By John Mizerak –
Morgan and Allyson Chaney are a military couple who are huge advocates for the Mighty Oaks Foundation because of their personal involvement with the organization over the last year.
Morgan, who is an active Navy Corpsman, with almost 10-years of experience, had been hiding a secret for years. His wife, Allyson, knew there was something wrong, but Morgan had become a master at stuffing his feelings, to the point where he was almost unreachable.
The secret that Morgan was hiding had its’ origin in his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. A young boy, that was thought to be wearing a suicide vest, approached his unit and Morgan followed the command to shoot. It turned out that the young boy was simply delivering refreshments to the troops, not a bomb. Morgan internalized that event and didn’t let anyone know his pain and suffering. He became a shell of a man with no emotion. Allyson had no clue of the burden that he was carrying, but sadly, when tragedy struck the family and the couple lost twin boys to a miscarriage in 2012, the secret was exposed. With no emotion, Morgan shared, “These aren’t the first kids that I’ve seen die!” Allyson was shocked as her husband didn’t shed a tear and gave her no emotional support during this challenging trial. Morgan also grieved alone, as he didn’t know how to ask for help. As we see with many Warriors that struggle before coming to a Mighty Oaks Program, Morgan decided to “man-up,” stuff his hurt as far down as he could and simply not talk about it.
Allyson became more and more desperate to save her marriage and save her husband, when she connected with North Coast Church and their military ministry that knew about Mighty Oaks. Allyson, like many military wives in the same situation, gave Morgan little choice when it came to attending an upcoming Legacy Program in early 2017. She was tired of accepting the rut they had settled in and now was the time to change! Morgan reluctantly agreed to attend and his life was changed forever!
Morgan shared his “secret” with the guys in his program and it was the first time that anyone, had heard his story. It was like a ton was lifted off his shoulders that day and he began to see his life change immediately. The guys in his program became his “corner men” and were (and still are) there for him, helping him sort through the past and actually leave it there. He was helped to move on and look at life with a new perspective. God’s perspective! Morgan shared that “the light bulb finally went on!” He gained so many tools to improve his marriage and his communication to everyone in his life, that things could no longer be the same. Allyson was so impressed with the man who came home from the Legacy Program that she, in turn, attended the Women’s Legacy Program last September. She thought she was going to learn how to continue to “fix” her husband, but in fact, she realized that God had even bigger plans for her. God showed her that she did NOT have to be defined by her past and that He could point her in a new direction.
Since attending the programs, Morgan has gone on to attend two more phases of Mighty Oaks leader’s training so he can “pay it forward” like the guys did for him when first attended. Allyson is now going to Bible college and attends a Bible Study for women whose Husbands live with PTSd and encourages them to pray for their marriages and walk with their Husband, not against them in their journey.
By John Mizerak –