Pink Energy manager knows the sacrifices military families make
July 1st, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
July 1st, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
Pink Energy recently has recognized two of its employees who are veterans, acknowledging their outstanding work in serving our country, but we thought it would be just as fitting to share the story of one of our team members whose spouse has spent 26 years on active duty in the Army. After all, she and her family have made just as many sacrifices, if not more, than the others.
Pink Energy accounts receivable manager Lola Meredith’s husband, Warrant Officer Michael Walls, is currently stationed at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He recently returned from a one-year deployment to Korea, and he’s had his share of duty overseas in harm’s way. Currently a supervising mechanic for his unit’s motor pool, Walls previously spent time as his unit’s No. 1 gunner. He’s served in Operation Enduring Freedom, been in Iraq multiple times, and also has been in Bosnia and Kuwait.
Lola and Michael have been together for 11 years, married for eight of those, and the couple has a blended family of seven children – a daughter they adopted in 2012 (Ashlynn, who’s now 22), and three kids each of their own from prior relationships. Michael’s three children (Jennifer, Jamie and Joseph) are all in their 30s, so life with a father in the military is all they’ve known. What was different was when Michael became the stepfather for Lola’s children, Katie, Kaleb and Kaycie, who are now 25, 20 and 17, respectively.
“When the kids were younger, it was a lot rougher,” Lola says. “It put up a wall for (Kaycie) for the longest time because she was scared to get close to him (because if) something (were to) happen to him and she wouldn’t have him anymore.”
Time away from her husband is always difficult for Lola, and it’s especially worrisome when Michael is in a combat zone. During those times, she does not watch the news, preferring to immerse herself in her children and now grandchildren, of which she has 11.
Michael’s current stateside base means he is constantly training others to be ready at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world, yet it also provides the opportunity for him to come home at least once a month. But Lola also knows that if her husband had his way, he’d rather be putting all that training to use in the field. While being the lead mechanic for the motor pool sounds like a behind-the-battle-lines job, it’s not. His job becomes very dangerous when any of the vehicles in his fleet become disabled, and he and his team need to retrieve those vehicles in unsafe situations.
With 26 years already in the Army, one starts to wonder how long Michael will continue his military career. It’s a question that has come up often between them. Lola thinks she already knows the answer. Knowing her husband’s need to stay busy, she anticipates he’ll stay in for his 40 years. And with Lola’s youngest daughter graduating high school next year, that affords Lola the opportunity to begin traveling with Michael without uprooting any of their kids. If that’s the case, all of the sacrifices she made to maintain a stable home environment for their family will have paid off.
“Even if my husband was not in the military, I know that our liberties and freedom come with a huge cost and sacrifice,” Meredith says. “Our service members have to be selfless; because they take an oath to protect our country; which includes everyone living here, no matter the cost. That includes, leaving behind loved ones to serve and taking the risk that they may never come home. They are willing to sacrifice their happiness and their lives just for us.”
As the 4th of July nears, Lola is very proud knowing that her husband fights for everyone’s freedom every day, even when some may take it for granted. It is because of her husband’s efforts that Independence Day is her favorite holiday.
“The Fourth of July has always been special to me, because being married to Michael, there’s meaning behind it, not just the fireworks,” Lola says. “I don’t think there’s any words to describe it.”
We have words to describe it, and those are “thank you.” Pink Energy appreciates the work that all service members of our armed forces both past and present have done to keep our nation free. Remember them as you celebrate this holiday.