With danger comes the ‘opportunity to serve’ and protect

A Becca Specialist at Lake Washington High School (LWHS) and mother of four, Mary Jo Bogden is reminded of how vulnerable her son is every time she passes Jake Herring’s football jersey on display at the school. A 2001 graduate with her son Michael, Sgt. Herring was killed in Iraq.

Redmond resident Mary Jo Bogden

A Becca Specialist at Lake Washington High School (LWHS) and mother of four, Mary Jo Bogden is reminded of how vulnerable her son is every time she passes Jake Herring’s football jersey on display at the school. A 2001 graduate with her son Michael, Sgt. Herring was killed in Iraq.

“To this day, I don’t know why he joined,” the Redmond resident said on a recent afternoon at her office. “He felt it was his opportunity to serve.”

Michael, now 28, served 16 months in Iraq and is currently on the outskirts of Kandahar, Afghanistan at a base called Rocky Edgerton. Bogden pauses to grab a tissue as she describes the base, which was named after her son’s best friend.

“Rocky’s birthday was July 9 and an IED (improvised explosive device) killed him on July 10,” she said. “Mike said the most difficult part of that was putting Edgerton’s name on everything there. Worse day of their lives. This was devastating.”

Bogden received a “red alert” when Edgerton was killed, notifying families of the casualty. She scrolls through her e-mail inbox on the computer and opens a red alert notifying her that another one of Michael’s good friends was recently killed by an IED.

“It scares the crap out of me,” Bogden said of the alerts. “But I know if I’m getting a red alert nobody’s coming to my door.”

She said her biggest fear is the IED threat, but she feels secure that her son has moved up through the ranks quickly and is now a staff sergeant who spends less time out in the field.

On Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day, LWHS’s Beta Club will team with LWHS’s Honor Society, GSA, Key Club, Loyalty and its Leadership class to host a “packing party” at VFW Post 2995 in Redmond.

Though she tries not to think about the war too often, she ends up checking her e-mail daily and waiting for her cell phone to ring.

“I’m never without my cell phone because I never know when I’m going to get a phone call from him. We curse each other if one of us misses a call,” Bogden said of her husband, Nick.

She also said the community has been very supportive and she is thankful her son’s troop will soon be the recipient of some of the packages.

Michael will come home next November, in time for his parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. He plans to finish college and work for Homeland Security.

“As difficult as war is, I think this will change Michael forever,” said Bogden. “But I think the change will be good.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

Senior community hosts ‘Parade of Love’

The social distancing event was a chance for family and friends to share how much they miss their high-risk family members

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Exterior of the Redmond Historical Society office. File photo
Redmond Historical Society is documenting COVID-19’s impact on community

Submissions will be included in the organization’s archives.

Is it safe to go to the dentist?

What precautions are dentists taking to protect patients?

Little Bit riding center in Redmond counting on upcoming virtual fundraiser

The 35th annual Reins of Life Gala Auction is going virtual this year, including an online auction, raise the paddle and online event.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Redmond Middle School student raises money for low-income families

Om Shah, 13, created a GoFundMe to support the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.

Madison Miller/staff photo
                                Aleana Roberts tries out the Jelly Jolts’ braille menu at Molly Moon’s on Feb. 23. From left: Roberts, Sanj Saini, Varnika Bhargava and Katiali Singh.
LWSD teens reveal braille menu at Molly Moon’s in Redmond

From 3-5 p.m. on Feb. 23, all sales from Molly Moon’s went to the Lighthouse for the Blind.

Standing room only at historical talk on Redmond’s ties to fascism

Redmond Historical Society presents latest installment of Saturday Speaker Series.