An Air Guard mom on mission

Master Sgt. Lauren Gallagher puts her boots on for work, and her 2-year-old daughter joins her with a hug as the two take a moment before starting their day. The two have been a part while Gallagher is currently serving in response to COVID-19. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Julie Avey)

Some moms will be away from their children and their moms while serving in response to COVID-19 this Mother’s Day. Master Sgt. Lauren Gallagher of the 104th Fighter Wing is one of those moms as she is currently serving on the front lines of COVID-19.

“I’ve been working the night shift, and my focus has been supporting the COVID-19 response,” said Gallagher. “It is hard to keep track of the days, I didn’t even realize Mother’s Day was coming up.”

Gallagher serves on the Fatality Search and Recovery Team. Her mission has involved handling remains and coordinating celebration of life ceremonies.

“People deserve to be treated with honor and dignity, especially when they are going to their next destination,” said Gallagher. “We have a lot of respect for these individuals and know they deserve the best during this very unfortunate time.”

Gallagher will be calling her wife, mom, and her 82-year-old grandmother on Mother’s Day.

Gallagher has been on the COVID-19 response mission since one day before her daughter’s second birthday and will be on the mission for more than 45 days.

“This is the longest I’ve been away from my daughter,” said Gallagher. “It is hard to be away and yet be so close. It almost feels that it might have been easier to be deployed overseas versus being in a neighboring town, unable to go home.”

She will talk with Ellery, her 2-year-old daughter on Mother’s Day.
“Luckily, I will be able to talk to her several times on Mother’s Day,” she said. “I am very grateful.”

“I am appreciative of the technology we have today; otherwise, it would be a different experience and I would have most likely missed out on a lot more.”

Gallagher has been keeping a special connection with her daughter while on the mission.

“Every night, we have dinner together over the phone,” said Gallagher. “We have still been able to enjoy meals together, just in a different setting. I feel very much engaged.”

She doesn’t have the structure she had at day care, so it helps with everything else happening in the world to have a routine, having meals together, and keeping some things normal, she said.

The two are able to do puzzles and enjoy time together.

“I brought books with me, so I am able to read to her over FaceTime,” she said. “It’s been hard, but at her age, I take comfort in knowing that my absence is harder on me than it is on her right now.”