War in Iraq sends sixth grader to Maple Lake

The war in Iraq has had an impact on the lives of many Americans, including 11-year-old Christian King, a recent sixth grade graduate of St. Timothy’s School.

“My mom didn’t know if she was going or not, but I was really expecting it,” Christian said. “As an April Fools joke, I told my teachers that my mom was called to war. And then when she got home that night, she told me she was really going.”

However, Micki was fortunate to have family in Maple Lake that were not only willing to take Christian, but ended up dividing his time between the homes of two of Micki’s siblings because both families wanted to be a part of his stay.

Micki, who is employed by the State Board of Chiropractors, called her Maple Lake relatives and immediately received invitations for Christian’s stay from brother, Pat Dooley, and his wife, Diane, and sister, Bridget Olsen, and her husband, Nick. In addition, Christian’s grandparents, Ed and Gloria Dooley, also live on Maple Lake, not far from their two children.

So on April 10, Christian transferred from St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Roseville to St. Timothy’s School. And it was a considerable change for him, leaving a class at St. Rose’s of 50 students and becoming the fifth sixth grader at St. Tim’s. But Christian said the small size of the class was good for him. “It sort of made me more comfortable,” he said, noting that on his first day at St. Tim’s, he was invited to a birthday party.

“They were very welcoming with their new students,” said Diane Dooley.

And Bridget Olsen said that Christian being made to feel at home so quickly was remarkable, considering the timing. “It’s different starting at a new school at the beginning of a year,” she said, “but this was at nearly the end of the school year.”

Christian said he’s used to being away from his mom because he spends his summers with his father in California. And he enjoys the military people his mom associates with and the family events they attend together.

“They do a lot of neat things with the Guard,” Gloria Dooley said. “They went on a rafting trip together, Christian goes to summer camp at Camp Ripley and other things like that for families.”

And if anyone knows about the military experience, it’s the Dooley family. Ed and Gloria, who lived in New Hope for 35 years before moving to Maple Lake, raised nine children, with three of the daughters, including Micki and Bridget, going into the military and serving during the Desert Storm conflict a decade ago. Their story was even featured in an article in the New Hope newspaper.

In addition, Diane’s husband, Pat, was in the Navy and Ed is a Navy veteran.  Now that Micki is supporting the American effort in Iraq, Christian is part of that experience. At Scott Air Force Base, Micki works receiving the wounded American service men and women from Iraq.

It may be a bit early to be making career decisions, but Christian is planning on joining the Army when he’s old enough, to see the world like his mother has, and to help pay his way through school to become a veterinarian.

“I’m really proud of her and that she’s serving her country,” Christian said. “It’s not like she’s sitting back doing nothing while these other people go to war.”

But Christian is looking forward to rejoining his mother, perhaps at the end of the summer, and to the day his mother retires from the military.   “I can’t wait until she’s out so we can get a dog.”  

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