A look at courage and determination, April 2010
For the last four years Operation Comfort has brought the wounded warriors to Galveston, Texas to give them a much needed respite from the rigors of the rehabilitation they endure at Brooks Army Hospital in San Antonio. It was an honor again this year to be able to meet and welcome them to our area. Each year we meet young people missing limbs, baring terrible wounds and burns, in wheel chairs, on crutches, with bandages on various parts of their bodies, but each year I see the same thing. I see young people, up beat, jovial, respectful, hopeful, thankful, appreciative, dignified and determined to overcome the hardships they have undergone and those that face them. they are simply amazing.
Everyone of these wounded warriors were victims of IED's. The couple on the crutches are actually spouses. The young man with the boot on his leg had his foot and ankle injured and his heel crushed. He has had about twelve operations trying to repair his heel and although he finally told them just to take his leg the doctors are determined to repair it and he was scheduled for another operation the following Monday after they return to Brooks. His spouse lost her leg due to cancer. After talking with them I have no doubt whatsoever that they will overcome anything life has thrown them. The young man with the colorful brace on his arm received terrible wounds to his arms and legs from the IED and has spent many hours having operations to repair his muscles. Each one has a story to tell. For the last four years for us they have all been fascinating.
We have our chapter prints drawn by Roland Castanie that we give to them but this year we also have Eagle Head canes for those that need them. Jim Rice, one of our chapter members carves the eagle heads and a wood working group that he works with turns the shafts for the canes. We give them to Veterans that we meet that need them. This year we had three VVA members, Me, Ernest Mathews, and Chuck Boyd there along with two AVVA members, My wife Marilyn and Sheri Teller who is with the Galveston Convention Bureau. I had four of the canes with me and there were five of these veterans who needed one. I ended up giving my cane to one of them but before I did something happened that has been on my mind ever since then. Our Chapter Vice President Ernest Mathews had gone to his truck and got his cane to give to them. Ernest is a 101st Airborne Veteran. "The Screaming Eagles". I know that he loves that Eagle head cane and just the thought that he was willing to part with it for one of these wounded warriors heightens my respect for the Vietnam Veterans that I am blessed to serve with in Chapter 685 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
God bless those wonderful young people and their families. Grant them Strength and God Bless America.
Jim Rose, President
Galveston County Chapter 685
Vietnam Veterans of America