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Cpl. Michelle Salazar, wireman and telephone investigator, Headquarters and Services Battalion, and her husband, Lance Cpl. Alejandro, wireman at the Communications School, hold the teddy bear of their late daughter, Alexa, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. After their two-month old daughter passed while sleeping in January, the couple made it their mission to help infants in need.

Photo by Ameesha Felton

Marine family turns tragedy into mission to help impoverished infants

27 Jun 2013 | Ameesha Felton

Cpl. Michelle Salazar and her husband, Lance Cpl. Alejandro Salazar, turned what began as a tragedy into to an opportunity to help infants in need.

During the day, Michelle, field wireman and telephone investigator at Headquarters and Service Battalion, directs telephone calls for base information aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.  However, her evenings and weekends are spent with her husband, Alejandro, wireman at the Communications School, rallying up donations of clothes and essential items for newborn babies who are born into poverty.

The Salazar family’s efforts are for “Alexa’s Wings,” a non-profit chapter of Newborns in Need, Inc., which the couple began in March, 2013 to keep the memory of their daughter, Alexa, alive. Newborns in Need, Inc., a nationwide organization with more than 60 chapters across the United States, has a mission to provide essential items for impoverished families or families whose babies lost their battle for life.

Alexa was born Nov. 26, 2012. However, only two months later, her life was cut short when she passed away while sleeping. The cause of death was undetermined.

 It was a devastating blow for the parents.

 While searching for the next step in their grief, the Salazar family said they found consolation in the idea of offering Alexa’s clothes to someone in need.

“After the initial shock, my husband and I decided to donate her clothing to families in need instead of selling it for money,” Michelle said.

After researching online, Michelle found the nearest organization geared toward infants in need, at the time, was nearly three hours away in Virginia Beach, Va. 

“I contacted the president [of Newborns in Need, Inc., in Virginia Beach, Va.] and she said it would be a good idea to start one here because there’s a big need in the Prince William County Area,” Michelle said. “[Furthermore], I figured people wouldn’t want to drive to all the way Tidewater to get what they need or donate.”

For the couple, it was an opportunity to give back, but also heal.

“If anyone else finds themselves in our situation, I think they should find a positive way to cope with their grief — for us it was helping others,” Alejandro said.

What started as a way to cope has become a passion.

In the future, Michelle hopes the program can become a dominant resource for families in Northern Virginia but more specifically for Marines and families here at Quantico. 

“I’d like to see something like this on every military installation, because when our daughter passed, both of our commands didn’t know something so helpful existed,” Michelle said.

For the Salazar family, Alexa may be physically gone but her spirit lives on through their service to other families.

“I believe that God knows when we’re going to die before we are born and, to us, maybe she was only meant to live for that long for this reason,” Michelle said. “Our mission now is to let families  know there’s always hope and that they aren’t alone.”

For information about “Alexa’s Wings” visit, www.alexaswings.blogspot.com .

Staff Writer: afelton@quanticosentryonline.com


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Marine Corps Base Quantico