If you pick up the March issue of Time Magazine you may see a familiar face. Inside is an article titled "The Lucky Ones" featuring injured soldiers who barely made it out of Iraq alive. One of them is Wakulla High School graduate Therese Frentz.
For Kevin and Val Frentz, the war in Iraq strikes too close to home. Their daughter Therese flew back to the states mangled and burned to the bone, the result of a suicide bomber inside an Iraqi cafe.
Kevin Frentz, her father, says, “She doesn't know other than she heard explosion, then another explosion and she went flying.”
Just one hour before the blast she was a seemingly happy and confident officer dedicated to the Air Force and Intelligence Gathering.
Val Frentz, her stepmother, says, “That's the reason she joined the Air Force. She wanted to be the best OSI agent she could be.”
It’s a perfectionist attitude that stems from her early years as valedictorian at Wakulla High. Seven years later the over-achiever received another top honor of the Purple Heart.
Kevin says, “You saw a weight lifted off her shoulders as a result of the Purple Heart. It gave validation to her and what she's been through.”
Today, Therese is still recovering from third degree burns, the loss of hearing in one ear and emotional scars. She resides in San Antonio, Texas, where her twin sister Thera spent the last several months at her bedside. As for her tour in Iraq, Therese shows little regret.
Val says, “She regrets being in the green zone that day, but doesn't regret being an OSI officer or in the Air Force.”
In fact, she plans on continuing her career when the wounds finally heal.
Therese was injured on October 14 of 2004, just weeks before she was coming home to stay. You can read her story in Time Magazine's March 21 issue.