Retired USMC Maj. Cycles Cross-Country to Support Gold Star Moms

More than 6,500 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Almost 600 of them called Texas home.

The families of the fallen continue to face immense pain, and many worry the memory of their sons and daughters will be forgotten with time.

One ex-marine is doing her best to make sure that never happens.

Beverly Dickey snapped a photo -- one of her favorites -- of her son the day he finished basic training.

"He was doing everything he could to keep from grinning," she said, "'cause I knew he saw me."

Clinton William Dickey graduated Waco High and joined the Army to pay for college. Two tours in Afghanistan later, he was back home in September 2009.

"I think the hardest thing for me was once he came home the second time, I was like, 'Okay. He's home. He's safe.'" Beverly said.

"But they're never safe."

Less than six months later, a call no parent is prepared for.

"I looked at Dale, and I said, 'What's wrong?' And he just mouthed to me, 'Clint's dead.' And I just, you know," she said, miming collapsing.

Sgt. Dickey suffered from PTSD and back pain. He had accidentally overdosed on prescription meds where he was living in Bryan while he went to Texas A&M.

"It still hits me," Beverly said, her eyes filling with tears.

Beverly is a Gold Star mom, a parent who's lost a son or daughter to the service.

And one retired Marine, Maj. Jennifer Marino, doesn't want anyone to forget it.

"For me I'm checking something off of my bucket list," Marino said, "and those guys, you know, young men and women, don't have that opportunity anymore."

What she's checking off is cross-country bike ride, from Gold Star mom to Gold Star mom.

She left California's Camp Pendleton in August, and she'll reach Camp Lejeune in North Carolina by late October.

She biked 20 miles south down the I-35 frontage road, starting in Waco, Wednesday morning -- day 39 -- then went by car on to the veterans' cemetery in Killeen, with Beverly roaring on her motorcycle behind her, to pay her respects to Sgt. Dickey.

From here to San Antonio, and another Gold Star mom praying no one forgets.

"I mean, that was my baby," said Dickey, coming to tears once again.

Marino officially retired at the beginning of the month.

Her final destination is the Marine Corps museum in Virginia on October 25, 77 days after leaving California.


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