Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rhonda Winfield and Senator George Allen

April 12th, 2006

I had the privlege to attend the Senator George Allen rally in Harrisonburg with several Republican friends from Augusta County including my new friend Rhonda Winfield from Stuarts Draft, VA.

Rhonda is the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Jason C. Redifer who was killed in action while serving in Iraq on January31, 2005. I have met her several times but only for short periods and never had the opportunity for an extended conversation. I have had the opportunity to hear much of her story from a mutual friend and have learned that Rhonda is a very powerful and special person when it comes to the sacrifice her Son made to our country.

At the completion of the Senators remarks I was taking photo's of the Senator when I noticed Rhonda standing in line to meet and talk with Senator Allen. Knowing that she was coming up in

line I was sure to get in a good position to get some photos for her and maybe one for the blog. I had noticed earlier that Rhonda was wearing Jason's dog-tags and I knew she had been wearing them ever since getting them returned to her with other personal effects of Jason. But when Rhonda got to meet with Senator Allen she had the dog-tags clenched in her hands. As she talked with the Senator I was able to frame some nice shots but at a distance so as not to intrude into the conversation. I could tell by the Senators face that she was telling him of Jason and his sacrifice for our country and his beliefs. I then saw Rhonda give the dog-tags to the Senator and this had a very profound affect on the Senator and his wife Susan.

Later in the day I was able to have that extended conversation with Rhonda who told me that the dog-tags were Jason's extra pair for the originals were lost when he was killed in action. She has been wearing them ever since receiving them and she did not plan on giving them to the Senator. She said that the Senators speech had a very moving affect on her and that she knew he should have the dog-tags for she knew he believed in Jason's mission and truly understood her loss.

Rhonda also told me of the numerous letters of condolences she received from many people and some from elected officials. She told me that Senator Allen's letter was different from the "form" letters she received and there was a hand written note from the Senator telling her that "Susan and I pray for you"...

She also told me that Jason and Senator Allen shared the same values and beliefs in our country and she recalls talking with Jason about the Senator that he admired. She also admires Senator Allen for she sees the same values and morals that he shares with President Bush. She knows that they hate to have to make the decision to send troops into harms way but they understand that "Freedom isn't Free"...

Rhonda then told me that she feels Senator Allen is not just doing this to get re-elected as Senator or possibly as part of a campaign to be the next President. He is doing what he believes is right for the country...

I am very glad that I was able to have that "extended" conversation with my new friend...

(Click on Photo)


SWAC Girl said...

I admire Rhonda Winfield and feel honored to know her. She amazes me with her strength and her ability to put people at ease when those around her are at a loss for what to say. She's gracious ... poignant ... outright funny ... quick to laugh ... patriotic beyond words ... writes like a professional ... she is my hero and I feel blessed to be her friend. She has touched me in life ... just as Jason touched me in death. She is an incredible lady who raised a remarkable young man ... the epitome of an American family.

For those who have fought for it,
Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know. Semper Fi!

Anonymous said...

Rhonda is the type person we in america need more of. Integrity is the word I would use to describe her.