A Passion to Serve the People Who Have Served All of Us.
When I noticed a man wearing dark athletic shoes with stars on the back, I asked if there was a story behind the shoes. Yes, and it’s a compelling and far-reaching one!
A fellow blogger and friend, Joy Neal Kidney, has this great post on her site about a Marion [Iowa] Police Officer and U.S. Air Force veteran Ron Slagle and his family who designed a shoe so they could help first responders and military personnel with any mental health crisis they might be suffering.
Today, a Veterans Referring Veterans social is being held at Four Brothers Mead in Festus, Missouri. Sadly, I was unable to attend due to a previous engagement. These are a great bunch of people.
A Silent Auction for a Great Cause
At this social, a silent auction is being held to raise money for Lukas, the young son of a Marine Corp veteran and the owner of True Allegiance Flag Co, who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.
Rob, the owner of this amazing veteran-owned company, makes rustic wooden American flags you can proudly display in your home or office.
A signed set of my JD Cordell Action Series books was donated for this auction, as well as many other amazing products from veteran-owned businesses across the nation.
Lukas was taken to the local emergency room on Friday, October 16, 2020 for fever, bruising, and soreness. After blood work, it was discovered that Lukas’s platelets were extremely low and his white blood cell count was extremely high. The doctors decided to transport Lukas via ambulance to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis (2 hours away from home).
It was there, around 1:30am, October 17, 2020, that the doctors delivered the news to Lukas’s parents that he has Leukemia. It was determined they would immediately start a blood transfusion to get his platelet count up (which had dropped even lower since the previous test), then later on in the day decide which type of Leukemia he has and start chemotherapy Monday, October 19, 2020.
Later that day, it was determined that Lukas has Type B Leukemia (which apparently is the better of the two types). The plan to start chemotherapy Monday is still in place, and no surgery or radiation will be needed. He will also have a bone marrow biopsy and spinal type very soon. Lukas will be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks as of right now.
Jessie and Rob have 4 other children between the two of them that will be at home during this time. Jessie has two full time jobs, and Rob owns his own business making fantastic works of art out of wood. However, with them being two hour away from home and family, neither of them will be able to work during this time to provide for their family.
It is our hope to be able to raise enough money for lodging, gas money, food, and ALL bills while their little family undergoes this hardship. We know that our God is a mighty God and He will provide!! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to support this magnificent family!
I know a lot of people are having a tough time right now, but …
Some of you may recall Operation Holiday salute from last year – well you all did such an AMAZING job that Veteran’s Last Patrol decided to make this annual effort!
Teachers, managers, families, coaches, associations, companies…this is a GREAT group project. There are veterans who are in hospice care confined due to social distancing that could use extra love this holiday season. Please take an hour or so out of your day to write to them.
As you know, I recently discovered an organization called Veterans Referring Veterans. This group exists to help veterans support and promote each other’s business and reach new customers through online networking. I have been delighted with what I have seen so far.
Thursday night “Happy Hour”
Each Thursday night, we have a Happy Hour with a veteran presenting something about his or her business, followed by open questions and discussion. I have met veterans who run companies selling maple syrup, clothing, metal-working projects, jewelry, and wood-working products. I met the author of a series of children’s books. And I have met financial, marketing, business consultants, personal coaches … you name it.
I even met a veteran who’s father is a famous wood-worker who did a great deal of wood carving for Disney and who has carvings all over the world, many ordered by well-known celebrities. He did not follow in his father’s footsteps, however. He is the children’s book author I mentioned above. The point is, I have meant some fascinating people.
Last week, the presenter was a member of the Four Brothers Mead business partnership. This team, consisting of two blood brothers, a brother-by-marriage, and a brother-by-combat, decided to make mead for family gatherings. They really got into it and came up with an excellent product. Demand increased, and they decided to go for it. It is a great story.
These guys, at least two of Nordic ancestry, follow the same recipe that has been used to make mead for over a thousand years. They use all local honey and no artificial ingredients. They do offer flavored varieties, such as blackberry, to which they add a few, you guessed it, actual blackberries. They offer a maple version, the one I ordered, to which they add just a little maple syrup from a veteran-owned maple farm in Vermont (but that is the subject of a future blog post). And it is simply outstanding!
They will soon be offering a bourbon-flavored version. Nothing added – just aged in old charred-oak bourbon barrels. Being an aficionado of good bourbon, I can’t wait for this one to come out.
Anyway, if you want to try something different, I can definitely recommend the YGGDRASIL SAP! And, if it is any kind of an indicator, the other versions will be excellent as well.
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A few missions back, we sent out cards to the vets that Veteran’s Last Patrol works with. I recently learned that one of their volunteers could use some ‘get well’ messages from all of us. Here is what Veteran’s Last Patrol founder, Claude Schmid shared with me about Art Allum:
One of Last Patrol’s earliest volunteers, Art Allum, has been a rock and a gentleman. Art’s a submariner who did 20 years in the Navy. He visits veterans in hospice to provide that end-of-life friendship we’re all about. He’s also gone the extra mile to help at least one track down an important personal record. Beyond that, Art has made food can goods deliveries to veterans unable to leave their homes, he’s participated in numerous honor ceremonies, and has driven disabled, solitary veterans to medical appointments. (The last two have been over 100 miles away.)
It is often interesting to me how we take other people we meet for granted, not bothering to listen to or learn about one another. I recently met a man named Calvin who I discovered, served in the 101st Airborne Division. This turned into a conversation, because I too, served with the 101st. But, by that time it had been transformed into the 101st Air Assault Division. Of course, Calvin is about 85 and I am 59. So, we served during different eras.
And as a side note, I recently learned that at least some units of the 101st have gone back to being Airborne.
Veteran and artist!
During the course of our discussions, it came out that I had published my first novel, titled Serpents Underfoot, a short time back, and that I am now working on its sequel, Montagnard. Of course, he wanted a signed hard-cover copy of Serpents Underfoot which I provided.
An artist utilizing vibrant colors and sharp contrast!
I then learned that, Calvin too was also an artist … a painter. And that he’d been painting for about 30 years. I learned that Vincent Van Gogh was one of his favorite painters and you can see that influence in the work he does. He is also was a fan of Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor focusing on the American west, and a favorite of mine.
Calvin Edney has been a soldier, a grocer, a bookstore owner, a vegetable store owner, a butcher, and now … a painter. He was active in several Asheville galleries in previous years, but now mostly paints in his apartment relying on memories of scenes which stuck in his mind and are created on the canvas. Calvin has sold a good number of his paintings, including one to a former Ingles CEO. He also hosts exhibits at his apartment home.
December 7th Show
Saturday, December 7, 2019 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Tree Top Apartments Asheville, NC
This is Calvin’s home. Over 140 originals hang on his walls. For more information, click here!
If you are going to be in the Asheville area on December 7th, you should stop by and meet this 101st Airborne Veteran and amazing painter. I think you will enjoy the paintings and the conversation, as well as the wine, cheese, and crackers he serves during the show.
I will start saving up my pennies, so I can afford one of his paintings some time soon.
Happy Veterans Day! In honor of Veterans Day, the Kindle version of Serpents Underfoot will be available from Amazon.com for free on Sunday, November 11th and Monday, November 12th.
There are no gimmicks or requirements! However, if you were to enjoy the book and want to give me a review on Amazon, I would not strenuously object.
A few Happy Veterans Day quotes:
I’m trying to raise the awareness of the troops that, when they deploy and go to war, it’s not just them at war – it’s also their family. Their family is having to go through all the hardships and the stresses.
~ Chis Kyle
The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they’re protecting us.
~ Tom Clancy
The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect.
~ Bill Frist
And, a few Happy Veterans Day cartoons!
On a more personal note:
We all need to give Veterans Day and our veterans the respect they deserve. Members of my family have served this nation going all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Several of my best friends have been Vietnam Vets. This is not unique and I am sure there are many families like mine. People who love this country and are willing to write that blank check to serve and protect it. When you see a veteran … thank him, shake his hand, or even buy his lunch. He has certainly earned it!
A former Marine I recently met, Frank Lazzaro, who’d served in the Vietnam war. shared this poem he’d written on PTSD some time ago. He told me I could share it if I wished to. I did think it was pretty good and definitely worth sharing, so I decided to post it here. I hope you enjoy it.