help of the American Red Cross, a young Marine arrived home in time to say
goodbye to his beloved grandmother.
DeJonge passed away Dec. 27, but not before knowing her beloved grandson,
Marine Pfc. Gregory Bock, was at her bedside, holding her hand. The Marine,
stationed in California, last saw his grandmother six months earlier after
graduating from boot camp. (continued below)
to the Marine’s mother, Laura Bock, the homecoming came after several phone
calls and the help of the American Red Cross.
Wells, Allegany County services manager for the Red Cross of Southwestern New
York, said it is just one of the many services the Red Cross offers to
servicemen and women.
provide services to the armed services such as emergency communication. We do
the paper work and verification for emergency leave after a family member has
called the 800 number with the serviceman’s information. It is a little easier
now, but we’ve been doing it since there have been soldiers,” Wells said.
Bock and DeJonge, it was more than just a service; it was a bittersweet
reunion which ended in a heartfelt farewell.
were able to spend some time together, talk a little bit and say goodbye. It
really meant a lot to both of them,” said Laura Bock, DeJonge’s daughter.
health had been failing for several months, and Bock had been trying to get her
son home in time to be with her mother before she passed away.
a lot with him while he was growing up. She helped out with 4-H and was always
involved in whatever he and the other kids were doing. When he was three she
took him to Florida with her. They just did a lot of stuff together and were
very close. She was very proud that he had become a Marine.
late husband, Robert, served with the Marine Corps.
(Laura and Gregory) came into her room, she smiled when she first saw him. Greg
was able to spend time with her and say goodbye,” said Laura Bock.
health took a turn for the worse in late October, and although Greg asked for
leave, it took verification from the Red Cross for his commanding officer to
grant it, Laura Bock said.
sat heavy-hearted next to my mother in the hospital, I learned that Greg was
coming home. It was such a huge relief, I just cried. Greg stayed overnight
with me in my mother's room where we held her hands as she passed away.
Afterwards, he was also able to get a one-day extension to attend Mom’s funeral
the following Monday. Having Greg home brought a lot of comfort to our family
as we endured this past, grievous week,”
Cross receives funding from Allegany County United Way to support its Services
to the Armed Forces program. For more information, contact Darlene Wells at