A fallen sign ties fallen Marine's widow and proud military mom together forever
Two families in Sun Prairie now share a bond that goes beyond their ties to the military.
Jodi Dushack lives on Windsor Street in Sun Prairie. Her block is a major thoroughfare through town so a lot of people drive past her home everyday. A lot of drivers may notice the yard sign she has on her front lawn. It says "proud parent of a U.S. Marine".
"I'm a proud, proud mom," Dushack said.
Her son is Private First Class Colton Wagner. Wagner enlisted in the Marines in December of 2018.
"It's definitely been a life-changing experience. I mean, life isn't the same anymore as it used to be," said Wagner.
The sign that stands in the front yard hasn't always been there, though. A different sign stood in the lawn for about a year. One day recently, Dushack came home and the original sign was gone.
"A couple of weeks ago the sign blew off. It must have blew off because of the wind. My daughter got it out of the road and got it back," said Dushack.
The sign was damaged and dirty so Dushack decided not to put it back on display. A driver who passes Dushack's home almost everyday noticed that the sign was missing.
"I came home Monday night and there was a brand new sign on my front porch with a note," said Dushack. "I've read the letter over and over and over, I don't know how many times, and every time it just brings a tear to my eye. How someone can just take time out of their day is just amazing to me,"
The mystery person responsible for the new sign was a complete stranger. Her name is Sherri Scott.
Scott's late husband is CW Josh Scott of the United States Army. Josh was killed serving his country in Iraq in 2005. He was 28-years-old.
"Josh really believed in doing nice things for everyone," Sherri said. "And he knew from the time he was two-years-old that he was going to be a soldier. He died doing what he loved and what his calling was,"
Josh and Sherri have three children together, one of whom, Kenny, followed his father's footsteps by joining the U.S. Army.
"Josh was about family and hard work and he was the epitome of like 'this is what we do for people. We work hard for ourselves and we work hard for our families,'"
Jodi and Sherri met for the first time at a diner in Sun Prairie recently because Jodi just wanted to say thanks.
"There is still good people out there, you know? This has completely restored my faith in humanity. Just that one little gesture," Dushack said. "She probably didn't think it was a huge deal, but it made a huge impact,"
The day after Dushack's new sign popped up on her porch, Pfc. Wagner came home for the holidays and surprised his mom.
"The front door opened and he just walked in and shocked the heck out of me!" said Dushack.
Dushack says she hasn't really been in the Christmas spirit this year but with her son home and her new sign in place, she's back to feeling festive.
"My Christmas has just been nothing and this sign just made my whole Christmas," said Dushack.
And for Scott, being able to pay it forward is her way of honoring her hero husband.
"This time of year is hard for us with Josh gone so it's just nice to know we helped someone else feel better," said Scott.
"You have touched us like no other person, really," Dushack told Scott. "I mean it when I say you guys will always be in our hearts," Scott said in response.
Last year, a memorial was built to honor Josh Scott's service and sacrifice. You can find the Joshua Scott Memorial Gazebo in Liberty Square in Sun Prairie.