Cassie and Hospital Corpsman 1st class Ryan Lohrey had just celebrated their first month of marriage when tragedy struck. On July 10, Ryan, 30, died in a military plane crash during training in Mississippi.
“ in shock,” Cassie, 34, tells PEOPLE of the moment she first got the news. “We were just getting our life started together. We wanted a family. We had so many plans and they were just left unfinished.”
But Cassie, of Hampstead, North Carolina, experienced some joy in the midst of the tragedy. Just weeks after Ryan’s death, Cassie learned she was pregnant with their first child.
“I’m very excited and happy to have a piece of him left with me for the rest of my life,” she says. “I knew he wouldn’t leave me alone. I’m overwhelmed with joy and grateful.”
As Cassie prepared for motherhood, she chose to honor her husband during their baby’s gender reveal party, vowing to hold the event on Veteran’s Day. She enlisted the help of 16 service members who were friends with Ryan.
Cassie says the number became even more significant when she learned that exactly 16 people died in the plane crash. Getting the Marine and Navy men together wasn’t difficult though, Cassie …read more