Deployed Captain celebrates wife's birthday from AOR

  • Published
  • By Meredith March
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Missing significant family events is one of the sacrifices deployed servicemembers have to make in support of the mission. When Sandy Nearing turned 40 on August 29, her husband, Capt. Louis Nearing, 630th Electronic Systems Squadron Information Technology program manager, was serving in the Area of Responsibility. A birthday surprise he coordinated weeks in advance through family and friends, however, proved his heart was at Hanscom with her.

Not satisfied to simply wait and celebrate Mrs. Nearing's milestone birthday when he returned home, Captain Nearing reached out to family members and friends at Hanscom for help in coordinating a surprise birthday party.

"We've been married for 19 years and I've never thrown her a surprise party. I thought her 40th deserved something special. I just wish I could have been there," Captain Nearing said.

Well-wishers gathered inside the Commissary, where Mrs. Nearing works, to surprise her with flowers, balloons and a cake from the captain, whose instructions included a specific request that his bouquet's card be read aloud to the group to, "increase the embarrassment factor."

The couple's oldest son, Drew, assisted by arranging for the flowers, balloons and cake, Captain Nearing said. Patsy Ligonde, 630 ELSS, contacted Sharon Washington, Hanscom Commissary general manager, who coordinated delivery times and contacted friends and coworkers.

"I couldn't have done any of it without the enthusiastic support I received from all three of these folks," the captain said. "Their assistance was outstanding."

Despite the challenges involved in coordinating an elaborate surprise from nearly 7,000 miles away, Captain Nearing embraced planning the festivities as an opportunity to express his devotion to his family.

"Being able to arrange this from here was a way for me to show my wife and my kids how important they are, even from [the AOR]. I was able reach out across the miles and tell them that I love them."