Simone Sisco ’14 enrolled in Concordia University Irvine's Liberal Arts program in 2012 to complete her bachelor’s degree and become a teacher.
“Concordia worked with my being a full-time mom and having a full-time job,” she says. “It was perfect.”
But before she could start classes in the fall of 2012, she received a devastating phone call from the U.S. Department of Defense: her oldest son, Jordan, who was serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, had stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) while patrolling on foot.
“They didn’t know if he would survive,” Simone says. “They had to amputate both legs, and he had substantial injuries to his body. I just went numb.”
Simone, who lives in Corona, spent the next year in Texas, helping to care for Jordan through a series of surgeries. “It was a day-to-day thing for a while,” she says. “Every day he made improvements.”
She took Jordan to and from therapy, cooked for him and cared for him while living in a nearby guest house. Her employer allowed her to take a leave of absence, and she flew home once a month for a few days to care for her other children.
Concordia worked with my being a full-time mom and having a full-time job....The program was so manageable, the staff and teachers so available that it made the transition easy.
“It was the lowest time of my life, but I did feel God’s strength with me,” she says. “I don’t take little things for granted now. Even looking outside to see what God made: landscapes, animals. It makes you appreciate everything because life is so precious.”
Jordan healed well and returned home in 2013. Simone didn’t feel ready to start college again but thought it best to “keep my mind busy, get back into it and try it,” she says. “Coming to Concordia was so uplifting, the people and surroundings. My teachers were so understanding and I learned so much from them. It really was a transitional process for me.”
Returning to college after twenty years away “was a little scary,” she says, but “the program was so manageable, the staff and teachers so available that it made the transition easy. It was such a great experience.”
Jordan now lives with Simone and is attending junior college and adapting to the “new normal” of life in a wheelchair.
“I know God has a plan for Jordan and I can’t wait to see it,” Simone says.
Simone completed her bachelor’s degree at Concordia in 2014 and is now in a credential program to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher.
“I’m excited,” she says. “It’s been a long road but I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.”