By Marsha M. Brown
Newcomers to GIG LINE, it is understandable that some may wonder how a stranger that they have never met or do not personally know clearly states in every column she writes that she loves them (the readers). So, I decided to tell you why.
GIG LINE is a military term…the title inspired by a Vietnam veteran (my husband, Billy) who loved this country; who was proud to have served in the U. S. Army; someone who felt all of our veterans nationwide deserve honor and respect. It was because of him and my blessing of having been his wife for 48+ years that I write my stories.
There are all kinds of love in this world…love of family, love of pets, love of a good book or movie, love of cooking, crafting, building things and the love of God.
As I’ve written before, faith in God and a hope and prayer that he could once again set his feet on precious American soil was the driving force for Billy to press on…press forward…and hold it together along with so many other Vietnam, WWII, Korean, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans. It was my one true love that made me want to serve our veterans…to find a way to reach them all across Dare County…to thank them, shake their hand, hug their neck and tell them how much we are all in their debt. Thanks to the Dare County Board of Commissioners in 2012, they established the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council. Since that time and even changes in our Commissioner lineup has never wavered when it comes to supporting our vets and thankfully, we have some Commissioners who are veterans themselves. Through their initial appointment of seven (7) members, the complexion of our County outreach to veterans and veteran family members has literally exploded.
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Members of the dedicated Council come from one extreme end of the Outer Banks to the other and everywhere in between. Meetings typically occur on the fourth Thursday of each month at 3:00PM, excluding December. In November, the Council usually meets on the third Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving (which always falls on the fourth Thursday). The Council is comprised of men and women, from various branches of service, some retired, several having seen combat and only one member is not a veteran…that would be me. But all members are worthy of their commitment to listen to ours vets, seek ways in which to help them and enhance their lives by sharing information, support, and referral resources. Our Veteran Service Officer (V.S.O.) Patty O’Sullivan (252) 475-5604 or email [email protected] is a capable, caring VA representative who goes above and beyond to answer questions, provide sources of help, assist veterans with obtaining copies of their DD-214 and to help veterans understand what might be available to them regarding health issues potentially as a result of their service etc. Patty will also assist veterans apply for benefits if they wish to file a claim and she will pursue every avenue to help each veteran she has the pleasure to meet. She is a joy to work with and I have heard from many veterans and/or their spouses’ expressions of their gratitude for the help and guidance she has provided them.
Writing GIG LINE and serving the Council as Secretary makes me happy and whether I am issuing the free Dare County Veteran Discount Card, answering a phone call from a veteran who has a question, responding to an email, I treasure the opportunity to help. It is my passion…it is my blessing.
I don’t know what God allows our veterans to see from Heaven, maybe nothing…maybe God just tells his angels the good things folks do here on earth and just maybe they’re all so busy up there being happy, healthy and celebratory they don’t know, but down here…as people who love our veterans, appreciate what they (you) have done for us…WE know.
The snail mail letters, emails, cards, and even sweet veteran related gifts that readers of GIG LINE have sent to me are treasures. None are thrown away or discarded because I hold them all very dear to my heart.
I suppose if I had one call I could make to Heaven to my sweet Billy, I would tell him how very much we miss and love him, then I’d probably ask him if he could see all the things that have happened in Dare County since he left. If he knows, I am sure he would be proud. He would be proud that our Council has stayed the course, reached more veterans than ever before, participated in more public events, issued hundreds of Veteran Discount Cards and eagerly expanded ways to show respect to his ‘brothers and sisters’ throughout our communities. I would tell him that none of the veterans we know, and love are forgotten…never will they ever be forgotten and that they are cherished every single day. I would remind him that he was the inspiration for the birth of the Council and the inspiration for GIG LINE. I would tell him how proud I am that God brought us together so that I could be his wife.
Thank you to everyone everywhere in Dare County who show your love and support to our vets…for buying dinners, donating items, donating money, providing toys for the OBX Marine Corps League ‘Toys for Tots’ Campaign; for attending OBX V.F.W. Post 10950 fundraisers; the American Legion Post 26; the Blue Star Mothers of America and V.F.W. Post 10950 Auxiliary meetings and events and to all the businesses who have signed up to commit to help our veterans and offer discounts on their goods and services…YOU are allAWESOME!
If anyone reading this GIG LINE would like to call me, my cell is (252) 202-2058 and my email is: [email protected] because I welcome your feedback. And speaking of that, thank you Cathy, Karen, Amy, Cindy, and Doug for calling, emailing, and texting me last week. I mean it when I say, I genuinely love you all!
Until next time, take care…be safe…be happy…be proud and love each other. No matter what…our country is tough, top notch and hands down…the best of the best…just like our veterans! Please call Patty or me or email either of us if you know a veteran who needs help…every gesture of kindness is just that and greatly appreciated. God bless you and your families and by all means…stay tuned!