Central Texas couple finds stability in military life

Posted at 6:26 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:10-04

The Riveras have overcome the loss of a company and experienced potentially deadly medical issues, and oddly enough, the ever-changing military life has provided them stability through it all. 

"I need you to go join the military... she's like 'you're out of your stinkin' mind,'" Juan Rivera said.

 Juan and Tawny Rivera made a  decision that would keep their family afloat after losing nearly everything. 

"It's out of a sense of duty, first and foremost to our family, which you've got to respect that no matter what and admire it... and then also from a sense of duty and desire to serve our country," Juan said. 

The Riveras used to own a construction company but after being open for only two and a half years, the drop in the economy forced them to close their doors, making it tough for Juan, a former Marine, to find work.  

"And that's just for me what you do when you're married if your spouse is, you know, we find ourselves on hard times and your spouse can't find a job... they're the ones that are the breadwinner, then it's time for the other half to step up essentially," Tawny said. 

So, Tawny enlisted in the United States Army. 

But, they would've never expected what would come next.

Juan would have a stroke only a couple of days into Tawny's basic training.

"Is he going to be okay, am I now gonna have to deal with not only finishing what I started not only for myself but for my son, and am I gonna have to do it without the partner that I've started it with?" Tawny added. 

Her husband won that battle but little did they know a war was on its way. 

Juan was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, and hospitalized in 2013.

"I was having to remind him to take breaths. I finally talked to the doctors and said, he's not normal like there's something wrong. You guys need to check him. So, they did lab work and it came back that his kidneys were failing and that they weren't flushing out the medication properly," Tawny said.  

Despite going into hospice care, Juan eventually won that battle, too. 

But, while on her latest deployment overseas, Tawny received this phone call:

"I've got bad news the cancer's come back..." Juan said.

Luckily, Tawny married a fighter, and Juan is now in remission for the second time. 

After finishing her degree, Tawny was selected for Officer Candidate School and is now an officer in the United States Army. Juan has supported her every step of the way in her new career, even to the point of becoming a Family Readiness Group leader. 

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