Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Appreciate Our Veterans – Gig Line #109


By Marsha M. Brown

Recently my best friend asked me if when I sat down to write GIG LINE I thought about what inspires me. I responded quickly explaining that a lot of things do that…inspire me, that is.

Several very important things inspire me and provide the ‘meat of the matter’ for GIG LINE. First, the good Lord because He has given me a bounty of thoughts, observations and impressions in which to do so; then there’s our children and our grandchildren who love and respect their Daddy and their ‘Pappy’ for his service to our nation. And then there’s our veterans…they’re (you’re) on my mind along with my family in my morning prayers and throughout every single day.

When I hear something positive about veterans on the news, tears fall because a veteran’s sacrifice is being acknowledged in a special way. Sometimes, I clap vigorously and yelp like a wild person when the news accounts are about answered prayers for wounded heroes that brought them much deserved comfort or convenience. And then there are times when I hear that a soldier not only suffered war and the aftermath of physical injuries and/or emotional stress but aggravation, dismay and heartache that they should have never, ever be subjected to…which makes me very sad.

Yep…the veterans that I meet on a fairly regular basis inspire me a lot. Their story is told in their eyes, in their voice and sometimes in their tears. And if you’ve noticed that I always have a lot to share (by nature I am a story teller…what can I say?), the writings  are always true…of those who have touched, influenced or impacted my life…that’s who motivates me to write.

I accept that when readers read my column, folks may see things differently and even disagree; maybe some think I talk too much (its OK…even I think that now and then); and that some readers might look for inclusion of more facts, figures and veteran statistics; political views might be on the wish list which I purposely avoid and a few might like to see less reference to religion (never happen Capt’n) but folks if you’re a new reader of GIG LINE, you’ll learn quickly that what I mostly write is based on hope, praise and support of our veterans.

Imagine just for a second what it would be like here in this beautiful place we call home if we had no military…no protection…no committed souls that give a darn or who don’t give some but all…even with their lives…for us. Think about how vulnerable we would be without the brave spirit, commitment and intelligence that’s exuded by our U. S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Consider the contribution our National Guard makes to our citizens, communities and nation overall when our families suffer disasters by flood, earthquakes and tornados and think also about their contribution to our nations security.

I know a nice fella who so avidly admires our military…all branches and all aspects thereof. He was a member of the National Guard some years ago and he loved the opportunity to serve. Only because of an unknown medical condition at the time he enlisted was he unable to fulfill his goal and make the military his life long career. But to this day, he has served our community as a volunteer fireman with honor, dignity and pride just the same. When he knows we’re underway to plan the annual ‘Salute to Veterans’ event in November, he’s the first to ask, “What can I do to help?” He’s a committed guy…to God, to his family and to all the men and women who have and currently serve in our military today. Thank you Mike!

As I said, m-a-n-y people love and appreciate our veterans…and they do countless things for vets every single day that are often and unintentionally overlooked. They work behind the scenes writing letters, organizing Poppy donation booths, disbursing clothing and personal needs to veterans who are hospitalized and/or home bound. They take time to care for fellow veterans and their families because many of them are also veterans themselves having experienced the scars of service.

I brag on my Billy a lot and you all have heard over and over how much I love him and appreciate his service for us in Vietnam but like my darling, there are many veterans who are faithful, thoughtful and dedicated to preserving our military honors, traditions, history and future. Some of these special folks include Brian Kelly of Southern Shores. A veteran himself, Brian works tirelessly for veterans through the American Legion Post 26 (302 W. Lake Dr. Kill Devil Hills, approx. 9.5 MP behind T-Tops west side of the by-pass). He has been dedicated for years…and years…and years. Brian is one of the first veterans that I came to know and appreciate especially when he showed an interest in GIG LINE and in attending our ‘Salute to Veterans’ big annual program that takes place the Saturday before Veterans Day at Manteo First Assembly. It’s OK with Billy that I love Brian, Clarence Lewis (Post Commander), Charlie Wyman, Bob Maher, Ted and Roger Hemilright, Dean Lewis, Steve Kettells, Joe Hawkins, Clarence Skinner, ‘Punk’ Daniels and a gazillion more heroes all over Dare County. My sweetie pie knows they’ve all been a blessing to me…each and every one!

Then, there’s Pam Buscemi of the Blue Star Mothers of America, a devoted group of women who tirelessly support our deployed troops and our Veterans Advisory Council members all of whom are veterans (except me): Clarence Lewis (Chairman), Dale Draper, Joe Pope, Lynda Hester and Josh Turner who strive with Billy and I on the Council to make things better by creating more awareness and involvement of our Dare County veterans who number several thousand by the way…they are all very committed too. And what about members of the revitalized V.F.W. Post 10950? (same location as our American Legion) and the businesses who give our vets a break at the register when they check out? Jeepers folks…it would take another whole page to even begin to address the people who care and work behind the scenes to support our veterans.

Through GIG LINE, I am but a mouthpiece…merely a vessel that God has used to pour out and convey the feelings of the vets I have had the privilege to meet and the non veteran folks who love them too…just like me. And to put it bluntly, our County of Dare is kickin’ butt…seriously. We’re all working to get things done for our veterans and I’m not surprised that we’ve been complimented by neighboring county veterans who want a unified show of support as well. From our Dare County Commissioners to our County Manager to countless county employees and staff including of course our dedicated Veteran Service Officer Rhonda Creef – to all local veteran entities, we are making a difference together and in the near future, you’ll hear more of what will be in store on behalf of our veterans this year. As I’ve said before…their (your) sacrifice is NOT forgotten.

Here I go again being long winded…but seriously, keep abreast of what’s going on; take a part and join in and whether you’re a veteran or not, please help us help them. We can use your help in many different ways…and the gratification you’ll get from knowing you stepped up and honored our men and women…will lift you to a higher plain…I promise. Let yourself be used for good…for good of others who deserve it.

Don’t forget: each Wednesday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM veterans who present their DD-214 showing Honorable Discharge and proof of local address preferably Driver’s License (just to show it – it will not be kept or copied) can obtain their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card for discounts at 37 Outer Banks business locations AND…drum roll please…SUGAR CREEK can be added to your list of places to save money! Yay!!!!! Ervin Bateman has signed up to offer Dare County veterans “20% off entrée (excludes daily specials & cannot be used with any promotions, discounts or coupons) when you present your Dare County issued Veteran I.D. Card. Thank you Ervin!! So, if you don’t already have your ‘Card’, please take the time to meet Billy and get it next Wednesday at the American Legion Post 26 Kill Devil Hills.

Fourth of July is just ahead wonderful people! Get ready to celebrate who we are and where we are and why we’re free to be WHAT we are! Invite a veteran for a hot dog or burger on the grill…tell them what they mean to you…thank them for what they have done for all of us…maybe even read our Constitution out loud at your picnic or a passage from the Bible…maybe just silently and privately thank God for our brave, selfless troops that have and are serving us today in this troubled world.

We invite veterans and their families to call if you need us or if we can refer someone to you who can help your circumstance in some way. My cell (252) 202-2058. Next week, I’ll update you and list all of the businesses who support you by offering a discount when you present your Dare County Veteran I.D. Card.

Happy 4th of July everybody!! Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Without a doubt, we live in the GREATEST land there is! Stay tuned and God bless America!!

Contact the Editor

Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at editor@giglineheroes.com.  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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