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Gold Star Mothers work to help veterans

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Two Round Rock mothers that lost their sons in Iraq have been working to help veterans who are dealing with their own loss and pain over the deaths of their comrades.

Faith Zimmerman lost her son, a marine, in 2006. Nanette West lost her son Kyle in 2007 on Memorial Day. Both women were Gold Star Mothers. Gold Star Mothers are mothers that have lost a child in

West actually traveled to Iraq and met the soldiers serving with her son. It was in Iraq where she first realized the bond she now has with all combat vets.

"It's like an acceptance, if we can be ok with letting our sons go, it gives them strength to be ok with their buddies being gone and not them," West said. "Because a lot of times they're side by side with guys who die and they question ‘Why am I still here?'"

These two women have the power to heal the war wounds found on the inside. Zimmerman has experienced that power here at home.

"It's like a cleanser in a way, it helps with the guilt and it helps us a lot, it helps us a lot," Zimmerman said.

For one, it lets these mothers remember their sons' commitment and choice to serve. It also gives them a chance to help their boys comrades in arms.

"Because they feel connected because who they were in the field with and who they have great guilt about being a survivor when these guys didn't, they know that we feel it even deeper, they just let it go," West said. 

They say they feel that release of guilt and tension that many times the soldier's families and counselors don't because of that trust and partnership in loss.

But for the moms there's a gain too.

"For me it's like having a whole lot more sons..I'm still in contact with a lot of Chris' friends that call me and text me," Zimmerman said. 

Both of these women want to connect with more deployed vets and other gold star moms.

Nanette West

n47west@yahoo.com

512-751-5545

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