HOUSTON - She personifies strength, courage and hope. Jacki Dowling is as tough as they come.
"I have to be. I have no choice," Dowling said.
For nearly five months now, her husband of 20 years, HFD Captain William Dowling has been fighting for his life. Jacki has been by his side ever since as he continues down this long and difficult road to recovery.
"I love being with him so I don't get away too much," Dowling said.
On Sunday, Jacki and her three kids did get away. They got to travel to Kansas City for the Texans game after a local company gave them a free trip.
Conseair, offers all-inclusive travel packages to away games. It's the first time she's been this far away from Bill since that tragic day.
"I decided it was the chance of a lifetime so I absolutely said yes," Dowling said.
They arrived at hobby airport before the crack of dawn for the one and a half hour flight to Kansas City, and then it was off to Arrowhead Stadium for some tailgating. Once inside the stadium, Dowling and the entire contingency of Texans Fans cheered as loud as they could.
Dowling says JJ Watt and Earl Mitchell are her favorites but she was quite impressed with starting quarterback Case Keenum's performance on the field.
"I feel like it's a fresh start. Clean slate," Dowling said.
The Chiefs may have won but the Texans loss didn't dampen Dowling's spirit. She couldn't help but think the whole experience is something her husband would have enjoyed and in her heart, knows he will again, someday.
"Get better because your turn is next. We're going next," Dowling said.
Captain Dowling is expected to return home next month and will continue therapy on an outpatient basis. Jacki Dowling says she is humbled and beyond overwhelmed by all the prayers and continued support from the community.
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