Monday, August 9, 2010
Not half a man, a man and a half....
There's a man that I see every once in a while at work that has come and gone over the last ten years. He's a contractor, so we never know when he'll show up or how long he will stay.
He likes to talk, a very good conversationalist if you have time to listen, and today, I am so glad I took the time.
He began with, "hey did I ever tell you about my daughters Purple Heart Medal?"
I immediately thought, oh man. He lost his daughter. I was sad instantly. I stood with him for a few minutes, and said, "tell me about it".
He smiled and said, well she graduated high school this year. Because she volunteers uncountable hours to the ROTC program for young adults, they arranged for a cadet to come to her graduation ceremony, and present her with the Purple Heart.
I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. Thank God she's still alive, and how cool is this?
I told him that was awesome, and really nice that they took the time to recognize her for her efforts, especially since her volunteer work, was all about recognizing them.
He told me that because of her, he too had become involved in volunteering. I asked, "In what capacity?"
"You know when you go to Wal-Mart, or the grocery story, and you see the ROTC members or civilians sitting behind a large banner on a table, with plenty pf pens available for you to either sign the banner, or, sign but also write a little note? That's what my daughter and I do, amongst other things".
He said that it was really easy to talk himself out of the time he gives, especially if it's raining, or the weekend has fantastic weather and he just wants to go have fun, etc. He paused and said, "but there's a young man that changed that for me".
"His name is Josh, he's 23 years old, and has prosthetic legs" he explained.
I thought to myself, yet another reminder of what I always say, "you have absolutely nothing in the world to complain about".
"Josh walked up to my table one Saturday morning, and thanked me for what I'm doing"
My coworker, as I mentioned, is a great conversationalist. He asked him about his life. He didn't come right out and ask what happened to him, he just gently eased him into the telling of his story. Josh didn't give many details. He was riding with several people in a large vehicle (I can't be specific on the make because he didn't mention it) that was unfortunately bombed. Josh was the only one that was hurt severely. After talking for well over an hour, Josh shared that after the accident, he had been in a very dark place for a while. Thoughts of taking his own life surfaced many times, to the point of his parents staying with him around the clock for several months, to make sure he didn't follow through with that unfortunate idea. He said he felt like half a man.
He teared up when he told me that he said to Josh, "You are not half a man. You are a man and a half. And I thank you for every single thing you did, and are doing, to support this country we live in"
Josh shook my friends hand, and my friend hugged him. Like a Dad hugs his own son. He ended up meeting Josh's parents that day, and even got Josh's phone number. That was over a year ago, he talks to Josh once a week, (he lives on the east coast now) and also speaks with Josh's parents every so often.
Josh tells him that he doesn't have to call if he doesn't want to.
He smiled at me and said, I will call him every week until I am no longer here. He thinks I'm helping him. But what he doesn't know, is he's inspiring me.
I hope you have inspiration in your life, every day.
PS "Taking Texas to Our Injured Troops" is the campaign my coworker is involved with. A retired country music producer that is now employed with KSCS Radio 96.3 in Dallas developed the idea, and ran with it.
Rather then embed the video on you tube, I will provide the URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH7AY3Arzao