Navy Mom Clicks With Rye Couple

By Nancy Cicco

The Portsmouth Herald, Saturday, April 26,2003

[The following article is courtesy of The Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online.]

RYE -- Each day, JoAnne Parker scans the Internet for reports about the war with Iraq, searching for news about her son, U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Timothy Scott Folks. On Thursday, she came across an article that left her dumbstruck.

Parker had an immediate response to the story of Rye couple Phil and Elli Cyr, which appeared in the April 24 [2003] edition of The Portsmouth Herald. Like the Cyrs' son, U.S. Marine Cpl. Nick Cyr, Folks is serving in Task Force Tarawa, the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), along with some 7,000 other servicemen and women, according to Parker.

Like Cyr, who is a military police officer providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, Folks' medical service includes providing "policing and humanitarian work" in the region as the war winds down, Parker said.

Like the Cyrs' son, Folks is stationed at Camp Lejuene, N.C., and was deployed to the Middle East on Jan. 12. Both men are serving in the same unit, a fact Parker discovered once she scanned the list of roster names in her son's company.

And, like the Cyrs, Parker has survived one son, who died in a motor vehicle accident a few years ago.

"When I saw where they had lost a son, I said, 'You know, I'm in the same boat,'" Parker said during a telephone interview on Friday. "I did think it was very eerie."

Compounding the coincidence, Parker's boss, a former Marine himself, may know Phil Cyr from both men's days in the Corps.

The connections prompted Parker to get in touch with the Cyrs, so she and the couple can swap stories and bring comfort to each other as they await the return of their sons to United States shores.

Parker, a U.S. Department of Energy employee who works in Washington, D.C., lives in Bowling Green, Va.

In that community, her experience as a mother of a serviceman has been "stressful," she said.

"There's not a whole lot of people I can talk to, even though everybody is very supportive," she said.

But now, she can talk to the Cyrs.

"Maybe she has more information than I have" about Folks' experience, Parker said of Elli Cyr, who as well keeps in touch with families of servicemen and servicewomen through Marine Mothers Online.

The Cyrs and Parker exchanged telephone numbers and e-mail addresses on Friday.

"This is cool. How exciting," Elli Cyr said.

Parker was likewise enthused.

"We'll do some e-mails here and start talking. I think this is fantastic," she said.

Elli Cyr is a staff member at the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton