Families with one or more parents in the military have it tough. After all, even though they can go months without their loved ones, life at home still has to carry on. And Michelle Cherland’s husband Rod knew just what such a situation entailed, as he had had to play both mom and dad to their brood when his wife was deployed.
The Cherlands themselves, meanwhile, live in California. They had first met through a friend and, at that time, there was an instant attraction between the pair. Indeed, Michelle has even described the couple’s very first encounter as being “love at first sight.”
And while both Rod and Michelle had children from previous relationships, that wasn’t an issue when it came to the pair’s budding romance. In time, in fact, they all came together to make one big happy family.
But Rod and Michelle’s lives together haven’t always been straightforward. Just after the pair had wed, Michelle, an army reservist, decided to go into the reserve center to formally change her name. That day, however, she came away from the building knowing much more than she had bargained for.
That’s because, during Michelle’s visit to the center, a sergeant would come out to speak to the newlywed. And he didn’t bring good news, either; in fact, he told her something that would turn her honeymoon period upside down.
Specifically, Michelle was informed that she was about to be deployed. But she wasn’t given much warning at all, as it turned out that she would be sent away only 22 days after the wedding. It wasn’t what anybody in the family really wanted to hear – especially husband Rod.
Knowing that his wife was soon leaving the family, correctional officer Rod knew that he would have to step up and look after the couple’s seven children all by himself. But according to his nearest and dearest, he simply took it in his stride, as always.
Rod’s daughters have often been impressed with their father’s dedication to the family, in fact. They’ve even described him as a caring individual who always puts other people first. And this selfless attitude has earned Rod the reputation of being a top-class dad.
But Rod’s kids aren’t the only ones who have appreciated their father’s efforts. Michelle has been grateful for her doting husband’s ability to step up to the plate, too. She even wrote in to one of her favorite TV shows in the hope of giving Rod the recognition he deserved.
In particular, Michelle contacted The Ellen DeGeneres Show – a firm favorite of hers that she used to tune into while on deployment. In fact, the program had always been something that she used to escape the horrors of her actual surroundings.
And Michelle would later describe her time spent watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a kind of escape. “We would just gather around [to watch it] and just for a second, you’re gone,” she said. “There’s all of a sudden this bright light of happy.”
Then, after Ellen and her team had heard about Rod’s awesome parenting, he and Michelle were invited onto the show to share more of their story with the public. This also gave Rod the opportunity to describe what it’s like to play both mom and dad when Michelle goes away.
He explained, for example, how he has to fulfill both parenting roles, even doing the little things like painting his daughters’ fingernails. And Rod impressed the audience – not to mention Ellen herself – when he said that he even had sufficient skill to draw intricate flower designs onto his girls’ nails.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres herself was so affected by Ron and Michelle’s story that she wanted to do something to help them and their children. She recognized that life can be tough for families with parents in the military, and so it was time to reward Michelle and Rod for making it work.
Previously, Michelle had mentioned that when she isn’t serving in the reservists, she holds down a job as a kindergarten teacher. She also explained that, a few years before her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the elementary school where she works had received a significant grant.
However, that money had only lasted for three years, leaving Michelle and her fellow teachers to often have to buy their own work supplies. So, upon hearing this news, DeGeneres called upon photo and stationery company Shutterfly in the hope that it could help.
And, amazingly, Shutterfly gifted Michelle’s school with $15,000 so that she and her co-workers didn’t have to dig into their own pockets anymore. Michelle was handed the huge check, and the army reservist and kindergarten teacher was visibly delighted at the unexpected present.
But the surprises didn’t stop there. To celebrate everything that Rod did for the family while Michelle was deployed, Shutterfly had another gift for them. Given that the couple often had to spend time apart, it was decided that they might benefit from some quality time together.
So DeGeneres told Michelle and Rod that their entire family were being sent on vacation. It wasn’t just any vacation, though; they were gifted with a week-long cruise around the Mexican Riviera. And, understandably, the couple were totally overwhelmed by the news.
In fact, both Michelle and Rod threw their heads back in disbelief, shouting, “Wow!” when they were told about the holiday. The couple were clearly ecstatic about both the funding and the free trip. Most would agree, though, that their rewards were totally deserved.