A father's love and a family's perseverence

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
In 1994, then Senior Airman Roger Lammey met his future wife, Michaela, in Las Vegas, through a mutual friend.

They later married and became a family, which includes stepson Shakia Horn, 22, Dyshali, 16, and Akiano, 11.

Mrs. Lammey worked as a registered nurse. Tragically, when she was 38-years-old, she suffered a stroke. She recovered and found a less stressful job at a geriatrics doctor's office. At 41, she suffered from a second stroke.

"She had six months of in-and-out treatment and a month-and-a-half of physical and occupational therapy so she could learn how to speak, walk and eat by herself and regain strength on her right side," said Master Sgt. Lammey, a 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing foreign object damage prevention monitor. "She went from being in a wheelchair, to a walker, then to a cane and now walking by herself."

"It was difficult to keep up with work and help her with treatment since I was the only one able to drive," said the sergeant, who is deployed from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. "My work was very supportive though. They knew if I came in early, it was because I had to leave in the afternoon, or if I came in late it was because I had an appointment."

"It was a challenge to help her eat, get dressed and take care of the house," continued Sergeant Lammey, who is originally from South Dakota, but now considers Sumter, S.C., his home.

Since then, Mrs. Lammey has become more independent and is able to do the things she did prior to her strokes.

Additionally, Mrs. Lammey's parents moved from Las Vegas to help take care of the Lammey family.

"They treat me just like their son," Sergeant Lammey said. "My in-laws are really supportive and help out a lot by watching the kids while I was at work or with Mikki at her appointments. I couldn't have asked for better in-laws.

"With Dyshali now driving, he helps out while I am here," he added.

Sergeant Lammey was deployed to Joint Base Balad May to October of 2010, as well as this year.

"It is hard not being able to be there and not knowing what's happening," he said. "I also like to be there for her doctor's appointments to be able to clearly explain what's going on, because sometimes she can't remember."

Sergeant Lammey credits his supervisor for being supportive.

"My unit provides me a stable home environment and the mental and emotional help needed to figure out what I need to do," he said. "He (his supervisor) also is good about pulling me aside when I look stressed."

Prior to Mrs. Lammey's stroke, the Lammey family endured another misfortune.

Their middle child, Dyshali, seemed to be sick all the time as a child. It was not until he was 6 years old that doctors discovered he had an immune system deficiency. Before this diagnosis, Dyshali spent most of his life in and out of a hospital, but since then, whenever he is sick, he can go to the hospital, be treated and leave shortly after.

"He's been perfectly healthy since then, and mostly goes to the doctor only for an annual checkup like most children," Sergeant Lammey said.

Recently Dysahli was named Youth of the Year at Shaw AFB, and he will progress to the 2011 Air Combat Command Teen of the Year competition. His dream is to become an oncologist or hematologist to help other kids who have his deficiency, and he hopes to find a cure one day.

The family's oldest, Army Spc. Shakia Horn, joined the Army in 2009 to become an Army Ranger. While in jump school, he injured his knee and was medically removed from the program until he heals. He hopes to return to jump school after his tour in Iraq.

Currently, Specialist Horn is stationed near Mosul, Iraq, as a vehicle operator. Sergeant Lammey hopes to be able to visit his son in Iraq if he can.

Specialist Horn's dream is to earn a bachelor's degree and become an officer.

The Lammey family's youngest, Akiano, plays baseball and soccer and one day wants to become a Army sniper.

"He is always willing to help around the house and helps my wife do anything," Sergeant Lammey said.

Despite all the challenges that have been presented to Lammey family, Sergeant Lammey would not change anything.

"Our life has been full of trials and errors, but I wouldn't replace it with anyone else's," he said. "To Mikki, it is your love and courage that has been the foundation of our marriage. You love without regret, you love without pause and you love unconditionally. It is your love that keeps me going day after day."

"To my boys, you have given me love and support for which there is no replacement," he continued. "You will forever be the bright spot of my life for which I will forever cherish."

When Sergeant Lammey returns from his deployment, he plans to take his family on a vacation.