What do you say when you get a phone call telling you that your daughter has been chosen to get an award for the whole state of Michigan for her work for the troops and veterans?
I got such a phone call about a month ago from the Daughters of the American Revolution. This is not the first time they have honored Taylor and her work she does for the troops. Last year, they awarded her with the Mary Desha Founders medal for her tireless work. This year, she was chosen for the whole state of Michigan.
We went to the awards ceremony on 3-31-2009. Taylor brought her dad and I, her principal Jay Peterson and the Marine Corps League Commandant of the Kalamazoo detachment. Also present was Sen. Cameron Brown. Taylor was not able to sit with us, as she had to sit at the head table. As the ceremony started, they called her to the stand and the state regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution started talking about Taylor and listed off everything she has done.
Now mind you, I have been with Taylor through all of this. We know what she has done and I myself have listed them all a few times, however, that is completely different then sitting back and listening to it being said out loud by someone else.
I sat in the audience and listened to each thing Taylor has done be listed off. I sat back and listened to the audience gasp at different times. I then heard out loud, about Taylor's illness and it literally took my breath away for a moment. It was like I was listening through someone elses ears and hearing all this for the first time. My heart ached with pride. Then, I watched as Taylor got this full faced beautiful smile. One that we don't normally see, especially when she is being talked about. I think she must have felt like I did.
I then watched the audience of about 300 give her a standing ovation that lasted for quiet some time. I watched as many wiped their faces of tears. It wasn't until after the ceremony was over that I realized that Taylor was the only individual that got her own standing ovation.
I thank the Daughters of the American Revolution for their continued support of Taylor and their continued recognition of her, especially the Abiel Fellows Chapter. I thank my daughter, GySgt. Taylor Batten, for her selflessness when it comes to her beloved troops. I thank her for looking beyond herself and doing what is right, because it IS right. I thank her for being my daughter and showing me the true meaning of so many things.