Michelle Cherland is a wife, mother of seven and a teacher — she’s also a soldier.
Dozens spent the Memorial Day holiday at the Atria Palm Desert giving thanks to Cherland for her service and sacrifice.
“I’m very proud of her, all the things she’s done and gone through,” said Cherland’s husband Rod.
“I’m proud of her because she goes to war to protect America,” said her former student Dillon.
Serving 20 years in the military come December, the Palm Desert mom will be deployed to Afghanistan to serve her third tour leading convoy operations as a plans officer.
“I’m ready to do it. I sacrifice for the people I love,” she said.
The kindergarten teacher will spend 400 days in the line of duty — a sacrifice for the entire family.
“I just love her will all of my heart, I’m here to support her in any way I can,” said Rod.
Cherland first joined the army in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and she’s taken on leadership in the Coachella Valley.
The funds raised at the event will go to her foundation Operation Desert Warm to help homeless veterans in need.
“It gives them coats, jackets, blankets and socks to help them,” said Cherland.
She’ll be leaving the classroom and entering a war zone, but not forgetting the true meaning behind the holiday.
“I’ll be leaving my students, that’s so hard too. But I always taught them today is not just a day off of school, it’s that we remember our soldiers,” she said.