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Gold Star wife, retired Army chaplain offer help to military families after Afghanistan withdrawal

She’s offering compassion, wanting to listen and talk to those who need it

Gold Star wife and retired Army chaplain offer help to military families after Afghanistan withdrawal.
Gold Star wife and retired Army chaplain offer help to military families after Afghanistan withdrawal.

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the 13 soldiers killed at Kabul’s airport, hit home for Roberta Stewart, a Gold Star wife from Campbell County.

Her husband, Army Sergeant Patrick D. Stewart, was a 17-year veteran. He was killed in 2005 while airborne in Afghanistan.

“[His unit was] going into a hot zone. The five crew members dropped the special forces, and unfortunately, an RPG hooked onto the fuel line, exploding it on its way to base, killing all five crew members,” said Stewart.

Stewart says the latest news is causing division in America, so the widow has a wish.

“I’m hopeful that maybe we can bring everybody together, if not for our soldiers, then for who? For our veterans and our Gold Star families,” said Stewart.

She’s offering compassion, wanting to listen and talk to those who need it.

Retired Army Chaplain Bill Chrystal stood by Stewart’s side during her grieving process, and he’s standing with her now to help veterans and Gold Star families.

“It’s really, absolutely essential that if they’re feeling really bummed out, that they talk to people,” said Chrystal.

Stewart spent two decades fighting for survivor benefits and wants to make sure military families get what they earned.

“Those soldiers are the ones that gave their lives so that we’d have the freedom that we have here today,” said Stewart.

The two say they can also point people to additional resources if they need them.

“Persevere. Persevere. That’s what people need to do. Don’t give up,” said Chrystal.

If you need help, you can contact Stewart and Chrystal at 434-664-9202.


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.