When he told her on his deathbed that he wanted his ashes to be spread near Area 51, she told him she would do her best to make it happen.
If it weren't for the unbelievable kindness of another military spouse, this wish wouldn't have become a reality.
Mike was diagnosed with Paralytic Polio when he was two years old. He spent the next three years moving between an iron lung and various rehab facilities, and he didn't have working use of his arms after that, M.J. recalled.
"Docs thought he wouldn't make it past age 3, then 4, 15, 20, 30, 40, and then 50," she said. "He proved them all wrong by living to age 65."
M.J. and Mike were like two peas in a pod. "He was my person," she shared.
Mike loved all things outer space. "I grew up learning about UFOs [and] Area 51, and we religiously watched the X-Files as a family," M.J. said.
When she held his hand as her father died, she knew she wanted to make his final wish to be put to rest at Area 51 come true. She just didn't know how until Yvonne Coombes, an Army spouse and owner of Operation Deploy Your Dress, stepped up.
"We were at a lunch at Union Station in D.C.," M.J. said, "when Coombes mentioned she was from Roswell, New Mexico. I got so excited and told her all about my dad's love of all things UFO and Area 51. I told her his last wish and, without missing a beat, Yvonne said, 'Let's do it. I'm going home in a few weeks, and I'll do it then. Let's do it.'"
M.J. said she was floored at the offer. "I didn't even ask," she said. "Yvonne just said, 'Let's make it happen.'"
Coombes was able to spread Mike's ashes near Area 51, and M.J.'s family was beyond ecstatic: They were truly touched.
M.J. explained, "This is just one of the many examples of how tight-knit the military spouse community is. We rally at a moment's notice for those who need us and anticipate the needs of others in our community. This extreme act of kindness is a motivator to continue paying it forward. I never in a million years would have asked for someone to do this, but my milspouse sister saw what I needed and just did what we all do when these opportunities present themselves to us. She just did. I love her forever for that."
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