A recent, late Wednesday night was the culmination of 300 (sometimes very long) days for Natalie Dodson. Her husband, Jeremy walked off a plane at the Springfield airport in return from deployment with the United States Army, embracing his family again for the first time in nearly a year.

Natalie Dodson and family“I was so excited, but also nervous to figure out what it’s like to live with someone all over again,” Natalie laughed.

Natalie, assistant vice president, mortgage lending for INB, has been balancing motherhood, running her household, and serving her clients at INB over the last year while her husband has been serving his country overseas. Some days were extremely trying – like when vehicles broke down or her son broke his arm.

“But I got into a routine, figured out what would make our days easier and make our house run as smoothly as possible,” she said. “I learned to love things like HyVee delivery and Amazon Prime. I did whatever I could to make it work!”

The Mission

Jeremy Dodson served on a transportation unit in Kuwait, where his unit provided support with driving or servicing vehicles like Humvees, tanks or semis. Half of his unit worked a day shift, while the other half worked a night shift (which Natalie preferred so that his schedule better matched with Illinois’ time zone!)

Jeremy serves as a platoon sergeant. He joined the Army after 9/11 and went to basic training during the summer between his junior and senior years in high school. This was his second deployment during their marriage and third deployment overall; he was last deployed in 2007-2008.

The Home Front

Natalie points to INB’s consistent support in keeping her family life and career running smoothly while Jeremy was serving.

“INB worked with me really well. Many mornings in the spring, I would get my son to football practice at 5:30 a.m. and work all day; then if my daughter had softball at 6 p.m., I would go home early and feed her dinner, go straight to softball and get home at 8 most nights. We have some family who were able to help, but it was mostly just me,” she said.

“INB let me know that if I ever needed anything, they knew I was handling things by myself and wanted to support me. They were very understanding while he was gone. I took a few days off before he left and when he returned; it’s important that I’m still getting my work done, but they know my family has needed me more than ever in the last year and a half.”

Natalie said the understanding of her children was also paramount to her continuing to serve her INB mortgage clients well during that time. “They knew if I had to take off early for a doctor appointment or a softball game, I would still need to take calls or return emails or run loan applications. I even brought my daughter into the office on some Saturdays,” she said.

Because of Natalie’s personal experience during Jeremy’s deployment, she knows that INB can be a source of support for other families in the same situation.

Support for Military Runs Deep

“Many of us at INB know what military members and veterans are going through and what their spouses are going through; we understand that it takes a lot of support for military service,” she said.

Pleasant Plains branch staffIn fact, several INB staff were on hand to welcome the local soldiers returning with Jeremy’s group. INB’s Marsha Shomidie, Betsy Norvell and Ashley Pond proudly showed the bank’s appreciation as six other soldiers from Jeremy’s group arrived or drove through Pleasant Plains on their way home Pleasant Plains, Ashland and Virginia.

As Natalie’s family adjusts to Jeremy’s return, they are keeping it simple and are grateful for this time together.

“We’ve been trying to plan fun things as a family since his return because those are the things we were looking forward to the most,” Natalie said. “He missed out on a lot – birthdays, holidays, an entire softball season, the kids’ first day of school – and we’re excited to have him back for all those memories this year.”

Natalie Dodson, NMLS #574151