Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
For most moms, Mother’s Day is a day filled with cards, flowers, brunch, and family. For Tiffany Eckert, its about remembering and trips to the cemetery.
In 2005 on Mother’s day, Tiffany Eckert went from a married 23 year-old woman with a 2 year-old daughter and a 4-week old son, to a war widow and a single mother of two war orphans in the flash of a roadside bomb.
On May 8th, 2005, the war in Iraq claimed the life of a soldier, husband and father. His name was Andy Eckert.
I did not have the privilege of meeting the late Waterville native Army Sgt. Andy Eckert. The one thing I know about him conclusively is he picked the right girl to fall in love and start a family with. The reason why the World and I know his name and his story of sacrifice is because of the amazing work his wife has been doing raising their two children following his death.
Andy and Tiffany Eckert were married for 2 years, 2 months and 11 days on May 8th of 2005; The proud parents of a girl named Marlee Freedom and a brand new baby boy named Myles. That is a lot of life in a very short amount of time.
Most young fathers and husbands screw up on early Mother’s Days, with giving bad gifts of vacuum cleaners or just forgetting, Andy gave the gift of purpose to Tiffany.
I have no idea how someone so young can bounce back from something so heartbreakingly tragic as what Tiffany’s had to do. The very thought of that pain, losing the love of your life and becoming a widowed-single mother of two all at the age of 23, fills my heart with a horrible sadness. How does one find the strength and courage to move on and to excel?
Tiffany Eckert’s resolve and positivity in the face of life’s darkest moment is one of the most inspiring things Northwest Ohio has ever witnessed. She is raising her children with mantras like “Kindness always wins”, “You get better not bitter” and “Pay-it-forward”.
Earlier this year, Tiffany and Andy’s 9 year-old son Myles, showed the world what amazing things his Mother has been teaching. A quick pay-it-forward moment of a $20 bill gifted to a soldier at a Cracker Barrel in Maumee, has made Myles’ the face of giving and unselfishness. A moment that has now evolved into a two million dollar campaign to help other war-orphaned children like Myles and his sister.
This is why we have Mother’s day, to celebrate the job women like Tiffany are doing everyday. There has yet to be a Hallmark card created that can accurately reflect the incredible mothering that has been happening in the Eckert household.
So as we celebrate a day to honor Moms for their hard work, sacrifice and love, please keep Tiffany Eckert in your heart as well. She would never ask that you would because it is not her way…. but I am.
Let her story inspire us all to be better parents and make us think twice when we have our little parenting complaints; those times we grumble about no help around the house, late-working spouses or impossible to manage kid schedules. Tiffany has shined through darkness, her children are trying to change the world and she is doing it all by herself.
Happy Mother’s day Tiffany Eckert!
Thank you for giving this day real meaning.