Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

As it does for many of you, Veteran's Day takes on a different tune for me this year. Living the military life and being around military families constantly, it's easy to forget the danger and sacrifice the military endure. We live our lives day in and day out and chalk it up as "This is my husband's job." What you don't take into account (and maybe this is a coping mechanism) is that when they are on foreign soil, there are people out there who hate America and what we stand for. It's not until something like this affects our family directly do you truly realize how amazing and selfless our military men and women are. Rob would often tell me, "This is just my job. I chose to do this." This is true. He felt very strong about his reasons for being deployed. But, if it weren't for Rob and all those other men and women, I would not be able to so freely write about our experiences on this blog site. So, THANK YOU to all those serving and who have served. It makes me so proud. Now, on to updates about Rob. Early this morning they took him off his sedation medicine. They called it a "sedation vacation" (clever, huh?). He was still pretty knocked out most of the day. I tried so hard to get him to wake up. At one point I told him "Rob, you may be stubborn, but I can be more stubborn than you and I WILL wake you up." So, we'll see who wins this battle!!!! When they were cleaning him up, the nurse told me that he did open his eyes for a few seconds for her. As always, his body is really slow with metabolizing out the meds so it's going to take him a little longer to get the sedation medicine out. It's so frustrating because by tomorrow he'll probably be a little more alert and then he goes off to surgery again. His surgery tomorrow consists of washing out the wounds and replacing his current feeding tube with a different kind that also has a NG suction attached. This way he can get rid of the NG tube that's currently in his nose. YEAH! Also today they took out the other chest tube so he's getting closer to fewer and fewer tubes attached to him. The doctor I spoke with today said that his creatine level is high. A lot of this has to do with all that muscle breakdown going through his kidneys. She did say he is in "acute kidney failure." However, he does not meet the criteria for dialysis because his body is getting rid of fluid appropriately, it's just slow at doing it. So that's good news. His urine output is also at a decent level. After all his body has gone through I think he's doing pretty darn good. The doctor agreed! He also may have some pneumonia. It looked like the secretions they got out of his trach suction were pretty thick so they are doing tests for that. He has been on antibiotics so hopefully if he does have it, it's not too severe and they can get it cleared up quickly. It's pretty hard to avoid this with him being bedridden and getting so much fluid. But, pneumonia is the last thing he needs on top of everything else. They also found what they call the "war bug" in some of his sputum and leg wounds which they are also treating with antibiotics. It's just going to take a lot of time and tweaking to get his body running efficiently and back to it's old self. I'm going to go back to the hospital tonight to see him. Hopefully he'll be a little more responsive. I mean, seriously, he'd never let me sleep in on the weekends, so I'm not going to let him continue to sleep away.......Keep the prayers coming!!!!!!!!


Paige Tyler said...

Ha ha Dena...you are funny! Great attitude, really! And I have to say that I thought a bit more about Veteran's Day today myself. Love your thoughts on it.
Hang in there honey and wake your man up soon! Tell Barb and Bev that I said I and I continue to pray for you all.

Maggie45 said...

Prayers continuing....

Carol said...

Hi Dena, I also felt different this year too. You and Rob has been in my prayers sense day one. Tell your mom hi from Carol and I think of her alot too. Love Carol

The Bender's said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful and appreciative words to all of our military. Again you astound us with your love and strength throughout this difficult time. Rob will be so proud of you!We go to bed here in Ohio tonight, knowing we are safe because of soldiers like Rob and their families. And will be thinking of you as you head over to be with your soldier tonight and praying for healing upon him.

Karen and Craig

anayllescas said...

We proudly had Rob's flag out today-the one he gave Chris from his 1st tour in Iraq. We are so proud of him and it is soo hard on us all that is happening to him.
We love him and will keep praying for his recovery.
This really was NOT a happy Veteran's day, but it was definetly a reminder of how brave all the soldiers are and all we have thanks to THEM!!!!
Thanks so much for the update Dena.
ana yllescas

Nate Schott said...

Dena I am very grateful for your continued posts. Rob is one strong and stubborn person. I was telling my wife the other night about the time I did a "Joint Logistics Training" at Fort Hunter Ligett (I don't know if that is how its spelled). Anyway, someone I believe another Navy Petty Officer asked the one of the Army PFC's why the flag faced the direction it did on his uniform. He quickly fired back with a great amount of pride in his eyes, "It is because we are always charging forward, never retreating, never giving up." This is something that Rob truely exemplifies, always fighting, never giving up, always moving forward.
Tator (Rob's cousin Nate)

Philip Davis said...

I used to live in Osceola and am so sorry to hear about this terable thing. My thought and prayers are with you and your entire family in this tough time.

Anonymous said...

Dena -

When you talk to Rob next, please let him know how GRATEFUL this Army mom from Georgia is to him for his service. I am grateful to you, too, for the sacrifices you make so that he could be there, defending freedom, and at a high cost.

As long as I live, I'll never ever forget what he has endured for our freedom. Thank you is just not enough, but I do thank you and Rob so much.

Prayers continuing for him. I hope your love will wake up and look you in the eyes very soon. Until then, hang in there.

Carol Dzurenko

Karen said...

Happy Veteran's Day, Rob! We've been thinking of you a lot today, and are so grateful for the sacrifice of soldiers such as yourself.

Keep on fighting. You've got an excellent Battle Buddy in Dena.

Karen M

Anonymous said...

God Bless the USA military, every one. They give so much for their country. Our prayers continue for Rob and your family.
Donna In Omaha

brittneyjackson said...

Hey Dena, you wake that boy up!!! I know you'll do whatever it takes and I know you won't give up. I love you and am thinking of you always!! Give Rob a squeeze on the hand for me. I miss you!
Love you,

Heather Bothern said...

Hi Dena! I just heard about Rob when I was reading the JournalStar online tonight. We met you and Rob back in our college days...Big Red Battalion family! We think about everyone often. Both you and Rob have always been strong and determined. Hang in there, you have so many thoughts and prayers on your side.

Heather (&Derek) Bothern
Fort Bragg, NC

Doug Winfield said...

Rob and Dena,

I'm lost for just what to say. I feel so badly for the terrible suffering you both are experiencing. The Lord knows. He is in your presence. Lean on Him. He loves you no matter how it seems now. God has a plan for you. We suffer in our hearts for our brother Rob now, but one day we will rejoice with you.

I salute you Rob and Dena on this Veteran's Day and all the days to come. I love you both and I pray for you both frequently.

Uncle Doug Winfield

debey said...

Prayers, from me, for all of you.....

JoAnne Bartek said...

Dena & Rob: This Veteran's Day we are so very proud of you Rob for your service to our country. Dena, you continue to be a blessing to Rob and to all of us who anxiously await your daily posts updating us on Rob's progress. The prayers continue.

Aunt Jo, Uncle Steve, Brooke & Ashley

Wendell said...

Dena, it was wonderful talking to you and your Mom togight...I needed that, thank you!! I will be waiting for the update with you trying to get Rob to wake up! You know us Husbands, nagging usually works so keep on him! We love and miss you and are continuously praying for all of you.
Uncle Wendell

LT Adrian, Sierra, Draven and Savannah Donnahoe said...

From one Vet to another, Happy Veteran's Day! You and you're family is in our thoughts and prayers and will forever be!

LT Adrian, Sierra, Draven and Savannah Donnahoe

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great attitude Dena. You all are in our daily thoughts and prayers. Give your mom a big hug from us and we look forward to hearing from you soon. We love you guys.
Uncle Wes and Aunt Jean

Love from MN said...

Thank you for your service and to all the military past and present. This debt of graditude can never be repaid....we are thankful and humbled by everything you do.

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers every moment of every day. I am so very proud of you Rob. More than anything I want to you to return as the Rob we know and join your girls and Dena.

Dena, thank you for keeping this blog on Rob's status for all of us. We have you and Barb, Otto, Bev, along w/ Julia and Eva in our prayers.

Take care and may God be with you all
Love Aunt Julie(Schott)Davidson

Shana said...

Dear Dena and Rob,

I don't know you, but I do know Melinn Klein-we go to school together in Omaha. Please know that your strength and endurance is amazing, and that the people of America will never be able to repay you for your sacrifice for us.

God Bless you, as you are a special family that will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Shana Lach

Anonymous said...

Your words are beautiful Dena. My dad heard your interview on KFAB and said it was a very nice interview. You are so positive, that positive attitude is so important to Rob in the healing process. You are an inspiration. We are praying for you everyday.
Jeremy and Shannon Bryant

Anonymous said...

I will keep the prayers headed your way!!!

Joyce Winfield said...

Rob and Dena,

Today especially on Veteran's Day, I'm so proud of you Rob and thankful for all you have sacrificed for our country. And Dena you never cease to amaze you. I'm so proud of your character, strength and love of the Lord. Aunt Jo just told me tonight that you should be a writer, and as your journalist aunt I totally agreed! You have captivated so many with your heartfelt and eloquent delivery of the written word. So many of your readers have admitted to checking your blog the first thing in the morning, the last thing at night and various times in between. Thank you for keeping everyone who cares for and is concerned about Rob up-to-date on his progress. (My business had a Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce event this morning and I had a red, white and blue theme in honor of our military. The mayor of Fremont spoke generally about honoring our active duty servicemen and women and veterans. Then he spoke specifically about Rob and his great sacrifice. More tears.)

Much love,
Aunt Joyce

Ashley and Joe Grady said...

Happy Veteran's Day!!

Erin said...

My name is Ryan Webber and I am Melinda Van Tassell's older brother. Just wanted to say thanks to your family for your tremendous sacrifice on behalf of our country. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the service you and so many others have rendered. We know it is not in vain! May God bless your family now and always.

Anonymous said...

Our prayers continue on this
Veteran's Day and every day until
you are well and healthy.
We read the articles in the World
Herald. We are so honored to know
you and know others see what a
true hero you are.
God bless you.
From friends in Omaha

Dena, hang in there, Rob needs
your strength now, more than ever!

The Sattler's said...


You don't know me but I work very closely with Layne at NDCS. I wanted you to know that you, Rob, and your family continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.....as well as those of many others Layne works with.

Wishing you continued strength,
Trishia and Tim Sattler

Anonymous said...


You continue to amaze me with your awesome positive attitude. I pray that Rob is responsive tonight when you visit.

Julie McGahey

pam h. said...

Dena, Veteran's Day does take on a new meaning today. This whole thing is totally surreal. You here so much about this war everyday, and it's easy to put it in the back of your mind, till something like this actually happens to someone you know. We get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget about the real "important" things in life. I so easily get mad at the kids or fight with Ryan. I think of you and Rob now and what you have to go through and it makes me realize that all the little stuff that I think is so major, is nothing. No matter how bad one thinks things are for them, there's always someone who has it worse. Hopefully everyone who reads your blog will take something from it. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff, and your whole life can change in an instant. You are an amazingly strong person, so many people are so proud of you. Keep the Faith, and we will continue to pray. Love, Pam

Cassie said...

Veterans Day has a whole new meaning for many who know Rob this year. How easy it is to forget the price paid daily so that we can have our freedom. Thank you for your love and commitment to Rob and to our country as you serve through being his wife and support as he gets through this time. I keep praying each day that he will wake up and you can see that smile! Prayers continue to be prayed here in TN for you and your entire family!

Cassie & family in Tennessee

Hanson's Family Journey said...

Every inch of my body is praying for you and Rob! Continue to be strong...you're all SO BRAVE. God is watching and listening~
Marisa & Mark Hanson
(cousin of Eric and Cris Knapp)

Anonymous said...


You may not know us (we got to Riley about half-way through the the OIF 3 deployment and I went to B Co.) but Sharon and I have been praying faithfully since we received word a couple of weeks ago and we have folks from several churches joining us in prayer. Hang in there.

Matt and Sharon Perdue

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for keeping us all informed about Rob's progress. I, too, find myself checking it first thing in the morning and before I go to bed. If you are half as stubborn as your mother is, you will have Rob awake very soon.........you can tell her I said that! Rob, we owe you and so many others a debt of gratitude for all you have done. You continue to be in our prayers.

Sue Porter

Anonymous said...

Dena as a Military Wife, I just want to say I am SOOO proud of you. Rob is doing his job by fighting to live and you are being such a warrior staying by his side. I have never been so proud of being a soldiers wife, and of our husbands.....I pray for you both everyday...of and on all day...along with praying for all of our troops.......until they all come home......and Rob gets home to your girls!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dena, you are so amazing! It's been awhile since I saw you 9mths pregnant at the ball. All this support and prayers are truly touching. I am praying for Rob, you and your whole family.
Love and prayers,
Christine Juranek

Justin said...

Dena - Thanks for the updates on Rob's progress. He, like the many other veterans who have and continue to serve, are greatly appreciated. The sacrifices of military and service families worldwide are honored today, and your family deserves a sharp salute.

Marianna said...

From one vet to another ~ I give many thanks for men like your husband... Happy Veterans Day!

I hope he doesn't have pneuomonia... And I hope he regains consciousness soon!


Jaime Pachta said...

Hi Dena,
Today Veteran's day really hits home for all of us. Like so many people, I have tended to put the war in the back of my mind. It wasn't that I didn't care, it was just that life gets so busy and we know the soldiers are just "doing their job." Now I, as many people, am so humbled and grateful for Rob and all of the other men and women who serve our country. The sacrifices they make day in and day out are HUGE. Also, I am amazed at the sacrifices the spouses (you) and the children (Julia and Eva) make without their loved ones beside them while they are away at war. Just know that from now on I will never take another Veteran's Day for granted. Thanks Rob, you truly are an AMERICAN HERO. Sending our thoughts and prayers to you all...Dan, Jaime, Ashley, Nicolas, and Mitchell

Maria Hooker said...

Dena -I just wanted to say that I think you are amazing. We will continue to lift your family up in prayer. Stay encouraged!


Greg Janney said...

Dear CPT Yllescas and Mrs. Yllescas:

Our firm support, thoughts, and heart-felt prayers are with you and your family during this trying time.

Having been in Iraq for 2 independent photojournalism essay assignments, I have a little background knowledge about the logistics/dangers your husband bravely faced without complaint during his service to our country while deployed.

I'm only a self-employed photographer with a motivated commitment to our troops. However, if I may assist you, your husband, and family in any way through my photography or journalism, THEN PLEASE email or call!

Mitch and Vicki Coffin said...

Rob, we are in awe of how far reaching and connected your military family is. To all of you who have served and are serving, thank you for your service and sacrifices. Dena, thanks for taking the time to update all of us on Rob's status. I agree with your Aunts Joanne and Joyce about your writing talents. Journaling is so good for the soul - we are touched you open your heart to all of us. We continue to pray for progress. God will not forsake you.
Hugs and prayers,
Mitch and Vicki :-)

kaine said...

Let Rob know that his men are ok and doing fine. He's in our thoughts everyday. He developed some very strong relatonships with the locals here and they miss his friendship and strong leadership as well.
Email me anytime if you need anything. I'll give you a call when I come home on leave.
Take care and best wishes,

Liz said...

Wow shouldn't we be the ones trying to put a smile on your face?! What an amazing fighter and supporter you are! Thought of you all a lot yesterday. Updated Joe when he called as well. He said to tell Rob to "Keep on fighting, man". Hope the surgery goes well and he wakes up a bit for you.
We are all too familiar with feeding tubes (I know this is porbbaly the least of your worries) but it is the only medical knowledge I know a lot about so if you have any questions just email me. I'd be glad to help any way I can. Hugs and prayers!

MAJ Znamenacek said...


As a fellow Husker in the DC area, our thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time.

Please contact me at scott.znamenacek@conus.army.mil or my office phone at 703.325.8635.

MAJ Scott 'Z' Znamenacek
UN-L/Army ROTC Class of '92

MK Warrior, CWW said...

Dena and Rob,
I feel like I know you both as Nancy has spoken of you since your days at Riley and first deployment. Dena, from one Army wife to another you are an inspiration! Rob, thank you for being the great American that you are.
With love, prayers of healing, and gratefulness for families of our great military such as yours...
Celinda Wilson and SFC Shon Wilson

Sheila at MCH said...

Dena, Thanks for the updates on Rob. We here at MCH continue to remember you and your family in our prayers. Stay strong in the Lord. Sheila Bjerrum

Paul said...

We are truly grateful for veterans like Roob and all those he serves with, and not just on Veteran's Day, but every day. We continue our prayers for Rob and every day wait to hear signs of improvement. Keep your strength and hopes up, you are both going to make it through this.

sassyntxus said...

Good Morning Dena. I got your link off of Hunter's site. I would like to add Rob's name to my list for prayers. THANK YOU Rob and Dena for your sacrafices. May the Lord watch over you and give you complete healing. Angel Hugs from East Texas.

Anonymous said...

Good morning from Osceola. My day can't begin or end until I have checked on you. My prayers are not only for Rob, but for you as well. You are displaying enough physical strength for both of you. Ephesians 3:15-21 says,
"from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever." Amen

Greetings and blessings to your mom and all other family members who are there with you.

Jane & Charles Roberts

TS said...

Thank you for all that you have done for this country and our citizens. We are very grateful to you and all of the other veterans who have defended our right to freedom. Get well soon.

Bob & Judy Moyer
Stromsburg, NE
Sun City West, AZ

Leslie said...

Hi Dena, I heard about you and Rob from Kitty in Louisiana, an online friend of mine. You and your family are in my prayers. Please know that your family's sacrifices are appreciated.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/12/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

donna walker said...


I love your attitude. You definetly have a way of making something light hearted. Thank you for the wonderful words about the military. You are right we do take for granted and think that this is just their job until it hits home. We are soooo proud of you and Rob. Rob will open his eyes soon and I am so glad you are being persistent. Thank you for taking time to keep us informed. We are definetly praying for Rob!

Donna W.

Kathy said...

Like you, we too felt very different about Veteran's Day this year, even with my dad being a Vet.
We're praying for Rob to wake up when his body is ready.
Give hugs to Barb.
It was bittersweet seeing all of you with President Bush. It's been a long time since I've seen Otto (still looks like he did 20 years ago--except the hair) so hug him too.
Thanks for keeping us all informed of Rob's progress.
Kathy Jo and Dean Heine

Todd M said...

Hi from out here to out there!The Middagh Family wanted you all to know that we are praying for all of you especially Rob and lighting a lot of candles. I am so thankful that you were on TV last night since Barb was suppose to call me and tell how to get on the blog and I am still waiting to for that phone call(lol). I was so devestated to hear from Barb what had happen to Rob. It was actually kind of ironic when I called her to tell her that I missed my traveling buddy and I was standing in the middle of Chicago when she told me the news about Rob. I immediately hung up from Barb and called my parents to tell them of the news. My mother was very emotional about the situation since he is one of theirs and she nevers likes to hear news like this about one of their own. However, she did channel her emotions into a positive manner and has started to pray for Rob every morning and every night before she goes to bed. She has also called all of her old Navy wives and they have started a prayer chain for Rob. I think she has most of the southern states covered and they are praying for Rob. As for me there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about Rob and wonder how he is doing and if he improving. I try to call Barb when I am able and I think that she is able to talk. I am going to give you a little piece of advise that i gave your mother and that is that you need to make that stubborn husband to take the therapy that they offer to him to help him through this time and the time after he leaves the hospital. I also recommend that you and the rest of the family take the therapy that they offer to you to help you through these times (just my professional opinion). I also want you to know that I am here for you and the rest of the family. I can be a ear to listen to or vent to when you need to let your emotions out (I think I have the listening part down and that I do a good job with it....lol), I am here for a shoulder to cry on, or for a simplek laugh to help you brighten up your day. I will contineu to pray for Rob and keep him in my thoughts each day. I love all of you guys and I know that you will get through this and that you will come through this a stronger and better family for having gone through this situation. Much Love and Support!!
As Ever, Todd

Bob and Margie Johansen said...

Hi kids, just a note to tell you that you are in our prayers everyday. We are so very proud of Rob. Can't wait to see him sitting Bev and Alan's deck, smoking a cigar and telling jokes with Alan and Bob.Alan's doing a great job of keeping Rob's BIG truck nice and clean. Much love to you both and happy thanksgiving.

Tim from Omaha said...

Dena Thankful for your continued great Spirit and Hope. I know you can feel the prayers daily---just know that your entire family IS in our Daily Prayers for continued healing and hope! As a Veteran myself, I salute you all and pray GOD'S Pease finds your heart today and always! GOD BLESS YOU!

Tim from Omaha

anita moyer said...

My name is Anita Moyer and am a friend of the Benders. I just wanted tolet you know that your posts are an inspiration to those who might be going through similar situations. I am a wife of a retired Senior Cheif in the Navy and I wanted you to know that I and several others here in Georgia are praying for Rob and his speady recovery.

Anonymous said...

HI,my adv. bio teacher showed me the information on your husband and told us to visit this site. I have read some of the information on it and i will tell you, my prayers will be for your family. its amazing how you hear about things and you never think that it could happen to you...until it does. I have a few friends that say that they want to serve after high school, and when i read your postes i just pictured that happening to them, and im proud of you being so opptimistic. i wouldnt be able to handle it. Congrats on the purple heart. its a great honor.

if u dont believe in something, it may never happen, so hang on!!!

anita moyer said...

My name is Anita Moyer and found out about Rob through the Benders. I just wanted you to know that as another military wife I understand what you mean by not thinking about the danger. My husband is now retied from service but we still keep all of our troupes in our prayers. Rob is in our prayers and others here in Georgia as well.

Anonymous said...

When your husband wakes up (you probely get this alot) tell him i said thanx for serving our country

sassyntxus said...

Before this year, I am ashamed to say, that Veteran's Day didn't hold the meaning it should have for me.

But now after many weeks of following the status of so many of our wounded and being a part of some local groups like Soldiers Angels and Patriot Guard Riders, it has taken on such a deeper meaning. I have prayed more in these past few months than I have in years. Prayers not for myself, but for the well being of the men and women serving our country.

I now, with pride, have added your husband to that list. That the Lord give him complete healing. May he hold all of your family close in the coming days.

Anonymous said...

I'm still praying for all of you. I know that God will continue to bless you and your family. As a retired military wife, know that my family so deeply appreciates all that our military personnel do for our country. Hang in there, and realize you are surrounded by many people you don't even know who wish you and Rob the best.

Andrea e Isabella said...

i agree paige, great attitude. 10 % what happends and 90% how you act ... god Bless you Dane, i still praying for you

About The Caddo Tribe said...

Thanks so much for the updates. We will pray that Rob continues to make strides in his recovery.

Shani and Mike Ginani
(Kaine's sister and brother-in-law)

Anonymous said...


Proud sister of my Army brother and even prouder mom of my Marine son

Robbie and Cris Nathan said...

We have prayed for you since the start. And we are so very proud that you became the man you are. It just brings back so many memories, the Yllescas "boys" are a favorit part of our family history. God is with you and your family, and He will never leave your side.

Heather said...


I just found your site today. You are an extremely strong woman and I thank you for sharing Rob's amazing story with me. I will do exactly what you have asked - PRAY. Prayer is so powerful and by the grace of God, Rob will continue to get stronger and soon be wrestling with his girls. I look forward to reading more updates. God bless you, Rob, and your girls! Thank you for your sacrafice and for Rob's service to this great Nation.

Heather from Helena, MT

Anonymous said...

We'll keep him in our prayers.
Be sure to thank him for his service.
Mairlyn Jones

CHAP ERK said...

Dena and family,
You do not know me but I would like to share a brief story. A young Soldier's wife stopped by my office here in St. Louis. Her husband is deployed to Afghanistan. I helped her with her questions and let her know to come to me for any problems. I work in Ministry to the Armed Forces of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The young gal's father works here in World Missions Directorate. My boss, Chaplain Mark Schreiber and I travelled to Germany to conduct a weeklong chaplain conference and visited and prayed with wounded warriors at Landstuhl.

Upon returning to St. Louis, I received an email from the young wife I had counseled. She asked that I would keep her husband's commander in prayer as he was injured in an IED incident. What she didn't know and I only realized when I read her email was that the name of the Soldier that Chaplain Schreiber and I spent the most time praying for at his bedside in Landstuhl on 31 October was the same name as her husband's commander...ROBERT YLLESCAS.

We prayed that morning that our Lord would continue to heal Robert and that He would especially watch over his family. Please know, Dena, you are still in our prayers.

For God and Country,

Eric Erkkinen
Chaplain (LTC) USA (Retired)

Amy Spurrier-Kulak said...


We've never met, but I knew Rob in high school in Guatemala. My family and I just wanted to let you know that we are praying! We are praying for Rob's recovery and for your strength. We will be rejoicing with you when we hear the news that he has woken up! He is a great American! We are all so very proud of his service.

In Christ,
Amy Spurrier-Kulak

cary said...

On this Veteran's Day, this family thanks your family for everything you have done.

Prayers are continuing...

Dave Morgan said...

Be strong for your husband and kids. You have the toughest job in the world -- military wife. You are a shining example to others. Rob knows you are with him, even though he isn't awake yet. With your attitude, the long, hard journey will be easier for your soldier. We are thinking of you and yours here in Nebraska.

Dave Morgan, Shelby High School '64
UN-L, '69, Vietnam, '70

Amy said...

I feel blessed and privileged to have Rob and his fellow soldiers fighting for me to be sitting free in my seat safely at home... thank you and i will continue to pray for Rob to wake up and talk George W. into wake boarding with him next summer!!!!

Anonymous said...


I volunteer at your mother-in-laws ESL class on Monday nights. I was horrified to hear about Rob, and so relieved that he is still here with us. The President is right, he WILL wake up, and he will recover. Your husband was a hero even before this happened. Now he is a heroic inspiration, as are you and your family. I have prayed for you all every day, and will continue to. Barb is an amazing woman, and I know she has been a comfort and support to you and you to her. I weep everytime I read this blog, but this country is what it is because it is paid for by men like Rob, and his unit, who fight and bleed so the rest of us can have this life. Be well, and give my love to Barb.

Christine Palermo

Mike from Topeka, KS said...

Dena and Rob:

Thanks for your service and Happy Veterans Day.
Being from the Big Red 1, I imagine you were at Ft Riley, KS at one time.
You probably know Topeka is only 60miles east.
When I was in the Army, I was attached to the 1st Infantry for a while and spent some time at Ft Riley. Out on those hills in the Kansas prairie, you feel so close to God.
I pray that you feel close to Him now. Rob is in God's hands and Jesus is watching over him and will heal him in The Lord's timing.
I'm praying for you both and know of many other in Topeka that are praying also.
Hold Rob's hand and talk to him every chance you get; he is probably aware of more than you realize.
My love and respect for you both and the family that is supporting you through this.

Anonymous said...

Wow Dena, I don't even know you, but am friends with the Martinson's from Georgia. I live in ARKANSAS, but you are more than an inspiration. And not only to thank Rob for his dedication and patriotism for this great nation, but we THANK YOU for all that you do as an Army wife. Prayers are with you every day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Grandson Rob,
We are so glad your mom Barb, your dad Otto, and your siblings Chris, Jenny, and Natalie could be there for you. You were always the closest siblings we ever saw. We are comforted by our memories of all the shared good times we had with your aunts, uncles, and cousins in the large close extended Schott family and the great times we shared with your Guatemalan family. We treasure the boy you were, and the man you have become over the 31 years we have shared with you get well.
We love you,
Grandpa and Grandma Schott

Alyssa Romshek said...

Hey Dena! You guys are still in my prayers all day every day. Keep up the positive attitude! Tell aunt bev i said hi and for her and his parents to hang in there. You guys being there is doing more for rob then you will ever know. Tell Rob thank you for everything he has done to protect our freedom! I Love you all, Alyssa

cjrongish said...

Dena and family,
(We are Sarah and Tony Hernbloom's aunt and uncle.) I just received an email today with the blogsite address. The war took on a face today and I am so sorry for what has happened to Rob and your family. My husband, John Rongish, is a Vietnam veteran and was stationed at Fort Hood. Thank you, Rob and Dena, for the sacrifices that you have made for our country.
Keep your faith in God and know that he won't let you down. Feel his presence and know that he loves you very much. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
John(Shelby,'68)and Cheryl Rongish
Loup City, Nebraska

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Yllescas, My children and I read about your husband in the Lincoln Journal Star on Nov. 12.
We want you to know that we are offering our daily prayers for your husband and your family. We are proud of Rob for serving our country. Thank you and God Bless you and your family.
The Kruse Family