Put on the news, discuss the day’s events and catch up….then suddenly we were both quiet, another soldier lost! How sad? Not another one? As the broadcast continued telling us the tragic loss of 28 year old CW2 Christopher Thibodeau, an American Apache Pilot killed in Afghanistan shortly after learning he was to become a father. It was impossible not to choke up at that point, he left behind a wife and a child….a child that he would never get to see, hold, hug or even kiss and whisper “I love you!” Oh heaven! This was a rough one to listen to. The story continued, his parents were from Chesterland, Ohio. These news stories were so hard to hear, but this one hit both of us really hard, this family was our neighbor. We both felt we have to do something!
We discussed the story in length. This young man was our boys’ age. He had given his life in the service to his country, fighting for our safety and freedom. What can we do or say to ease the pain his family is suffering? How do you say “I’m sorry for your loss….to a child?”
It hit us like a lightning bolt! We looked at each other, both struck with the same idea! Just over a year before, by complete accident, we discovered we each had hidden talents that combined turned into unique and outrageous wooden rocking horses. That was it! The rocking horses! We talked for hours, fine tuning the idea. It had to be something unique and important to the family. Scott knew right away, it had to be an Apache Helicopter! We wanted Chris’ picture to be in front of his child all the time, so we had to figure out a way to include his portrait. We would build a toy that his child could enjoy for years that would keep his memory close at hand. The journey began.
We spent months searching for pictures of Apache Helicopters, researching what was important to a soldier. We were civilians looking into a world we were not a part of. Soldiers are very patriotic and very proud of their service and yet so very humble. Mostly, they were just like our boys, each having their own favorite music, or hobbies, but all shared one thing in common. Each one we read about told stories of how their families were their rock. Pictures of loved ones kept them going, giving them the strength to carry on through hard times. We quickly realized this was not just a onetime deal….somehow we needed to honor ALL who serve by making these gifts for as many fallen Heroes as we could. And we knew the name, “Hero’s Rock”! Building tribute rockers for the children of fallen heroes! It was a play on words but it seemed so perfect! The most important thing to each was their family…their rock!
That simple need to do something turned into a passion. We felt the gifts would mean so much more if they came from a bunch of people. Thankfully, and much to our surprise…..our crazy idea caught the attention of hundreds of people, across this great nation, who wanted to help us make it happen!
Welcome to our first blog, we are Scott & Trish Snyder, co-founders of Hero’s Rock. This is both the easiest and hardest thing we have ever done! Who would have thought one news story would change our lives and lead us on this amazing journey. We hope you will join us on the continuing journey of Hero’s Rock.