Brittany Grider first contacted me after reading my article, A Widow’s Might. With her permission, I share how she introduced herself to me.
“Hi Miriam. My name is Brittany Grider and I am a 28 year old widow. My husband, Aaron, was killed in September of 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. My worst nightmare had come true, and now I faced life on this earth without my husband, partner and best friend by my side. It has been a year and a half of deep discernment, time spent in God’s Word and with fellow believers; time learning more about and remembering God’s sovereignty, mercy, and unshakeable, unbreakable love. Aaron’s witness to me in his life on this earth and his sacrificial death has changed my life…and I am so grateful to our Father for sharing Aaron with me.”
I’ll share more of what Brittany is doing today. But first, meet Aaron.
Aaron Grider is a man who understood that his life was not his own. He realized he was part of a bigger story, which is why he embraced his calling to be a warrior and fight for the protection and freedom of others.
Aaron lived his life with passionate thanksgiving. He had a contagious smile, immeasurable energy, extraordinary dedication, and faithful spirit. First and foremost, Aaron considered himself a child of God; an undeserving recipient of God’s compassion, mercy and grace. He lived his earthly life in selfless service to others as a response to the gift he first received from Christ.
Aaron was a devoted husband and father. He loved his family with unreserved passion, always acting in the interest of others, no matter the sacrifice on self.
Aaron was a warrior, fighting for justice, freedom and peace. He enlisted in the Army in 1998, immediately after graduating from high school, serving as an Airborne Infantryman. In 2000, he graduated from Ranger School and served in 2nd Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment as well as 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment. In 2005, he was assigned as a special operations team member, United States Army Special Operations Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, NC. On Aaron’s 30th birthday, God called him home. Aaron was killed on his 9th deployment, serving Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.
Now more about Brittany’s life today. She has founded the Aaron Grider Foundation. Hope Endures. Its focus is outward, forward, and helping spouses and children heal through serving
Here’s some of what they do:
AGF seeks to remind surviving spouses and children that they are part of a greater story, and help them renew and re-energize through service to those less fortunate. While grief and pain are exhausting, service is life-giving.
Mission Trips – the foundation organizes and leads mission trips throughout the United States and world, aimed at spreading hope to and through those in need.
Service Trips – the foundation also helps organize small-scale outreach in communities across the country
The motivation to create this foundation comes from Aaron’s legacy – the way he courageously and selflessly lived his life for the good of others. Aaron did not live his life in fear; he lived his life in hope. Aaron woke up every day giving thanks for another day full of opportunities to serve.
Aaron and his wife Brittany, from the day they met, knew they wanted to use their relationship to glorify God. They desired to minister together; to participate in God’s unfolding story of compassion, justice, and mercy. The Aaron Grider Foundation. Hope Endures. stems from a desire to continue to selflessly serve others and as Aaron did, to live life in hope – finding opportunities for others to experience and share God’s compassion. Aaron and Brittany never anticipated how their ministry would unfold, yet because of God’s grace, hope endures and ministering can happen in unexpected and powerful ways.
Brittany shared insights about becoming single again that, I wish, all could know so we could better connect with military widows in their time of loss. I share those thoughts.
“Since Aaron was killed, I have been incredibly blessed by the support I have received from Aaron’s unit, comrades, church community, as well as friends and family. God has richly blessed me in this way, and I know in other branches of the military (especially outside of the special operations community) support from the soldier’s unit and comrades is not nearly as present and consistent. So often, young military widows move back home (to where their parents live) because of the lack of support they have in the military community where they were stationed. This is just another loss a military widow experiences that others may not; for their lives have completely revolved around the military and their spouse’s service, and the lifestyle and support they’ve known is now gone. Like I said, I have not had this experience, but I believe I’m in the minority when it comes to the support and care I’ve continued to receive.”
Many thanks, Brittany, for letting me share your story. You encourage us all. Miriam