By Marsha M. Brown
If you remember from a very recent GIG LINE, I told you all that an event was in the works to honor and support a Vietnam veteran who resides in Dare County. We’re moving along with the planning of the event and in next Sunday, July 28th GIG LINE, I’ll include even more specifics to encourage you to make plans to attend. What I ask of you now though is to P-L-E-A-S-E mark your calendar to join us.
The “FISH FRY TO BENEFIT RICHARD & ANNA BAUM” will be held on Saturday, August 3rd at 11:00 a.m. at the Manteo First Assembly Youth House (located across the street from the Outer Banks Hotline Thrift Store). The meal will include a plate of locally caught fried fish, hushpuppies, coleslaw, baked beans, beverage and dessert for $10.00 or a hot dog plate w/dessert and drink for the kids for $5.00. If you can help us advertise the event by making a list of friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and fellow veterans you know to join us…that would be wonderful. No doubt the event will lift up a truly wonderful and deserving couple but the blessings will be abundant for all who come and show their support. And folks, I can tell you without reservation that their life will touch yours.
This couple, Richard and Anna, are extraordinary people for many reasons but let me name a few of them. They were married not too long after he returned home from the
U.S. Army after having served in Vietnam. Since then, together they have raised a family of loving, supportive and “good children” as their Mom proudly puts it. Over the years they’ve endured monumental hurdles and heartache…and they’re still going through them today. Richard had been a waterman all of his life prior to health problems that forbid it. He was self reliant, independent and they have asked for nothing from anyone. However, at this time in their lives they have notable, verifiable hardships both physically and financially through no fault of their own so we local islanders who love and care about them have asked them if we could do something in their behalf.
Richard has endured countless surgeries having lost his right leg just below his knee as well as amputations of toes on his left foot and fingers on his right hand. On top of that, he’s now concerned about another finger that’s turning dark and is being monitored for potential amputation. He told us he has had two heart attacks, bouts with A-fib; diabetes, neuropathy, skin and blood infections and disorders. His precious wife Anna battled breast cancer surgery, chemo and radiation some years ago while the love of her life was hospitalized simultaneously making it impossible for them to be at each other’s bedside.
Anna will tell you with a smile that she’s grateful for her blessings and even when you spend several hours talking with them she never complains about anything. Richard explains the status of his health when he is asked but he isn’t a sympathy seeker. And when he speaks about his bride of all these years, you can see his pride in Anna. Sitting with them, you feel thankful and mindful that he is one of the many brave, ‘salt of the earth’ guys who fought for you and me. Then the reality comes back into focus of what he (they) have been through and you think…good grief…and we think we have problems. This is a couple who have honestly asked for nothing. Scary health reports, monumental and seemingly impossible hurdles have been customary for them it seems but they still face each day with hope and without complaint. Richard and Anna love the Lord and they pray daily for each other and for our country.
When my Vietnam veteran sweetie pie Billy and I went to visit them and talk about their situation for GIG LINE we left their home feeling good. It was nice spending time with them. We enjoyed talking about folks we both knew and loved and fishing as it was ‘back in the day’. We felt proud of their courage, their strength and their faith and we were both touched emotionally and spiritually. Getting to know Richard and Anna Baum inspire you…it just does. Richard and Billy talked about some of their experiences in Vietnam and they recalled the orange spray that fell from the sky all around them. They recounted the environment they endured, the misery and adversity of their situation at that unforgettable time in their lives. Seeing them together touched my heart and witnessing two Vietnam veterans who faced such drastic challenges so far from home but who made it back home made my heart glad.
The essence of who Richard and Anna are as people…good people who could use a hand and some great big hugs right now is what this upcoming event is all about. So, I’m inviting you as a reader of GIG LINE, as a fellow veteran and as the general public to help if you can by joining us on Saturday, August 3rd. None of us have tons of money these days but together we can make a big difference in the lives of a deserving veteran who has served our country honorably. Please consider this as the preliminary invitation to COME, fellowship with fellow veterans and participate in something positive. Lets do a good thing and help Richard and Anna together…OK? Please note that this GIG LINE is with the full acknowledgement and permission from both Richard and Anna Baum.
If you’d like more info in the interim you can reach me at (252) 202-2058 or Billy at (252) 202-0798. In next weeks’ GIG LINE (Sunday, July 28th edition), I’ll elaborate further about the scope of Richard and Anna’s need for home repairs and where you can send a love gift if you wish. We’re confident that this special get together will bring honor to two very special people who more than deserve it and without exception EVERYONE is welcome! Be ready to expect a great meal and outstanding company!
In the last week we’ve issued more Dare County Veteran I. D. Cards having held events at the Baum Center, Fessenden Center and the Administrative Building in Manteo. To date we now have 119 veterans who have received their cards and I’m pleased to say that they’re enjoying using them! For anyone who has missed hearing about the cards, they are issued at no charge to every Dare County veteran who can provide a DD-214 showing an HONORABLE discharge or separation of military service along with a driver’s license or proof of a local address/residency. Next date for card issuance: Thursday, July 25th, Rm. 168 Dare County Administrative Building from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. with the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council to meet at 3:00 p.m. same location.
In addition, the businesses who have already signed on to provide discounts to veterans who present their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card to date are as follows:
Ace Hardware (all locations), Darrell’s Restaurant (Manteo), Jolly Roger Restaurant (Kill Devil Hills), Quarterdeck Restaurant (Frisco), Buxton Auto Marine (Buxton), All Fixed -vacuum sales/service (Kill Devil Hills) AND…as of this writing we now have a commitment from Kellogg Supply (Manteo, Kill Devil Hills, Duck & Edenton) as well as Kellogg Design Center and The Cottage Shop located at the Outer Banks Mall. Isn’t that g-r-e-a-t? Just please be mindful that while Kellogg’s is offering 10% off merchandise to the Dare County Veteran I. D. Card holders, there are exclusions which include: building materials, special orders, sale or promotional items and other exclusions that may apply. It’s a blessing that local businesses have elected to recognize the men and women who have served our country in a special way. Every single veteran I’ve spoken with are grateful, proud and they look even more forward to doing business with the proprietors who remember them and their sacrifice…and veterans are spreading the word. That being said, thank you all and let’s keep going!
Newsflash! During the most recent Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, July 15th, William “Billy” S. Brown, Jr. was selected to fill the remaining seventh seat on the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council. Yes, it is my Billy and there’s no denying it…I was thrilled! Billy cares about veterans all over Dare County and since the implementation of the Council over a year ago; he has faithfully served veterans in the capacity as a ‘public member’. A veteran himself, Billy is an active member of the American Legion Post 26 and he encourages everyone who seeks betterment for all veterans to get involved in every opportunity available to them. His true passion is for P.O.W. and M.I.A. and when asked how he felt about being selected by the Commissioners to serve on the Council, he said, “I’m honored to serve and I hope to help make a difference in the lives of Dare County veterans especially”. I understand that the Council warmly embraced the Commissioners choice and eagerly welcome Billy into the group.
Until next time, just know I’ll be thinking of you and that in my prayers I thank the good Lord every day that you care enough about our veterans to take the time to read, respond and tell others about GIG LINE. I seriously love you all for that. Be happy, be safe, be proud and as always thank a veteran every single day…and if you don’t know how…find a way. It will make both of you happy…I promise. Stay tuned.