Beth MacDonald’s life story is one of service and commitment to the Special Forces community. She is the Gold Star Spouse of MSG Gregory Trent, who was serving in 3rd Special Forces Group at the time he gave his life. Her current spouse, Mason (a retired KIOWA pilot who served 20 years in the Army), was likewise widowed due to suicide just four months after she was. Together, they raise their children from these previous marriages—Gwen and Eli—today having built a beautiful family from the ashes of tragedy.
While we often tiptoe around discussing these delicate matters, Beth is an open book when it comes to the struggles and triumphs of her family. She wants to talk about it, so that others will know that they are not alone. She insists that Gwen’s father, who she calls “Trent,” would have wanted it that way. “Trent would’ve come back from the dead and kicked my behind if I sat around in a pile of tears every day. He wouldn’t have put up with it if I had role modeled that behavior, so I chose to get up and do something.”
Through her own story, she has also come to understand the challenges unique to the path of widowhood, as well as the ins and outs of SF life. “I’ve seen how hard it is for Gold Star Spouses and soldiers to get their benefits after they have sacrificed for their country,” says Beth; “They have fought so hard for their country, and they shouldn’t have to fight for their benefits. Having someone else like me step in and say ‘Let me take your hand; I’ve been there; let me help you’ is one less thing to have to stress about. After my husband’s passing, when I had to go through VA benefits, I wasn’t in a state where I even knew what was happening. It was then that somebody grabbed my arm and said, ‘I’ve got you.’ And when my current husband Mason retired, somebody grabbed his arm and said, ‘I’ve got you.’ That’s an important thing that people can do for each other. To say, ‘I’m going to take this burden off you, because you have done enough. You have suffered enough.’”
And this is just what Beth has joined the GBF, in the role of Veteran Service Officer, to do. Prior to coming onboard with the GBF, Beth has worked in various roles for 20 years in and around the SF community, always with a focus on serving spouses and families in a resource and support role. Her eclectic career has also included positions with the DOD and Disney Company. A lifelong student with a passion for learning, Beth is a writer whose work was recently published in her first book, “And Still She Rises.”