The phone calls, few and far between, usually came in the early morning hours.
The voice on the other end of the line would say:
"Mom, get your people together and pray for me and my men, lost my best friend. Call you back!"
"Happy Mother's Day, I got blown up today."
The calls came from either one of Denise Davidson's two youngest
sons as they served in the U.S. military in Middle East locations such
as Iraq and Afghanistan.
For a decade now, Denise and her husband Brian have lived out their lives in Brookings knowing that, on most days, one of their sons was likely in mortal danger.
Their youngest son, Greg, now 27, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, received an honorable discharge in 2008. He carries with him a Bronze Star for, as he puts it, "taking his men to hell and back." He currently lives with his wife in Arizona.
The Davidsons' second youngest son, Jeremy, age 29, who also known to some as Isaiah, is still serving in the U.S. Army as a medic. This month, he received a Bronze Star with Valor for staying with and treating his fellow soldiers after their vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb in May 2009 that severely injured all aboard, including Isaiah.
Currently, Isaiah is in the recovery unit in Germany as the military figures out the best way to reconstruct his face andndash; it was nearly blown off in the accident, his mother said.
In awarding Isaiah the medal, Maj. Greg Connate wrote:
"Everyone inside the vehicle, including Cpl. Davidson, sustained injuries in the blast. Enemy forces then engaged the patrol with relentless small arms fire from the south. Cpl. Davidson's first thoughts however were for his fellow soldiers. With complete disregard for his own safety and regardless of multiple open facial fractures, a dislocated thumb and deep lacerations all over his body, Cpl. Davidson immediately began treating the gunner and driver of the stricken M1151. Without hesitation, he applied tourniquet, pressure dressings and bandages until he was forcefully removed from the other wounded so his own injuries could be addressed, at which point he continued to supply responders with his medical expertise by instructing them from a distance."
At one point, the major explained, Isaiah removed the tourniquet from his own arm and applied it to a soldier he thought was worse off them him.
The major concluded, "Davidson's actions on that day reflect the finest qualities of a combat medic. His selfless heroism, steadfast professionalism and unshakable courage are in keeping with the proudest traditions of military service."
While Isaiah doesn't want to re-live the experience, it won't stop him from heading back into the combat areas.
"It's very nice to see the difference we make in the areas we are placed in Afghanistan," he said in a e-mail response to the Curry Coastal Pilot.
"The people there don't have much and are very appreciative of the help and protection we are able to provide," he wrote.
Knowing people in Brookings were supporting and praying for him makes a big difference, he said.
"The entire time I was in Afghanistan we got packages and letters from people we knew and random strangers thanking us and supporting us through the whole process," he said.
As for receiving the bronze award, Isaiah said "It's just another award. I got it for doing something that anyone else I work with would have done in the same position. It just happened to be me that day."
Denise Davidson is extremely proud of both her sons, but their military experience have been nerve-wracking
"It has not been easy, but we have the Lord, and he has brought us peace," she said.
And, at least for now, there won't be any late-night phone calls from the front lines.