How They Met
Eddie and Ashley met while both serving in the Army. Eddie had joined the service in May of 2003 and Ashley joined later in April of 2004. Eddie moved to Fort Gordon, GA in June of 2005 and their paths finally crossed. A mutual friend introduced Eddie and Ashley. Thinking back on the memory, Ashley shared, “I was a bit embarrassed because I had no makeup on and was in my Army uniform for Driver’s Training. I thought, ‘Dang, I wish I could’ve met him looking my best instead of so frazzled.’” Regardless of how Ashley thought she may have looked, Eddie was floored. “Ashley took my breath away, even in her desert camo uniform.”
Following 5 blissful months of dating and enjoying spontaneous trips together, the couple decided to marry. “We were your typical military couple who dates for a short period of time, then decides to get married,” Eddie explained. The two were married by a justice of the peace in December of 2005.
After Eddie and Ashley said their vows, they returned to the Army barracks where Ashley got ready for work and Eddie enjoyed pizza and watched a movie with his Army buddies. “We never had a honeymoon,” Eddie shared. The following May they had a family ceremony. When they had their first child, Ashley decided she would discharge from the Army while Eddie would continue serving to support their family. As time does, it quickly passed and the family continued to grow through deployments, overseas tours in Korea, as well as moves to Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Through these years, the family of 3 became a family of 8, “We have 6 kids ages 2-12, life is full!” Ashley exclaimed. “The fun never stops in our household,” Eddie added.
When Eddie completed a 15-month deployment, the effects of service were beginning to show within the family. Ashley revealed, “A deployment like that changes a person. There may be scars seen or unseen. There may be specific things that are too difficult to talk about, and other hidden things left buried due to fear of transparency and fear of vulnerability.” The more Eddie’s Army career advanced, the more time away from home it demanded. After over 10 years as a Soldier, Eddie decided it was time to exit the military and continue serving his community in a new way—as a police officer.
"Just after I graduated from the police academy, I was part of an officer-involved shooting," Eddie revealed, "which was hard enough to sort through. Then, as if things weren't hard enough, we lost our daughter, Charlotte." Ashley added more details, "Charlotte waved to us and looked great on her gender-reveal ultrasound at 16 weeks. There wasn’t a heartbeat at her 20-week appointment. Grief can definitely add to the hardship of marriage."
Reaching Out to CKFF
With their heavy hearts, hectic schedules, and family responsibilities, Eddie and Ashley’s marriage struggled. They soon realized a life of service in law enforcement can be just as demanding as the military. “With service, you realize that time isn’t your own and you have to make the most of the time you do have together. It’s the quality of time and not the quantity of time you get together,” Ashley explained. Eddie shared he and Ashley intentionally try to connect when they can by enjoying date nights, even if they mostly consist of dinner and a movie. The couple decided to reach out to Chris Kyle Frog Foundation (CKFF), and Eddie applied for a Revitalization Retreat. “Growing together is something we want to do… nothing would help us more than being able to spend quality time together without the need for a sippy cup,” Eddie joked.
CKFF found Eddie and Ashley’s story powerful and setup the two for a trip to Savannah, the oldest city in the state of Georgia. During their retreat, the couple enjoyed a fishing charter, kayaking, luxury hotel accommodations and delicious dinners out in town. Sparking their love for spontaneity, Eddie and Ashley decided to take a kayaking trip to Tybee Island where they renewed their vows near Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse.
Where They Are Now
Ashley reflects, “CKFF was a HUGE blessing for our marriage and taught us the importance of prioritizing our life. A good marriage is worth fighting for.” Every Revitalization Retreat provided by CKFF includes 5 marital coaching sessions with a Licensed Professional Counselor. Eddie and Ashley decided to continue working on their marriage beyond their retreat, “We’ve learned to invest in our marriage by continuing counseling and making time for each other. Our priorities have improved so much, and our communication skills have gotten so much better,” they shared, "We celebrate Charlotte's life today and look forward to seeing her in heaven someday." Their marriage proves to be stronger than ever, “We were married by the Catholic church in December of 2018. We wanted to recommit our vows in front of our family and to each other.”
A Letter from Eddie + Ashley
Words just are not worthy to express our gratitude for how much this trip meant to us, but I’ll do my best. Thank you so very much for this incredible opportunity. We were able to reconnect and refresh as a couple and fall in love with each other more. We even renewed our vows at a lighthouse that we kayaked out to. This trip meant so much to us and will have forever memories made together from it. We laughed, cried and had beautiful moments shared! This trip also showed us the importance of prioritizing our time to connect with each other. With Eddie in law enforcement, me in nursing school and six kids it gets tough to manage time well. This trip reminded us to keep First things first- God, our marriage, family and others. This trip was so significant because we actually got married in GA and Tybee Island was one of our first dates so honestly this trip had the fingerprints of God all over it! I could see His hand in all the details, and it was so redemptive after all Eddie and I have been through the last thirteen years. I know this retreat will have a ripple effect to our kids and grandkids- of seeing the goodness of God. Thank you all so much!
Ashley and Eddie