When I first read the suggestion of Susan McClamrock as a Mo's Hero, the name McClamrock rang a bell. And as I read more about why Susan so deserves this recognition, I remembered why I know her name.
The first time I saw the name McClamrock was in a WBTV news story. We learned one of our North Carolina sons died in Iraq.
Private First Class James McClamrock was killed in action while serving in the Army. He, and another soldier, died after a man wearing an Iraqi military uniform opened fire on soldiers. Those US soldiers had considered the shooter an ally.
Since that September day in 2010, Susan, her husband, and their five other children have mourned James. But in her sadness she and her family have found healing by helping others who know their pain too well. Susan has chosen to be a beacon of hope for other 'Gold Star Families', a title given to those whose loved one died serving this country.
Susan was nominated as a 'Mo's Hero' by Jo Warren. They met when Jo and other Patriot Guard Riders escorted the hearse carrying James' flag-draped casket.
"My very first mission I rode in was for James. I was so amazed. Going through all she was going through, she came and thanked us all personally! I was just amazed that here she had just lost her son and yet she came and said 'Thank you!'" Jo remembers.
In 2010, shortly after James was killed, Susan fought back tears as she talked to former WBTV reporter Tom Roussey,
"I think that's what hurts so badly, is that we lost a good man that day," she said, "…a good son, and a good husband," He was 22-years-old when he was killed.
In the years since his death, Susan McClamrock has been a champion for the less fortunate and reaches out to the heartbroken, especially families who understand her loss.
"Since James died Susan has helped countless Gold Star Families in and around the Concord Area, as well as North Carolina in general. She is also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, standing flag lines for Fallen Heroes, just as they stood for her son," Jo Warren told me.
Becoming a Gold Star Family is not a title anyone wants... but for Susan, her tragedy has inspired a sense of duty.
Jo told me, "She's on the Board of Directors of Tribute To The Troops, a non-profit organization that recognizes the families of Fallen Heroes from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Susan is the wife of Rev. Mark McClamrock, the minister at Concord ARP Church. She plays the piano and organ for Sunday services. She leads bible school classes."
But now it's Susan who needs the help of others. Jo says Susan has a rare disorder that has made her very sick and in need of a liver transplant. Jo says, even with her own health crisis, she always greets people with a smile, never complains, and most of all never loses faith.
Susan you are a beautiful example of a mother's love! It's clear you've been a real messenger for healing for so many others. As Jo wrote, your heart and faith know no bounds! Now it's our turn to encourage you. I'm sure many reading this blog will lift you up in prayer.
I hope and pray all your medical needs will be met and you will experience complete healing. Thank you for all you do to ease the heartache of others. You are truly Mo's Hero!