President Donald Trump will address the country with his third State of the Union speech on Tuesday. As per custom, he and First Lady Melania Trump will have a group of select honored guests sitting in the audience, which will include Kelli and Gage Hake representing Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Michael Hake, who died on March 24, 2008, while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Born on August 17, 1981, Hake was only 26 years old when he was killed in Baghdad, as reported by the Military Times. Originally from Enid, Oklahoma, Hake left behind his wife, Kelli Hake, whom he married in 2004, and their 1-year-old son, Gage, who is now 13.
The late Army Sergeant was previously honored by the Oklahoma Senate. During an Easter Sunday remembrance, Senator Patrick Anderson said Hake “carried a passion for serving his country and community that inspired everyone around him. His leadership and patriotism were an example to all of us.”
Hake was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, in Fort Stewart, Georgia. While stationed in Baghdad, he sustained fatal injuries after his vehicle suddenly encountered a roadside bomb. Four other soldiers that died alongside him: Private First Class (PFC) George Delgado, PFC Andrew J. Habsieger, and Corporal Jose A. Rubio Hernande.
Kelli, who studied nutritional science at Oklahoma State University, was not prepared to suddenly become a single mother. Nearly 12 years later, her Facebook profile picture remains a photo of her fallen husband’s tombstone. Hake was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service.
Kelli Is Engaged To Jeff Warner & They Welcomed Daughter Gracie In 2012
While Kelli continues to honor and remember her late husband, she mentioned to reporter CNN’s Brooke Baldwin about the letter Hake wrote to her son one month before dying. Hake said that he promised to teach to Gage to ride a bike, proudly watch him plays sports, and see him have children of his own one day – none which come to fruition.
However, Kelli found the strength to move forward in life and has since found love with fiancé Jeff Warner. Together, they gave Gage a little sister named Gracie. The family lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The enjoy attending OSU football games and traveling to watch Warner’s favorite MLB team, the New York Yankees.
Kelli Hake Found Solace In Qasem Soleimani’s Death, Who’s Credited For Supplying The Roadside Bomb Which Killed Her Husband
In January 2020, Kelli was featured on CNN during a special tribute to her husband ahead of Trump’s SOTU address.. Kelli described the justice she felt knowing terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani was killed by U.S. military. She said she felt relief “knowing he couldn’t hurt anyone else. It felt like a burden off my chest that he was gone and that I didn’t have to worry so much.”
When she first learned her husband died, “It was 6 o’clock in the morning. There was a knock on the door, a day before Easter Sunday. My son was still in his bed sleeping…. I looked through the window by the front my house and realized it was men in uniform. I opened the door, and wasn’t quite comprehending what they were there for until they asked me if I was Mrs. Christopher Michael Hake… and when I realized what they were asking, I said, ‘No,’ and shut the door.”
After she was able to gather her emotionns, Kelli re-opened the door to hear what happened to her husband. “It was the hardest day of my life,” Kelli said.