Sunday, December 7, 2008

So Proud

I have to say: It's hard to be sad when you're so proud. Rob arrived in Nebraska around 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Rob was escorted by his Troop XO who happened to be on deployment break (R&R) when Rob passed away. I know that Rob would want Kaine to escort him and am very honored that he was able to do this. When they took the casket off the plane, it was draped in an American Flag and received by the Honor Guard. Once he was placed in the vehicle, we were escorted by a police car and several members of the Patriot Guards on their motorcycles. These guys are so amazing. It is 35 degrees and the wind is blowing like crazy and they still rode on their bikes 75 miles with American Flags waving behind them. As we left the airport, there was a line all the way out of soldiers saluting us. Once we got off the interstate and went through the towns to reach my hometown (Osceola), it was amazing. There were people lined up on the streets holding flags and signs. This was done through all the towns we went through. It's times like this that you know the majority of Americans truly love our country and our soldiers. I can't even describe the feeling I had seeing all this. I've never been prouder to be a military wife or my husband an American Soldier. Today we had his wake. Again, the amount of people who showed up for this was amazing. There were people there I've known all my life and people I had never met before. Rob had touched so many people. The walls were lined with flowers, plants, angels. It is so comforting knowing how many people care about us and will be there for the girls and I in the months and years to come. Tomorrow is going to be tough. But, Rob died doing what he loved and what he believed in and I am so proud of him. My aunt said it perfectly: There are some people who live to be 80 but never really live. Rob lived to be 31 and lived life to the fullest. And, boy, did he live. Thank you all SO MUCH for the beautiful bouquets, plants, cards, donations, words, food and everything else you've done for us. I am at a loss of words to describe how much this means to me. God bless you all.


Karen said...

I am choked up reading your eloquent account of what must have been one of the hardest days of your life. Thank you for sharing. For those of us who could not come to Nebraska to honor Rob, it means so much to be able to read about this.
Yes, many, many people love and support you. Your family has touched many hearts. Rob's sacrifice will never be forgotten.
I pray that you feel God's loving arms around you tonight, and especially tomorrow. We love you, Dena.
The Marshalls

Anonymous said...

Our hero Rob deserves all
the honors and so much more...
we know he has them in heaven.
We will always keep him in
our hearts and prayers.
You stand proud and keep
your head held high, you are
an amazing wife, mother and
citizen we are so proud of too.
In sympathy and love,

BetteJo said...

I've seen the motorcades, the Patriot Guards on their bikes, the people lining the streets with their flags. I've seen it on TV but I never knew how the family IN the motorcade felt about all of it.

I am glad it makes a difference and expresses the gratitude and sympathy the the average American feels when a soldier falls.

I can not be there but yours and Rob's story has touched me so. God bless you and your family as you send your husband on his final journey.

Sarah said...

Wow Dena. You never cease to amaze me (and that's a good thing!) The strength you had throughout this entire trying months is indescribable. I know how hard this will be for you to overcome during the next several days, months, and perhaps years, but always keep in mind that God is always in control, and He is looking out for you and your darling girls. Please continue to update us all on your blog as oft as you can, yet we all understand how busy things will get in the future.

Keep your eyes on Christ and never take them off.

"Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose"

"Ephesians 6:10b - Be Strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might"

"Joshua 1:9b - Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

May God bless and keep you. If I can ever do anything for you, please do not hesitate to email.


The Bender's said...

You and your families have made it so easy to love you and support you with your love and support of your soldier. Thousands have been praying for your family and will continue to do so.
As I sit here typing now just down the road from you, I want you to know that in the midst of all of this I knew I wanted to check your blog. You had said at one point in your very chaotic and emotional day that you really needed to get on the blog and update it, that you wanted people to know how proud you are and thankful you are amazing. And no wonder...your parents, your town are amazing. It warms my heart to know that there is still so much good in this World. The way your town has opened their hearts and homes to us strangers, and the outpouring of support at the wake --well, it is just amazing and makes you stop and realize just how good humankind can still be.

And now seeing you with your family, friends - well we all know Rob is smiling at the warm love and support that is surrounding his family now and in the years to come.

Tomorrow will be emotional, but a beautiful representation of our Hero. Your friends (here and far), your family, your town, and your country all will be with you tomorrow and always.

God Bless You and Your family... and God Bless Osceola!

We love you,
Karen and Craig

Maggie45 said...

You are the embodiment of Faith and Grace in action. I will hold you and your girls, and Rob's family, and his Soldiers and their families, in my prayers forever.

I will be standing in spirit tomorrow with my brothers and sisters of the Patriot Guard Riders while they honor our fallen Warrior, and protect his family. Actually I know that they feel that they are honored to be able to do this for you.

May God keep you in the palm of His hand and grant you comfort.

Maggie Goff
Bisbee, Az

Jaime Pachta said...

I am so glad to know that Rob got the "hero's welcome" that he so deserves. Rob has made us all proud. I must say, YOU have made us all proud as well. I am continually amazed at the strength you have shown through all of this. Julia and Eva will thrive because of your strength. Lean on the help of others to get you through the toughest of times. You don't have to be strong ALL of the time. I bet Rob is smiling down right now and feeling so proud of you. We are always thinking of you and still praying for you. We will see you tomorrow. Get some much needed sleep tonight. Love, Dan, Jaime, Ashley, Nicolas, & Mitchell

Miss Em said...


Karen took most of my thoughts so I will only say the most simple and yet the most meaningful ...

Thank you for Sharing the last few weeks of a Soldier's last fight. Thank your for having the Courage to share your joy and fear for each of Rob's ups and downs.
Thank you for Sharing Rob's last few moments with his eldest.
Thank you Dena for being a wonderful loving and caring wife to a strong and determined Warrior who want to say good-bye to all of those he could who loved him the MOST and the BEST.

Creator's Blessings to you, the girls and the rest of the families.

Miss Em
Austell Ga.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing during these difficult times. Rob touched so many and I know that he will be missed by all of us. The sacrifice your family has made for us will not be forgotten. God Bless and keep your family during tonight, tomorrow, and in the days ahead.

The Turners

Nancy Christian said...

It is an honor to be in the ranks of military spouses that you are in. You set the bar high for us and have become such an inspiration to thousands. Please know that you all will be in my thoughts and prayers for ever.

Long-time RN said...


You and the families remain in our thoughts and prayers. How gracious and thoughtful of you to post for all of us who could not attend Rob's services. I could only repeat what other responders have already expressed so well, so I'll just add that I hope and pray you feel God's strength and love today and in the times ahead. You're an incredible person.

kkazor said...

I am so proud of the hero's welcome Rob and You received! I wish I could have been there to see it! You set such an amazing example of faith, grace, and courage for all of us Military spouses to follow. You continually amaze me. My thoughts will be with you today and throughout the days and weeks ahead. It warms my heart to hear of all the wonderful support you have from family, friends, your town, and complete strangers!

Love and Prayers,

Anonymous said...

Rob deserved no less...he shall be remembered by all his family and friends. I have great memories of growing up with Rob...of his dedication to what he loved,of his courage to stand up for what he believed in (although sometimes he was a hard-headed guy), of his love for football, of his loyalty to his brother Chris...words cannot express how truly sorry we are that he is no longer with us, he definitely left too soon. However, your words and wisdom continue to amaze me, and as you say, knowing that he died doing what he loved makes it a little bit easier to accept.
We continue to pray for you and your girls, and the entire Yllescas family, and ask God to continue to be by your side and give you the strength and fortitude you need.
Ewald and family

Bonnie Lacy said...


We are so blessed by your example of faith and beauty.

Thanks for continuing to update to us all, near and far.

God's blessings on you and your little ones.

We love you.

Rich and Bonnie

Brat said...

Dena and Julia and Eva.

Thank inadequate but from my heart.

Continuing the prayers with much love,

Brat (Canada)

Anonymous said...

Today (12-8) you are especially in my prayers and thoughts. I know Rob would be proud of you. Thank you for sharing Rob's return to NE. Please continue to let us know how you are doing.
Betty Palmer from Keya Paha County

Anonymous said...

I think Karen was in my head when she wrote her post because she wrote what I was thinking but much better. Thank you for that Karen. Dena, continue to stand tall and know that there are lots of friends that were unable to attend the funeral that are holding you and the girls in their heart. Reach out to us whenever you might need us today,tomorrow or years down the road. We will be there for you. Hugs Cindy Neff

Randall and Trisha said...

Thank you for sharing. You have been in our minds and we appreciate your update. Having driven through Nebraska we can visualize the small towns (and the cold!)and our experience of the warmth of the people is reflected in your post.
We are grateful to the many people who are able to help you physically, we continue to send you virtual hugs.
Randall & Trisha

About The Caddo Tribe said...

I know my brother was honored to escort Rob. He is going to miss Rob dearly. Kaine tells me how Rob was an awesome commander and a great friend. You have every reason to be extremely proud of your husband.

Shani and Mike Ginani

David Black said...

I can't be in Osceola to honor a soldier and Nebraska hero, but since his passing I have been flying a flag at my home in his honor.

David Black
Papillion, NE

Jodi Lilly said...


My mom had told me the plan to line the streets in 'Burg and it brought me chills. What an awesome way for the community to show their support, appreciation and love to you, Rob and your families. You and your girls are invading my thoughts today - I'm thinking of you and wishing you all the strength to get through this very trying day.

All my Love,
Jodi (Seifert) Lilly

The Morrow Family said...

Dear Yllescas Family - what a moving blog. Tears flowed as I read about how people honored your loved one. Rob was obviously a very loved man by all around him but it is so obvious that he returned that love. Dena, your strength has continued to amaze me and each time I read your blogs I marvel at your faith. Your girls will have a great roll model. God is walking with God now and together they will watch over you and the girls in the days and years ahead. I pray that you will find peace in the days ahead. I know that it will be hard but your faith will carry you through. Marcia Morrow

Tammy said...

Dena, let me see if I can even write this thru the tears. WOW, what a welcome Rob received off the plane and to your home town, for those of us that could'nt attend, thank you so much for describing it to us so that I felt I was there. What an honor to him and your family. Yes, we are very proud of Rob and all the military out there, thank you just does'nt seem enough. Rob's sacrifice will NEVER be forgotten! I hope you can find peace in the coming days, years, I know how proud of Rob your are, but that does'nt make the missing him any eaiser. God bless you all, and thanks for sharing Rob's journey with us all, my prayers and thoughts are still with you all. Hugs from Fort Worth.

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing women, my prayers are with you and your family.

cary said...

What a wonderful piece - giving tribute not only to the man you love, but also to yourself, and all the people who cared so much about him. Believe it or not, your strength comes through in each of your posts, and only cements that he had the best possible partner for his life.

Continued prayers.

Anonymous said...

Dena, I am sending you my deepest condolences, I thought of you about two weeks ago, (I feel like it has been since college when i saw you last, I think it was the days of UNK when I also met Rob --he was Lovely!!! sadly I had not heard anything and I wish I could have been there for you and your family. You, Rob and your family are in my prayers. Much love and hugs Dena. Thank you for sharing with us Rob's Story. -Ivy Sutton

Heather said...

Dena -
I have been thinking about you and your family so much this past week. Your last post was gorgeous and I am so glad you feel the pride you do. Your husband gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep my family safe and I thank God for that every day. I know Rob is up there watching down and appreciating everything that everyone is doing for you and your girls. May the days to come bring you more comfort and ease. Things will never be the same, but Rob will always be with you. Take care!

Heather in Helena, MT

Anonymous said...

To the family,
I did not know Rob Yllescas. I do not know Dena. However, I did know some of the Gissler family when I was a youngster in Osceola. Being now 80, some of the names have faded. I remember that Bert was the eldest. There were four sons and one daughter, all very tall. We used to say that they should have become a basketball team and toured against the Harlem Gloobtrotters. I remember the entire family as being among the nicest people I have eve known. My sympathy to you and the family. Rob and all the others serving are the true heroes.
Herb Ball
Cottage Grove, OR

Anonymous said...

I cannot say enough for the Patriot Guard! I saw them coming down O Street in Lincoln a few years ago to welcome some troops home from Iraq. What a sight!!! And how proud you must be of Rob. It is truly amazing to hear about a man who only wants to serve his country. Guys like Rob make the world a better place!

Thanks, Rob, and God Bless you, Dena.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/08/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Amy Frelly (Eric W. sis) said...

With tears streaming down my face, I want to say thank you for sharing your love and pride for your husband and your country on this most difficult day.
AS this day progresses I hope you feel the prayers from all over the world, holding you and your girls up to the Lord and His ultimate grace.
Amy (Eric W. sis)

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that there are people praying for you and your family today. God Bless all of you!!
SFC Robert and Wendy Moore
Ft. Meade, Maryland

Nate Schott (Rob's cousin) said...

Dena, I also was amazed at the outpoor that came from York, Stromsburg, and Osceola. It was the most amazing sight I have ever seen! It truely made me proud also. I was so proud to see that so many people understand that "Freedom" does not come free. Rob made the ultimate sacrafice and I am forever in his debt. Dena, I am sorry we didn't get a chance to talk at the funeral and all, but you looked extremely busy and I figured I could get in touch with you later. I take a great amount of comfort knowing that you are such a great mother and will take amazing care of those girls. They will always remember Rob because you will always have so many stories to share with them as they grow. Stay in touch and know we are here for you, every step of the way.

Anonymous said...

Rob's life and death have become an inspiration to so many people who never knew him, but so have you. Your composure, your bravery, your love for your husband, children, and God, your admirably unselfish way of thinking, and your wonderful attitude in general have been (for me and no doubt thousands of others) a witness to the good that God can do through a willing soul.
You know better than anyone that this whole thing has been a tragedy, but the people involved have been proof of the power of the faith, hope, and love that make life worth living.
I am eternally grateful to Rob and his fellow patriots for defending our country.
I also thank you for allowing us to share in this life-changing experience with you. We are all better for having read your brave words and for having known of Rob's life of duty, courage, and sacrifice.
Thank you and God bless you and your children. Of course Rob can never be replaced, but we pray and trust that God will fill your hearts and lives with the joy that awaits anyone willing to accept it.

Aunt Nancy said...

I know you have heard me say this many times through out this time....but, I want you to hear my heart and know that you have a GIANT within you and once again you displayed it greatly today. Dena you are an incredible example of faith and the epitome of a soldier’s wife. Rob would be SO PROUD of YOU!
Rob has left a legacy for others and YOU are caring on his legacy and, an INSPIRATION for others to follow...and, I am SO PROUD OF YOU and I LOVE YOU to pieces!
xoxox Aunt Nancy

Andy Boston said...

Dena - Thanks to you and your mother for having me into your home. It was an honor to be able to attend the funeral for a great and dear man.

Andy Boston

Andrew Binkard said...

Hi Dena,

I found your blogspot via Huskerpedia where someone posted about your husband.

I want to say thank you, first off, for the incredible sacrifice you and your family have made. I admire your strength.

Here's to your husband who gave his life so that others may not have to. What a true American.

I wish you and your family the best.


Mitch and Vicki said...

It was a humbling experience and and honor to be in the presence of your family, friends,and Rob's military family today.
Please know our prayers will not stop. We continue to hold you and the girls in our hearts.
God's peace as well to Barb, Chris, Jenny, Natalie, and Otto, and your extended families.
Mitch and Vicki Coffin

andrea e isa said...

Dena and all Yllescas Family, God bless each of you!!.... We still praying for you and your kid´s... With Rob just up there it will be easier, he will take care of you and he will be your angel for the hole life.!! GOD BLESS U!!!!!!!!!!!

Jackie Fjell said...

Dena-once again I am in awe of your faith and strength. The service today was amazing in every sense of the word. It was an honor for me to be there to help so many others honor Rob's service to his country. We are forever in his debt, as well as yours, for your supreme sacrifice. Know that God is holding you up and he's probably getting "direction" from Rob!!! We continue to keep you and your girls in our prayers as you continue your journey without Rob with you on earth. We know he is with you in spirit and always in your heart. God Bless you always. Love and prayers....Jackie and Joe.

Nancy said...

Ryan and I are so proud to have been a part of Robs wake/funeral over the past few days. Your community and family have all been so warm and welcoming- I can see where you get your personality from. Today was hard, but we were comforted by the outpouring of support for you, your family, and Rob. We love you guys...

Anonymous said...

For anyone who was unable to make it to Rob's funeral today please go to and read the beautiful article they wrote. It also shows a slide show from the funeral today. The tears will not stop!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and your family today as you lay Rob to rest. Praying for comfort and peace for you. You and your girls will be in my heart and prayers. I'll never forget about Rob and the sacrifice that he made for our country.

Carol Dzurenko

Anonymous said...


It was a pleasure to meet you today, and your beautiful little girls. You are the model of what a loyal wife, and military spouse is. You and Rob inspire us all. The service was beautiful and truly touching. I never met Rob, but left with a very real sense of the man he incredible man, you are truly blessed. In the coming weeks, be strong, and know how you are loved and supported, by many. Please ask if there is anything you need. You will always be in my prayers.

Christine and Aaron May and family

Anonymous said...

To feel sad for someone, you have to be proud of him!!!. Rob make a lot people sad...

hometown friends said...

Two other newspapers that have beautiful tributes are and

Rob truly is a hero and the tributes and words given today spoke volumes. God bless his soul.

B-Mama said...

Dena, you are incredible. Your angel Rob in heaven is undoubtedly staring down at you, bursting with pride in his own way; marveling at the amazing and strong wife he has. God bless you tomorrow. We will be praying for you and your continued strength.

The Gasperini Family

Anonymous said... photos of rob tribute on monday

Anonymous said...

Dear Dena,

I can not get over the outpouring of support for you and your family, both sides. I was able to make part of the wake Saturday. Our family has been gratefull for the blog to keep updated. We are so proud of Rob for all he has done to defend the USA that he so obviously loved. May God keep and protect you. May Rob sit with God and be happy untill you are reuntied.

Dad and Linda said...

We love you, we are proud of the whole family

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry. You and your entire family are in my prayers.
Ashley Craven (an early classmate of your Dad's, now in Washington state.)

gemmak said...

I felt proud just reading your account of this, so although your feelings must be terribly mixed your own pride in Rob and in yourself must have been immense. You are both heros.

Quinn and Melanie said...

You should be proud you have a lot to be proud of. It has been a sincere pleasure to have gotten to know you and Rob. I have been so impressed with the two of you and your journey together since meeting you both. I thank you for also sharing this journey of Rob's last weeks with myself and all of us. I admire you so.

Quinn said you were strong these last few days at Rob's wake and funeral. I am so sorry I was unable to attend with him, but please know I was there with you in spirit. I send you and the girls a great big hug.

I know there will be tough days ahead but I know through Rob's help you and the girls with get through as amazingly as you have up to this point. God is with you and now Rob is watching over you too. And if you need anything from us, the Eddy's are a phone call away.

All My Love,
Melanie Eddy

ps. My Dad and Rob will be great friends in heaven being both military, lovers of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and of course Husker football. :)

Sarah in DC said...

Dena and family,

I do not know you, but I came across this blog from a friend's Facebook page and since then I've been checking back almost every day to see how Rob and you were doing. You are so strong and I've been praying for Rob to get better every day. When I read that he passed I literally broke down in tears for you and your little girls. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know that Rob will be in your heart forever and ever and will be watching over you and your daughters. You are an inspiration to me and I will continue to pray for you and your family.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all that you have done and will surely continue to do for our country. You have very effectively eliminated every potential complaining moment that I have ever had in the past month and a half. Life is beautiful because my life was protected by a beautiful person belonging to a beautiful family in a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful little town. Thank you for making our lives beautiful again.

Carla Gamblin said...


I was a part of your journey for such a short time, but feel so Humbled and Blessed none the less. I am proud to say I am a member of the PGR here in East Texas. I have had the honor of standing for one of our fallen at the cemetary and once as the plane brought another Texan home on his final trip. I can't even think about it without chocking up.

Until people have the privilage of showing their respect in this way it is so hard to understand how we feel. It gives me and my fellow Americans/PGR Members, a small way of showing families like yours how much we do appreciate what the soldiers do. May I add that ANYONE can be a member, all it requires is "Respect".

So I say now "Rest In Peace CPT Yllescas....Your Watch Is Over"


Donna Scholl said...

Dena - Much love and support from The Scholl's and you have our most sincere sympathy and empathy. Kristin email me regarding your loss and said that Trent and Rob were such great friends as I know he was one of Trent's casketbearers and that you supported Kristen in our loss of Trent. My heart and mind was on you so much... I kept on praying and still do!! And we lost our Michael on 11/14/06 to a roadside bomb in Iraq. So when wrote of how proud you were as people lined up, I can certainly relate. I don't know your pain but I know I share in it. God bless you! Donna

Eric Wesley said...


Rob did what all real men seek to do - HE finished strong. I pray that I would have the courage and capacity to do the same.

As his wife, you also finished strong. Be confident and certain that you have emulated with grace the inadequately written story of military wives.

I believe that Rob on Monday was at his finest hour. In the celebration of his life, he left through his legacy, permanently branded into our hearts and minds, the image of an amazing warrior committed to what is right in spite of the price he, and you as a family, have paid.

There is a famous writing that talks about the signers of the constitution (and their families) entitled "Our Sacred Honor." You and Rob and the girls can count yourselves among those who were part of that original group and the very few who have followed in the narrow path they cut.

God Bless you my dear.

Eric and Cindy Wesley

Greg Lee CPT, AR West Point, NY said...

You may remember me and Cara from OBC at Fort Knox. Rob was a good friend then, despite losing touch later in our careers. I cherish the times when we all hung out, even going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Louisville. Rob made us all laugh all the time and made our field days enjoyable. I'll miss him. Cara and I also have a daughter and another girl due in January. I can only pray for you and them; I'm sure Rob was a great father. I thank you for your service and sacrifice; there is never enough that can be said. I wish I had known earlier, as my mom is in MD and near Bethesda, we could have made your stay more comfortable. Please accept our sincere condolances.
Greg and Cara Lee

Anonymous said...

Tears come as I read about another wonderful young man who loved his country so much and has given the most he could for his country. We know col. Eric Wesley and have always been proud of him. We know that he really cares for his men.

May God be with you to strengthen and keep you and your loved ones during this very difficult time. Rob will never be forgotten.

And may God bless and keep all of our troops.

The Walz Family

Darcien Balog said...

Your family and friends are in our prayers. God is with you.

Chp Steven Balog and family