By Leslie M. Hernandez

Killeen Daily Herald

Several months ago, Kevin Weber was making plans to attend a trade show in Austin for this week, but he had an ulterior motive for coming down to Texas from Michigan.

Weber's son, Sgt. Christopher Weber, is deployed with the 4th Infantry Division and Weber's daughter-in-law lives in the Killeen area.

So instead of taking a day off from the trade show to visit with his daughter-in-law, Weber and several business associates decided to come up and do odd jobs for military wives who are without their husbands.

Weber, 49, from Frankenmuth, Mich., said he wanted to do something to help.

"So we came here and cleaned out some gutters and trimmed the yard," Weber said. "It was a big yard."

The yard belongs to Staff Sgt. Allen and Diane Smith. Smith is in 112th Armor, 4th Infantry Division, the same unit as Weber's son.

Diane Smith said she greatly appreciated the help from Weber and his friends since she is due to give birth to her second child in two days.

"They are great Americans," Smith said. "For them to come down from Michigan to work in this Texas heat, that's something."

Mike Page, 44, works for the same flour producer Weber works for, but is from Nappance, Ind. He helped Weber work at Smith's home in Copperas Cove.

"Keith called two months ago to see if we would be interested in helping out," Page said. "We needed an excuse to get away from the conference anyway. But seriously, it's a small way to pay our troops back for what they do for us. Words could never do it justice."

Over at Aaron and Nacol Swykert's house in Killeen, Weber and Page converge with two other associates to paint a bedroom and hang lattice work.

Nacol Swykert said her husband is away at a school for several weeks in El Paso and she needed to get things done around the house to get it ready to sell.

"I work with Missy Weber, so I knew that her father-in-law was coming down to help out some of the wives," Swykert said. "But I was really surprised when they came by to help me out, too."

Swykert said she is grateful for the help and is glad to see that there are people in the world willing to show they know what is going on with American soldiers in Iraq and that they care.

Contact Leslie M. Hernandez at

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