COLONIE, N.Y. - Organizations in the Capital Region got together Wednesday to give back to a military family in Colonie as part of a "Keys to Progress" program.
The Lautenschlager family's story is truly a unique one; an example of hope, survival and sacrifice.
Master Sgt Eric Lautenschlager has been taking the bus to work everyday, giving up the car so his wife can use it to take their children for medical treatments.
Lautenschlager's son has Asbergers and his daughter has Down syndrome and Epilepsy. In addition, his daughter suffers from Infantile Spasms which has caused brain damage and as a result has left her unable to talk or walk at the age of four.
The family is living on a single income as Lacey Lautenschlager resigned from her job of a teacher for ten years to become the full time caretaker for their children.
Due to the family's financial hardships on a single income, Eric had to sell his car and now takes the bus to and from work. When his wife has to take their daughter to Boston for medical treatments, he is forced to go into work late or take work off completely.
"It's a lot of compromise. It's not always easy," Lacey said. "Right now every morning we get in the car at six thirty to take Eric to the bus stop."
But their family routine is about to change, as they were given a new refurbished car on Wednesday from H & V Collisions and Progressive Insurance.
They say due to the family's commitment to their children and hardship, they were presented with a newly restored 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe in Albany.
Lacey and Eric have been married for almost fifteen years. And during those years Lacey says there were days wondering if her husband will ever return home. Eric has been serving since 1996 in the US Army as a bomb specialist and currently in the New York Army National Guard.
The Lautenschlagers say their relationship is a true testament for their love and commitment for one another and hope their story inspires other families.
The gift would not have happened without the help of one local woman close to the family.
Carrie Farley, the President of the Albany Chapter of the the American Gold
Star Mothers, says she knows all too well the struggles of a military family. Her
son was killed in action back in August of 2010. He was a bomb technician just
Farley has been close to the Lautenschlager family ever since, delivering meals for
them when Lacey had to get back surgery.
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