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Veterans Day 2023: Urbana’s Cheryl Walker and son Jay reflect on her injuries in Iraq and the toll taken on the family

Jay and his mother Cheryl Walker, who shared their memories of dealing with her military related serious injury.

November 11 is Veterans Day, when Americans honor the people who put their lives on the line.

Cheryl Walker of Urbana is Commander of the American Legion District 19. In 2004, Cheryl was a member of the Illinois Army National Guard and deployed to Iraq when she was seriously injured in a mortar attack. Her military service and her injuries had a profound effect on her and her family.

Recently, we asked her son Jay, now 33-years-old, to interview his mother Cheryl about that time in their family’s life.

Walker dreamed of joining the military but her parents forbade it. Her brother left high school to join but Cheryl’s military dream was deferred until her mother passed away. Cheryl then joined the Illinois Army National Guard in Paris. She was 35 years old when she was deployed to Iraq during the US invasion. Walker was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Our story was engineered and edited by Kimberlie Kranich.

For more of Jay and Cheryl’s conversation, including a story about how Jay disliked dogs but grew to love his mother’s service dog:

Plus, how the family adapted to their father’s cooking, including a funny story involving spaghetti:

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