Monday, November 10, 2008

Rob receives his Purple Heart

Yesterday, Rob's surgery went really well. They were able to finally close his abdomen. They also put the feeding tube in his belly and washed out his wounds. Today before Rob received his Purple Heart, the neuro dr came in and did an exam on Rob. He is again sedated so not responding. Although he was sedated, the dr felt Rob is moving in the right direction. It just remains a waiting game. I asked him about his MRI results. He said that he did see some brain damage in the middle part of his brain which may affect his speech. Again, in time, we will tell. When I asked him about the superficial vs deep bruises, he said he didn't really understand what the other dr meant when he was telling us that. Again, the other dr doesn't read MRI's so he's not familiar with the tests. He said superficial wounds on the brain affect thinking but he didn't really see this. Overall he was pretty optimistic from what I felt. Of course I am concerned about the speech issue, but hopefully, this will not be the case. Rob is young and the brain can heal itself tremendously. Then as Rob received his Purple Heart, it was a completely bittersweet moment. So many emotions ran through me. I was desperately trying to wake him up. I felt like getting sick. Although this award is an honor, it's one I wish my husband NEVER had to receive. I feel so bad that we wasn't awake for it. President Bush was the person who awarded it to him. When he walked into the room, he gave me a huge hug. He had tears in his eyes and told me he was so sorry. He just kept hugging me. He told me that Rob WILL wake up and when he does, he will meet Rob in person again. I got his business card from his personal assistant so that I can call him when Rob is ready to meet him. He awarded him the Purple Heart and then we stepped out of the room and out of our gowns and mask so we could speak more to him. He signed a 1st Infantry baseball cap Rob had. I know it will mean so much to him. He told me a story about a soldier 2 years ago who lost both of his legs. He told the soldier that when he is up and able, to give him a call and he wants to go running with him. Well, about 18 months later, the soldier called President Bush and they went running on the White House lawn. I told him that when Rob's ready and able maybe he can go wakeboarding with us! He laughed and said "I'm too old to wakeboard." Regardless of what people think politically, President Bush was extremely upset about Rob. Rob's recovery is not about politics, it is about my husband fighting to make a full recovery so he can come home to be with his wife and 2 daughters. That being said, I'm extremely proud of my husband and what he stands for. As always, I'll update soon.


Chaotic Mom said...

I am totally bawling right now. No words, even. I'm sending this to Jim asap. Totally sobbing.

Dena, we are praying all the time for you.

Bittersweet is a very appropriate word.

Thank you for the update and sharing the photos.


Valerie said...

Of course, no one would really want their husband to receive such a honor......but at the same time it is very special.....It was good to see you all with President see Barb, and Otto, and Natalie and I think that was Chris?

We are praying all the time night I wake up praying for Rob.....for healing.....for the Holy Spirit to work in each of your lives....for protection for those beautiful little girls.

Dena, you looked so pretty in those pictures.....even though it was a bittersweet moment.
valerie and family

Anonymous said...

Great news on Rob's progress and may this be marked as an inspiring day for you,Rob and those of us who are cheering on Robs recovery.
Thank you for your updates, may they be theraputic to you as well.

Continued prayers for miracles and healing today!

Hugs from Michigan
Cheryl Blaskowski

Shelli said...

Barb and Otto,
You must be extremely proud of this wonderful son you raised! I can't imagine how hard it would be to be watch you child in the fight of his life. As always I'm keeping you all in my prayers.
Congratulations on picking a 1 in a million mate! We are keeping a prayer vigil that he will be running with George W. soon!

God Bless You all!
Shelli (Bartak) Stuhr

Household6 said...

So that was your "big wig" had me wondering...wink, wink! So glad "W" was able to give Rob his award.

Still praying!


pam h. said...

Dena, I wish that Rob could have been awake to get that Purple Heart. I know in my heart that he knew he was getting it. That had to be a very special moment, especially since you were able to share it with your mom and Rob's family.You must be the proudest wife on the planet today. So many people are proud of Rob, and of you for the sacrifices that you both have made. Take Care of yourself. We will continue to pray for all of you. Love Ya, Pam Ryan, Nolan, Mason, Logan and Keyan!!!!!

Maggie45 said...

I'm glad our president honored your husband in person. I'm still praying. Will mention Rob at Communion Service tonight, then tomorrow morning in Bible Study, and Wednesday night in another Bible Study. Plus I say Lauds, Vespers, and Compline daily, and Rob is always mentioned. May God continue to hold you in the palm of His hand.

Amber Kumpf said...

God Bless you and your family. It sounds like Rob is doing better and better each day. Thank you for sharing the pictures. Keep strong and your head up high. You are an inspiration to millions.

Hugs from Osceola, NE -- we are all praying for you and your family.

Amber Kumpf

Cassie said...

What an honor for you all!! Rob will be so happy to see these pictures when he wakes up!! So good to see his family too. Still praying everyday for a speedy recovery!!
Love in Christ,
Cassie & family

Lodmell House said...

We are still here praying and reading your updates daily.
I am glad the president made it over to give him the purple heart.

Joyce Winfield said...

Rob and Dena,

Here I am crying again. We are so VERY PROUD of you both -- Rob for the ultimate service you have given to our country and Dena for being Rob's solid rock. We all know you are a fighter, Rob. You WILL have that next visit with President Bush. I never was a cheerleader, but I sure am now. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

Much love,
Aunt Joyce and Uncle Doug

Anonymous said...

As a former military man and now a missionary in Guatemala, I want to say that I am proud of Rob's and your sacrifice for us. I may not have agreed with everything W has done, but I am one proud American that my president would come to present Rob his purple heart. God love you both and continue to keep you all in His mighty hand. ps. expect an invitation to Crawford someday!!

The Bender's said...

Girl, I am so moved by you and your honest emotions and how beautifuly you let us be a part of this, a part of your family's team in this fight. Rob got his Purple Heart for one amazing and heroic battle, but have no doubt you all have many blessing coming your way throughout this next battle of recovery. And the ultimate reward will be the day when Rob wraps his entire family once again in his arms. And our ultimate Leader, our God will be looking down from above and will be embracing your family with His warmth and proud of the fight you have won. In time, it will happen.

And thanks to our President for making Rob and you feel as special as you are.

We love you,
Karen and Craig

David Black said...

A link to the article in today's Omaha World Hearld

David Black
Papillion, NE

nate schott said...

Way to go Rob. Everyone is very proud of you!
Tator (Rob's cousin Nate)

Liz said...

Tears streaming here as well. I thought of you the other day during a devotional...the message was about being still (found in Psalms). The purpose was to be still so God could do his work and immediately I though of you and Rob. We will continue to pray. Thinking of you all...

Kati from western nebraska said...

I am glad Rob is slowly improving, it will take time. I pray that everything works out for him, that is really neat the Mr. Bush gave you his business card so you could call him when Rob is ready to meet him. Good luck and I will keep coming back to check on rob's condition. May god be with you and your family

Tracy Long said...

Dena--How AWESOME! Words cannot express how much pride I feel for you BOTH! We have been praying and praying and praying! Many of my co-workers have become emotionally invested in your situation and have also been praying for you and constantly ask for updates! We will continue to pray and pray and PRAY!!! Take care of you. Tracy (Kohler) Long

The Davidsons said...

What a wonderful award for someone so deserving! We thank God for our armed forces. Thank you, Rob for all that you have done to make our world a safer place to live in.

Thanks for the photos. We pray everyday for all of you.

Carlie & Todd Davidson

Julie said...

Hi Dena & Family,
I think about you and what you are going through all the time. I'm so proud of Rob and all of you. If it is possible to love Rob back to health, he will be back home before you know it. He is loved by his family, friends, the army and his country. It is so inspiring to me that President Bush came to you and that he was truly touched by the sacrifice that all of you have made for our country. It makes me so proud to be an American. Stay strong. God bless all of you. Julie (Ali's Mom)

Anonymous said...

Prayers going up from Georgia for continued progress for Rob's recovery. So grateful to President Bush for personally presenting Rob with his Purple Heart. When he wakes up, he'll be so surprised that the Commander in Chief himself was at his bedside.
Glad to hear that the MRI results did not yield anything that can't be overcome. Praying hard that Rob will wake up soon. Hang in there.

Carol Dzurenko

JoAnne Bartek said...

I have yet to make it through reading one of your entries without lots and lots of tears. When I read about President Bush having tears in his eyes that really got to me. Dena, you are so strong - I just pray that you are getting your rest. We are so proud of Rob for his dedication to this country - thanks for the pictures. I look forward to seeing pictures of Rob and President Bush on your boat!
Aunt Jo, Uncle Steve, Brooke & Ashley

Love from MN said...

Rob...thank you for your dedicated service in the military. You are and will continue to be a inspiration for many.

Our prayers continue that your body is healing and that one day you'll be reading these messages and looking at the photos.

Thank you Dena for the photos, they turned out great!!

Take Care and may God be w/ all of you.
Love Aunt Julie(Schott)Davidson

ZM said...

Dena, you are so right about Rob's recovery. It (the war) is not about politics but the military men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve our country. Thank you for sharing the news of the President's visit. A few years ago I read the article and saw the photo of the soldier running with President Bush. He is a man of his word and I look forward to seeing a photo of him running (or wakeboarding) with Rob. :)

Tampa Cracker said...

God Bless Rob, and your whole family. I too, teared up at readin this, but please know, that we are proud of your husband, and for you! I know in my heart that Rob is going to recover from this!!

My best!

Keith In Tampa

Anonymous said...

We will gladly take President Bush's place-and go Wakeboarding!

Congratulations on all the positive news! I know it is such a relief to hear good news no matter how small it is. Hold onto the positives, they will take you far.

God Bless,
Angela and Bryant

jrinehart said...

Congrats to Rob on receiving such an honorable award, although I do wish for you all that the sacrifice would not have been made to receive it. I agree that it was bittersweet. I am an Army wife myself and can not even imagine what you all are going through. My husband was in Iraq for 22 months and I spent every minute worrying and praying for not only my husband but every soldier with boots on the ground. I am glad to see that the president values our soldiers and our families, definitely makes me proud. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers and will anxiously await more news of Rob's recovery progress. Just remember that God will be there on this long hard road with all of you, one step, one day at a time.

Colleen Winerbauer said...

Dena and Rob:

Shane called me the day Dena got the call about Rob. I was at work and was in shock. I felt helpless. Like I needed to do something to help, but couldn't think of anything to do but pray. I knew Rob was a strong positive person and if anyone could pull through it would be him.


I am so impressed with your strength and ability to hold everything together in this time of trial. Thank you for keeping everyone updated on Rob's progress. My family and friends continue to keep all of you in our prayers. There are numerous churches in the Houston area praying for Rob and everyone in his family. I know you get this all the time, but truly if there is anything we can do please don't hesitate to ask. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Love from your Texas family,

Colleen and Sergai Winterbauer

Lisa J. said...

Dena, it was so wonderful to see the pictures of Rob's Purple Heart and Pres. Bush. Rob's sacrifice is deeply felt by so many people. We are relieved the MRI looks good, and pray that his speech will not be affected. You are right, he is young and strong and that will all work in his favor. We are so proud of Rob -- AND you.

Lisa & Mike Joner

Anonymous said...

Rob is a true American hero.

We thank you and your family for their service to our country.

Kendra said...

You don't know who I am, but Rob's sister's husband, Shane Winterbauer is a Lincoln Police Officer. Rob's sister posted a link to this blog on our Police Chief's blog and I just sat and read every single post. My husband is in the Army and spent 16 months in Tikrit, Iraq during OIF 3. His unit is "sourced" to go to Afghanistan in 2010, so reading this blog was very emotional for me. I have a 3 year old daughter and a baby on the way. I hope and pray that God Forbid if anything were to ever happen to my husband, I could be HALF as strong as you. What an amazing woman you seem to be. I pray that Rob recovers well and you can all be a family again. God bless you, Rob, and your girls. I will be checking for updates and praying for you all.
Kendra Tucker
Lincoln Police Evidence Technician

Kaye said...

Hi Dena - You dont know me but a friend told me about Rob. You have truly touched my heart. You have beautiful girls. I will keep in touch and check on Rob's progress. Hang in there. God bless you, Kaye in Waycross, GA

Wendell said...

Oh Dena, I always get chocked up every time I read your blogs but today you got me! I am so proud of you and the women, wife and mother you are. When Rob wakes, he too will be thankful for all you have done to keep us updated. We continue to pray for ALL of you and know you are always in out thoughts.
-Uncle Wendell Aunt Jonell and the girls

uncle dave and aunt mimi said...

Dena, We are praying for a healthy recovery for Rob and strength for you and your family. Love,Uncle Dave and Aunt Mimi

Fran B. said...


It was good talking with you yesterday when you called Karen. I pass your updates to my friend in Georgia and she gives it to the girls she works with and prayer chain at her church. Know you are in our prayers daily. May God hold and comfort you at this time in your life.

Fran bender

Jenny said...

Hello Dena,
You do not know me but you know a family member of mine. Anyways, she has told us about your husband so I feel I had to leave a comment. What your husband has done for the country is admirable and receiving the purple heart from the president himself for a service done out of the good of his soul just has no words to explain. But keep your hopes up. Your husband will get better and it sounds like he is in very good hands with drs keeping a very close eye on him. I wish your entire family the best and I hope Rob will be up and talking and be very happy to see his wife and kids again. Your family will be in my thoughts.

Chaplain Bartels said...

What a powerful moment in time to have such a visit. I agree with you that he truly does care, no matter how he's been painted.

I'm sure one of the many stories you'll tell Rob when he wakes, is today's activities.

Always in our prayers, just as you were right before dinner tonight. Maygan held her hands together too, (briefly but she did).

Thanks for the pictures.....

knox said...

All the best to you and your husband. He and men like him are the reason we have everything we do here.

Thank you for the firsthand account of our president. Glad he is as gracious and feeling as I suspect him to be.

Long-time RN said...

Bittersweet, yes. Our family is blessed to have men like Rob, and the families who support them, serve this country. We pray for Rob and all of you on the eve of this Veteran's Day and every day.

The brain is a mystery, keep that hope going that Rob will regain functions.

Thank you for posting and sharing the pictures.

Aunt Nancy said...

How AWESOME to have George Bush to award the Purple Heart in person! Like I mentioned in a earlier blog that I would have loved to be with you as Rob was honored and, so deserving of this award!
Dena the MRI results do sound positive. But, as far as the Drs. seeing some damage that may control his speech...WE ARE JUST GOING to have FAITH that God is in Control and will heal that TOO! Here is a short story to ponder on!
Jesus healed a blind man and the religious crowd was in a uproar. They started arguing over why he was healed, and how he was healed, and who was to blame for him being blind in the first place. They were hounding the man with questions. Finally, the man said, “Listen, guys. You all are confusing me. I can’t answer all of your questions. All I can tell you is this; I was blind, but now I can see.” He was saying, in effect, the proof is in the pudding. He was saying, “You can argue & worry all day long, but I know the reason I can see is because of God’s healing in my life.”
Rob has the MASTERS HEALING and HE TOO will be VICTORIOUS in this battle! So, we will just continue praying that this "speech issue" will also just be one of Gods Many Miracles!
And, I am also EXTREMELY PROUD of him and I am EXTREMELY PROUD of YOU!
xoxoxo I Love you to pieces...
Aunt Nancy and Uncle Steve

Jaime Pachta said...

Today one of my friends told me that a story of Rob was on the news at noon. We watched it tonight at 6:00. Rob's story has touched many lives, even the President of the United States. Thanks for posting the pictures of today's events. Our hearts go out to you in prayer that you will be able to tell Rob first hand how much he made us and the president proud. (I'm sure he will like to go wakeboarding with him someday.) Take Care...Love, Dan, Jaime, Ashley, Nicolas, & Mitchell

Jenny Woodson said...

You and Rob are what veterans day is all about. we have been in constant prayer for all of you. Im an old friend of Barbs and have so much love and fond memories of rob,barb,the whole family.Ive lost touch and miss you so much.Seeing your pictures breaks my heart.Please contact me when you can barb.I know youre so proud of Rob and all the kids. Dena, Ive never met you but I commend you for your faith and bravery.
much much love,
Jenny Woodson
865 963 5264
Its hard to imagine, but God loves Rob even more than you all do!

donna walker said...

WOW, I am sitting here is just sobbing. What a emotional day. I know Rob will get the opportunity to meet President Bush someday soon. We'll keep praying.

God Bless,
Donna W

Michael & Hanna Crowder said...

Wow, to have President Bush present Rob his Purple Heart is a huge honor. I'm thankful that he made the time to show you and Rob just how important you both are to our nation! Our prayers are always with you!
Michael and Hanna

Nancy said...

Wow. Does one word sum it up?

I'm so glad that President Bush was able to be there to do that for Rob. I wish Rob had been able to see him too, but I'm sure that can happen in time! Tell Rob to hurry up- there are lots of people waiting to talk to him!!! :)

Want to hear something funny? The story that President Bush told you about the guy in the hospital... he's talking about our friend Neil. Haha... That's great that he remembers him.

It sounds like the MRI results are still leaning in the direction that we hoped for... I'm sorry to hear about the language concerns, but like you already know- young people paired with amazing modern medicine make for phenomenal recoveries.

We are thinking about you guys around the clock, and hope tomorrow brings more healing for Rob…

Talk to you soon-

Scott said...

Dena -
Your family has made a tremendous sacrifice for our country, and I am so glad President Bush was able to be with everyone today to show you how much the country appreciates everything.
It is also wonderful to hear the MRI results are hopefully.
Thanks for all the updates!
Scott and Kelsey Hayes

Mitch and Vicki Coffin said...

Rob, thank you for your service to our country. Please know that Sheridan Lutheran Church (Lincoln) and St Elizabeth's Pastoral Care (Lincoln) are saying prayers for you as well as the many already on board. This has been an emotional roller coaster day for all of you. Thank you for taking the time to share the day's events and the pictures. We're glad your families can be there with you.
Hugs and prayers,
Mitch and Vicki :-)

Annaka and Aaron said...

Dena, We are so proud of Rob. You had it right when you said it was bittersweet! When you look back years from will seem like a blink of an eye between now and when Rob is looking like a pro on that wakeboard!!! We are keeping you in our prayers. Love ya, Annaka, Aaron, Aizlynn and Amarae

Carol said...

Dena you looked very proud in the pictures. Yes it is a sad that Rob was hurt so bad to beable to get his Purple heart. Its means alot to me just knowing that they are so many man and women fighting for there country. Thanks for sharing your speical day with all of us.

Kim Decker said...


Our conversation today made me tingle. It is such a bittersweet honor to have Rob's Purple Heart awarded by President Bush. I think this is just one more huge reminder of the growing awareness, support and respect that our nation is honoring our wounded Soldiers with. His visit in no way changes the aftermath of the injuries and the long road ahead to recovery, but it does validate the sense of profound respect and honor that Americans owe to their wounded warriors. Having served with Rob as a Soldier and wakeboarded, camped, dined, laughed and shared many great times with Rob as a friend, I have to say that I am immensely proud of him. I am also proud of the entire Yllescas family who have all demonstrated their unbelievable support, love and devotion to both his career and his recovery. Cheers to you all.


Kuhlman's said...

Bittersweet is the appropritate word but I'm thinking. . . Holy Crap, Dena (Pres. Bush??). That is sooo special. It's too bad that Rob wasn't awake to recieve his purple heart but what an HONOR! You have to be sooo proud of your man. Continue to take care of yourself and keep us updated! You are such a strong woman and you're on my thoughts daily! Hang in there! Love, Kasey, Kory, and Addison

veni vidi vici said...

As the father of a lovely daughter myself, I can tell you that there's no one that wants to get back and not miss another thing in your and your daughter's lives than their dad.

You all are in my prayers for Rob's quick and full recovery. I don't know you, but appreciate that someone sent me to this page this evening.

Anonymous said...

As Dena says, I also wish this award was one you never had to receive. However, bear it with honor and gratitude for life, your family, and so many things you still have to look forward to. We are praying for your recovery. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

What a touching story of your time spent with President Bush. I continue to check on Rob's progress and pray for his full and speedy recovery. Wishing you patience and strength as you travel this road. There will be bumps along the way but soon you will have this time as only a memory and a bright future ahead for your family. We are grateful to Rob for his sacrifices and his service to our country. The Yeagers

Gloria said...

I was recruited by Aunt Nancy. She's working full force on your behalf and know that we Mary Kay girls are awesome prayer warriors. I hope it give your heart comfort knowing that there are total strangers out here who do care and are praying for you and your family.
He can hear you, he knows you are there!
God Bless you as he give YOU strength!

Gloria Barajas
Omaha, NE

Anonymous said...

We will pray for Rob's recovery.
Have faith, God is in control.
God is with you and your family every minute of the day.
God Bless you all!

Anonymous said... heart is so proud or Rob and yet so humbled that this man gave such a sacrifice for our family. My husband's unit was the first engineer's to move in and this so could have been our famly going thur this. When I pray I pray for the soldier that is nearest to death to be saved, for the family that will get bad news to be strong, and the soldier who does not know his saviour to accept him. You are amazing Dena & a wonderful testimony for Christ. Congratulations! on the honour from THE PRESIDENT.

the Joneses said...

Rob and Dena,
Sincere congratulations and blessings to you upon your receipt of the Purple Heart. We are so proud of you both. So glad to hear the good reports. Dena, thanks so much for the pictures and reports. You're so strong and a wonderful wife and mother. I pray not only for Rob's healing, but also to continue your strength. It was wonderful to show your pictures at PEO tonight at Jane's house! Everyone is praying for you!
Love ya, Monty & Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Dear Dena, Bev, and all. We are praying for you all each day. Bev, Diana sent me the heartbreaking news. I want you to know that we love you and are praying for you and our hearts go out to meet yours at this crucial time from Colorado. Rob, certainly deserves his Purple Heart award and that was very special that President Bush came to you to console you. I admire you, keep believing even through the darkness!!! What an inspiration you are to all of us!! We Love You!!! Linda Gaspers

Anonymous said...

My nephew is a major formerly stationed at Fort Riley, and I found out about your blog through him and his wife. I read it every day and pray for you and Rob every day. I live in New York state, and you can be sure that there are prayers going up for all of you from here. You are a strong and amazing woman with a husband who is a hero. My family is so very proud of all of you!

Nancy Barber

Theresa O. said...

Rob, Dena, Bev, and all,

I just wanted to tell you all how much I appreciate the service and the sacrifice that you have given. A simple thank you doesn't seem like very much, but I appreciate you and your brothers/sisters in the military so much.

It was a weird moment for me tonight.. I had just turned on the TV to the 10pm news and I saw Rob's picture up on the screen. Then I heard Dena talking about the purple heart.

You are constantly in my prayers. Awesome news on Rob's continued progress..

Dena, tell your Mom hello. I was in her orientation class when you and the girls came to Nebraska.

Thanks for the updates and the photos are awesome.

Theresa O'Neill

Justin said...

And the Presidential coin to boot!

A day of mixed emotion I am sure, but one that your family can truly be proud of. Another proud day will be the good Capt parades his medal around on his chest.

Marianna said...

Oh my gosh, I am in awe over the fact that President Bush presented your husband with the Purple Heart! What an honor. No matter anyone's political affiliation, this was monumental moment, although very bitter sweet. I'm sure you never wanted to meet the President under these conditions.


Marianna said...

... and Happy Veterans Day to your family...


Anonymous said...


Thank you for keeping all of us up to date on Rob's recovery. We are grateful for the families like you guys that allow all of us to celebrate Veteran's Day.

Thank you for your service to our nation.

Our prayers are with you guys,

The Turners

Josh Magura said...

I am reading this this blog entry on 11 Nov. I want to wish you a happy Veterans Day. God speed to you in your recovery, your family and loved ones in their support for you, and your men and comrades still deployed.
God bless the United States Armed Forces, and all who serve in them.


The Bender's said...

From our military family to your's on Veteran's Day, thank you for our wonderful FREEDOM and your incredible service.
Rob - You are an awesome Veteran, but even more husband, father, son, brother, and friend. You keep fighting buddy and will be praying for your recovery every day on this journey.

Dena - You are an awesome Miltary wife, Rob's wife, mother, daugther, sister, and friend.

And to your families and friends - You are awesome military support network!

From two Veterans honoring you and praying for you especially this Veteran's Day,
Karen and Craig

Anonymous said...

Dena, again our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It was nice to see President Bush award him the purple heart. Rob is in good hands at NNMC. Thanks for the updates we have all been following it on L&D.

OB family at Ft Riley

Wendy said...

You don't know me, but I am Cindy McGroarty's sister. Brian is in Rob's unit, and we have been praying for his recovery and for all of the men who serve with him. Your husband is truly a hero, and his service means more to us than you can ever know. We will continue to pray for his recovery. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a powerful blog! "Bittersweet"! My heart melted when you closed with describing the proudness you have for your husband. Dena you are soo strong and your guy's love is amazing! I'll keep praying for you and Rob!

cary said...

Bittersweet or not, I am honored to have found this site, honored to have learned of Rob, and deeply, deeply honored to be allowed to peek in on your life.

On this Veteran's day, I salute the Captain, and thank him for his service to this country.

And, Dena, I salute you as well, for standing by your man. This day is also for you, as the spouses of the veteran's very rarely receive the recognition and honor they so richly deserve.

Christy and Brian McGarry said...

I don't know how anyone could read that report and not cry! Thank you so much for sharing. The pictures are wonderful and the story is very nice. I'm glad the doctor was hopeful about the MRI - that's great. The brain is an amazing thing and I know God can do anything so continued prayers! I'll be thinking of Rob especially on this Vetran's Day.

Chris said...

Dear Rob and Dena,

Heartfelt thanks from me and my family on Veterans Day. Here's looking forward to you guys enjoying next Veterans Day better than this one.

Take care,


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post - From the Front: 11/11/2008 - News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Al and Marie Palmieri said...

Please know that you, Rob and your family are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Dena and Rob's Family- what a touching update!! Rob is such a hero is all of our eyes. We know you have worries about his language, but the brain is amazing and with time and prayer you will have your Rob back! Thanks for the pictures.

Ryan, Nataly, & Taylin Sanley

Anonymous said...

Dena, As soon as Rob wakes up, you tell him thank you from me for all he has done for our country and that I will continue to pray for him and his beautiful family. It was good to see you in the photos, such an honor. Terri Haire

About The Caddo Tribe said...

What a wonderful honor. I can't wait to see what Rob and President Bush do, when he is back on his feet!

Shani and Mike Ginani

Chris said...

Thinking and praying for Rob.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Rob's Family,

You don't know me, but I am another Mary Kay sister director to Aunt Nancy.

When I read about Rob's battle to live, tears, of course, came gushing into my eyes, but the love of Jesus came rushing into my heart as well. Knowing that when you believe in the God the Father all things are possible and things so much greater than us take over! I truly believe God has many better things in store for Rob and that he will be healed and once again be with all of you. If God really wanted Rob right now, he would of already taken him. Keep believing in HIS almighty power and grace.

Know that there are tons of Mary Kay prayer warriors out here beside you holding you up to the Lord!

In HIS blessed Name!
MinDee Sommerla
Malvern Iowa

Anonymous said...

Our heartfelt thanks to Rob, Dena and the girls on this Veterans Day for what your family has done for our country. You all deserve the biggest hugs any of us could give. Hopefully a hug coming from the President helps you to know how much we all appreciate your sacrifices.

Dena, thanks so much for the continued updates on your blog. We are praying for Rob and look forward to his recovery.

With our sincere appreciation and prayers,
Scott and Sharon Howells

Julie. Soldiers Angels said...

Heartfelt thanks to Rob for his service and of course for you and your family too Dena. Bless you all for what you've given to this country and the world.

Im so glad President Bush was there to award Rob's purple heart and at the same time, sad it had to be done in the first place. President Bush is a caring man no matter how the main stream media has painted him and I believe with all my heart he will meet Rob in the future to thank him personally for his service.

Little by little he is making progress fact those are really big steps happening even though they may not seem so. I'm encouraged by what the Dr. has said and the progress being made. Continued prayers for Rob, and all of you. Big angel hugs too!

julie morelli
Soldiers' Angels

Aunt Nancy said...

Good Morning Dena and Rob...I read this on email this morning and thought I would PASS THIS ON...Make you SMILE...and, so, VERY FITTING for this VETRANS DAY!

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had
Completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan .

One of the courses had a professor who was an a vowed atheist and a member
of the ACLU. One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, 'God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 min.' The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, 'Here I am God. I'm still waiting.'

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the
platform. The professor was out cold. The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably
shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, 'What the heck is the matter with you? Why did you do that?' The Marine calmly replied, 'God was too busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So, He sent me.'

God bless Rob, His Troops and everyone of you that ARE serving and that HAVE served in the United States Armed Forces!

xoxoxo Aunt Nancy

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading this part of Rob's and Dena's story and I wept. I was forwarded this web site this morning from a Donna Walker in El Paso. She ask me to pray for Rob and his family. I know our God can do anything and my prayer is that Rob's recovery will be miraculous and somehow bring Glory to God by way of bringing joy and healing to Rob and Dena.
It is a priviledge for me to offer my prayers to our God who is a Good God and my thanks to Rob and Dena for Rob's service to our country on this Veterans Day.

Veteran and a soldier in the Lord's Army now....

Capt Steve Roach USAF

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you and your family!


Anonymous said...

As I hung my flag out this morning, I am so Thankful to Rob & to ALL of the Men & Women who risk their lives for us each day! You have been in our prayers every since Lori told us about Rob's accident. God Bless You!

*The Hanson's

Aunt Jeanne' said...

What a proud moment, for you and your mom, Rob's whole family. Today, Veteran's day takes on a whole new meaning. We are all so proud of Rob's service for us and our country. We are so proud of you for standing tall, and staying strong! You have both made the ultimate sacrifice, for us! We are humbled. Thank you and we will continue to pray for all of you. Love you. Aunt Jeanne' and Uncle Doug.

Faith Jordan said...

There are no words to say what it means to us, Rob, what you and so many veterans have given.

Hero is a word so lightly used. You truly are a hero. You and Dena and this web site have changed my focus.
Thank you
Donna Mentink

Kris McWilliams said...

Dena, from someone who know how bittersweet this award can feel I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you. We pray for his recovery and for God to keep you strong! God Bless!

Anonymous said...

You are in our thoughts and prayers in Scottsdale,AZ.

Anonymous said...

Rob, Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for fighting for our country. You are a hero. Congrats on the purple heart. Keep fighting the fight for recovery. Dena take care of yourself and give Barb a HUG for me. Your family is in our prayers. Sending our LOVE,
Ben, Holly, Joce, and Kelsy Hopkins
(I'm Tony Hernblooms sister from Shelby)

Amy Frelly said...

Wow, I'm speechless with tears streaming down my face! And I'm at work!!
I have to believe Rob felt all your presences' as he received this most special award.
I have friend whose father was awarded the Purple Heart in WWII. Whenever she or her sisters were sick or hurt he gave them the medal to wear and "make them brave". She's said many times it had an untold impact on her life and her pride for her father.
Someday Rob will do the same for his precious girls and they will feel the same pride and love for him. Please squeeze Rob's hand today and tell him a grateful nation thanks him for his great sacrafice.
Amy (Eric W. sister)

jtowers said...

The church family at LifeWay Fellowship prayed for Rob, you and the girls on Sunday. We will continue to do so.
Pastor Jimmy Towers

Bonnie Lacy said...

Dena and Rob,
I thank you for your sacrifice.
And I thank each post/person. For as I read each one, I find myself saying Amen! and agreeing in prayer with them! There is powerful stuff said here!

God keep you all. God keep our country!


Ben & Amy said...

Congrats to Rob!! And happy Veteran's Day as well! Dena you look wonderful even with all you're going through. Either you had on some massive heels or Pres. Bush isn't as tall as I pictured!

Anonymous said...

How important it is to recognize and celebrate our heroes on Veteran's Day.
You are that hero. Your sacrifice for your country is tremendous. No one feels that sacrifice more than your dear Mother.
As I view the pictures, I am struck by the utter agony and pain that I see in Her eyes.
Let us not forget that a Mother's pain and suffering is just as great and heart-wrenching as any other. So when the tears are shed and the prayers offered-include not only a Special Son and his wife, but also a courageous,faithful,compassionate and Beloved Mother.

Annaka and Aaron said...

Happy Veteran's Day! I wanted to say thank-you for the HERO that Rob is for all of us. And Dena, I thank you because behind every great man is a GREAT WOMAN! We have been praying like crazy and will continue to do so! Love ya, Annaka, Aaron, Aizlynn and Amarae
Ps. You look great in the pics!!!

carriewannabepa said...

Rob, I am thinking of you on this Veteran's Day...

Christy Soutter said...

I had to look twice at the picture when I first saw it. Then I had to sit and cry for a minute. I can't think of a more appropriate way to honor Rob. I'm forwarding a copy to Stacy as well. We are so proud of your courage and perserverance through all of this!

Jenny Brown said...

Hi Dena,
This is Jenny Lux back from Nebraska.. its been awhile.
My grandma told me about your husband at my nieces baptism last week. Then today your family was featured on the news.. so I decided to google.
I just wanted to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Jenny Lux Brown

Michelle (Beran) Bailey said...

I was doing another random search on the internet to find Chris and Rob since I lost touch with them years ago. I wish I wouldn't have found them this way. My prayers are definitely with your family.

Michelle Beran

Husker Nation said...

God bless Rob. Got a link to come here and remind myself it is men and women like Rob who pay the price for this great country to be free.

All of us in Nebraska will be praying for his speedy recovery and for his family and friends to find some peace in what must be a most trying time.

God Bless you Rob!

David Black said...

I am listening to KFAB (1110 am) in Omaha right now and on the Tom Bekka show is a salute to veterans.

He just mentioned Rob and asked the audience to be praying; he gave information on two different places to donate to Rob; and vets have called in to give support to Rob.

A very respectful conversation and he is talking how conflicted he is in calling Dena to discuss this because media can come across insensitive and asking dumb questions.

David Black
Papillion, NE

Anonymous said...

This seems the perfect place to be on this Veterans Day. We're so grateful for the service of all our veterans and families and pray for all of you. Special prayers for Rob and Family. God Bless!

Mrs. Tee said...

Dena! Mrs. Erhart shared your blog address with me and the Schott girls give me daily updates.

You are in my thoughts and prayers. We are about to start speech season, and yet that seems so trivial to what you are going through now. Simpler times, eh?

Rest in the Lord as we continue to hold you up in prayer. God is good.

Love ya,

Jackie Fjell said...

Dena & Rob-This whole situation continues to amaze and humble me. I see the affirmations of faith and love of country from all over the world--you have touched so many lives! This is only the beginning of God's perfect plan and love for you!
I attended the Veteran's Day Program with my Dad today, as I have for many years. It serves to remind us once again of the supreme sacrifices our service men & women have made through the years, and I am ever thankful for the freedoms they have afforded us! As I looked around at many elderly faces today, I couldn't help but think of how many endured similar trials that you are going through, and probably didn't have quite the support group you've enmassed! Nearly 20,000 hits to your blog--mind boggeling!!
Your pictures with President Bush and the ceremony yesterday are so touching--I can't tell you how proud we all are of you both! Keep the faith and know that we are all in your corner in this fight! God will provide! Love & prayers..Jackie & Joe

nate schott said...

Happy Veterans Day Rob, and all fellow Vets. I salute you all and thank you for your service.
Tator (Rob's cousin Nate)

Alayna Sullivan said...

Happy Veterans Day Rob.
Dena, you look great. How proud you must be of you courageous husband. Still praying for the good news to just keep on coming. Love ya, Alayna

Anonymous said...

Dena,Today I heard the the most amazing thing...National Anthem being sung by 5 little girls and couldn't help but shed tears and think of you both. Wanted to share it with you (you may have already heard them). Cactus cuties... you can listen to them on youtube.  Rob is an ispiration to all, and we are honered for all that he has done. Everyone is continuously praying for his recovery.  Take care.  Jim, Kari, allie, & Jackson Baumert

Sandy and Josh Magura said...

I am a friend of Nancy and Ryan Kules. I had gotten an email about Rob's injury from Nancy and have been reading up on his progress. I thought today would be an appropriate time to post a comment. Happy Veterans Day Rob! You have served your country proud. You are in our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery.
Sincerely, Sandy and Josh Magura

Bob said...

We are so grateful and feel so humbled by your service (both Rob and Dena and the whole family). May God bless you as much as you've blessed us.

Anonymous said...


We are praying for Rob. I first met Rob as one of his intstuctors at military instructors at UNL. He was strong then and he is strong now.

Mike Crouse
US Army Retired

Sara said...

This is Sara Goomis from nursing school and I saw Rob's article in the Omaha World Herald. I have been praying for Rob and your family. Thank you to Rob and your family for all the sacrifice you (as a family)have made for our country. I will continue to pray for your family and will keep updated on Rob's progress through your blog.

Felicia Jenkins Birney said...

Thank you for your service to and sacrifice for our country, Rob! I am honored to have known you even if it was when you were really little. So glad the President took the time to honor you with the Purple Heart.

Katy said...

Dena - I'm so thankful we have people like Rob out there that are brave enough to do what he does. It takes a lot of strength... the strength that will also help him in this long road of recovery.

It's actually quite a small world, because I think it's my brother that the President told you about that ran with him on the White House lawn... the details match up exactly. And my brother's also really good friends with Ryan and Nancy.

I know it's hard and exhausting, but every little thing counts. He's incredibly lucky to have you there right by his side.

You and Rob are in our thoughts.

Katy Davenport