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Glass is half-full for military mom

Being a military mom isn’t easy.

Ask JoJo Godeski of Glenwood Springs. As her 29-year-old son Butch Godeski readies for deployment sometime in early 2006, Mom is worried. But that comes with the job and the territory. Even though she’s worried, it doesn’t come close to matching the pride she has in her son.

“It helps me and his father, Dan, knowing that he loves what he’s doing. And he’s very proud of what he’s doing and that makes us very proud.”



As a military mom, Godeski has sympathy for Cindy Sheehan ” the mother who has set up a protest camp near President Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch.

But that sympathy doesn’t mean she agrees with Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004.



“I’ve never gone through what she’s going through ” and I hope I never will. Losing a son has to be so devastating,” Godeski says. “But I don’t agree with what she’s doing.”

Ever since it was reported that Sheehan is planning a trip to Glenwood Springs, the polarized views have spewed out like a cranky volcano.

Godeski is a little more understanding ” “I guess I’m more of the ‘glass is half-full’ type of person.”

Maybe it comes from being a military mom, where worry is a constant companion and pride is more abundant than joy at a second-grade recess.

Godeski says she’s not too thrilled that Sheehan is bringing her protesting theme to Glenwood, but she won’t call her unpatriotic.

Godeski also knows that the men and women serving in the military had a choice. When it came to her son, it was a choice she supported but didn’t agree with.

“It was different for me, growing up through the Vietnam War. People being drafted was a totally different thing,” she says. “We just have to keep reminding ourselves that this is a choice that Butch made.”

As Sheehan continues her protest vigil in Crawford, people from both sides are firing rhetoric bombs. To some she’s a grieving mother who is standing proud for a cause. To others she’s an unpatriotic mother exploiting the situation.

To a few, she’s both.

To Godeski, Sheehan is a little of both. There’s a sympathetic understanding coupled with a frustration of why she’s making such a stand. It’s not a way to honor her son’s death, Godeski says.

Godeski’s views are anchored in the foundation of being a military mom.

Way back in 1995, when Butch graduated from Glenwood Springs High School and started talking about the military, Mom wasn’t too happy.

“To be honest, it isn’t really what a mother wants to hear,” she says.

But her pride in her son’s decision has never wavered. She says he’s been in harm’s way plenty of times and when he goes to Iraq, her anxiety will increase. That’s what Iraq does to military families.

“Butch chose to make this a career and my pride in him is overwhelming all the time,” Godeski says. She then pauses. “But there are times that I just want him to come home. I just want him to be safe.”

Butch is stationed in Fort Polk, La., a place that Hurricane Katrina bypassed. His wife Kim and their 11-year-old son Devon are there with him.

Godeski says she’s talked to her son about Sheehan. Her frustration over Sheehan’s stand starts to boil but then, in true the glass-is-half-full-view of a military mom, she pauses again.

“Maybe that’s the way she copes with losing a son,” Godeski says. “But I don’t think it’s right.”

The 52-year-old mother of two prays for peace and a time when her son will be safe and home. For now, she’s counting the days until Butch, Kim and Devon come to Glenwood for a Christmas visit.

Godeski again says she doesn’t like what Cindy Sheehan is doing, but the Glenwood mom has more to worry about than what a women in Texas is doing and what she might say if she comes to Glenwood next month.

“I’m just proud of my son. It was his choice to join the military. That’s what he wanted to do,” Godeski says.

The glass will always be half full for Godeski, but this is one military mom who won’t be toasting Cindy Sheehan anytime soon.

Dale Shrull is the managing editor of the Post Independent.


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