of U.S. military families whose children have medical conditions requiring special services and care. The Pentagon estimates that 115,000 to 175,000 out of about two million children of service members have special needs, a percentage that generally mirrors the nation at-large.

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