on Tuesday, October 24, 2017
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” — Elmer Davis
Brandon Systo | Veteran
Brandon served in the United States Army for 12 years as a Clothing and Textile Specialist, Quarter Master Mechanic, and Military Police officer.
Tim Birchfield | Veteran
Tim Birchfield served in the United States Navy as an Aviation Ordnanceman for 8½ years. He later joined the Army National Guard as a Motor Transport Operator.
Tayli Frantz | Veteran Spouse
Tayli's husband Zachary Frantz served in the United States Navy for seven years. Frantz was deployed three times, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
Michael Rardin | Veteran
For four years, Michael served his country as an Advanced Truck Driver and Diesel Mechanic in the United States Marine Corp.
Nick Moeglin | Veteran
Nick Moeglin is a United States Marine Corp Veteran. He served 4 years as a Motor Transport Mechanic.
Dennis Cox | Veteran
Dennis Cox served as a member of The Old Guard, the Army's official ceremonial unit and escort to the president.
Military Family Feature | Zac & Tayli Frantz
"When they're deployed, it's another level of strength that you have to find," said Tayli Frantz, Veteran spouse and Alliance Tractor employee.
Zac and Tayli’s story began when the pair met while attending the same high school. "I was a sophomore and he was a senior," she said. “He asked me to Homecoming and we started dating after that.
Today, they have been married for eleven years. Through laughter, Tayli added "I've decided to put up with him for that long.” The Frantz Family consists of the couple’s two children—7-year-old son Cale and 5-year-old daughter Hayden—and three rescue dogs.
For Zac, military service had always been important. "It's a family tradition for him,” said Tayli. His Dad was in the Army. His brother was in the Navy. He always knew he wanted to be in the Navy."
After high school, he continued the tradition and joined the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. During his seven-year military career, Zac was deployed three times—twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
Generally, deployed military service members have little opportunity to speak to their loved ones. Recalling the few phone calls she shared with Zac, Tayli mentioned making an effort to stay positive during their conversations. "They have a lot they deal with over there,” she explained. “Just let them know that you're still there, you love them, and you're waiting for them."
While Tayli waited, she relied upon the support of her family. "The last deployment, I was pregnant and I gave birth to our son while he was gone,” she shared. “My younger sister was on the phone with Zac when I had Cale so he was able to hear his first cries."
When asked what her advice would be to the spouse of a newly deployed military service member, Tayli admitted "It's tough. You have to know that going into it. It's not going to be your typical relationship,” she explained. “You have to want to make it work and you have to be there for them… even when it seems like they don't want you to."
She also discussed how people can help Veterans and their spouses during a deployment. "Let them know you're there. Offer an ear, offer a hug, or offer to make a care package," said Tayli."[Service Members] have each other, they are brothers in arms but it does help those that have family, a spouse or girlfriend, friends—someone who they can talk to.”
Despite the distance and the time apart, Zac and Tayli knew their relationship was worth fighting for. "We both loved each other and wanted to make it work,” she said. “There's no one else I'd rather fight for every day.”
Thank you, Veterans. We are eternally grateful for your patriotism and willingness to serve.
Support a deployed service member by participating in the ‘Sponsor a Hero’ program by HeroBox. The organization will connect you with a deployed service member based on need. HeroBox is a non-profit organization that supports deployed, injured, aging and homeless veterans.