By Marsha M. Brown
I have a special story to share with you all this time and it has to do with people who care…about VETERANS.
The veteran supporter I want to tell you about is one of our own…a local man known to many as ‘Clarkie’ or Capt. Mike Clarkin. If you’ve ever fished out of Oregon Inlet or if you’ve been involved in our fishing community, you probably know ‘Clarkie’ as being a good guy. Now, let me share with you just one reason why he’s a good guy.
Last Monday morning my sweetie pie Billy and I were having a cup of coffee when the phone rang. It was (Capt.) Mike Clarkin of Nags Head who first introduced himself saying he had read GIG LINE where he had seen my number. He said he was glad to have been able to reach us to talk about a veteran in VA whom he had befriended not long ago. Then he went on to describe what the gentleman had come to mean to him. He talked about his respect for him; about the veteran’s dedication to his own family; about this veterans zest for life even being in his late 80’s yet the primary care giver of his son who was a diabetic. Mike shared that his memorable friend had inspired him and about how he had come to be his hero.
As the conversation continued Mike told me that he had not personally served in our military but that his father had and how proud he was of him too. He talked about the Vietnam War and his feelings back in the 60’s and how his views on things had changed since then. I really enjoyed talking to Mike that morning. His conversation was so interesting that I asked him if he could call me back on our home phone to enable me to put him on the speaker phone so Billy could hear him too…which he did. By this time Mike had pulled his truck over to the side of the road to talk and he shared with us in depth what the relationship with his new veteran friend had come to mean to him. It was a blessing to Mike to have met the older veteran…to hear his golden stories, his recounts of war, of his service to our country and what he had witnessed over the years.
Their in depth discussions revealed to Mike that this veteran had personal needs that warranted addressing. In turn and without provocation, Mike sought help to meet those needs for a deserving hero. Realizing a wheelchair ramp was needed Mike sought the help…rounded up the resources and he got it done. What he did for a deserving veteran gave Mike joy…and it goes without saying it blessed his hero but it went on to again bless Billy and I just hearing about it. What Mike didn’t realize, at least until the end of our conversation, was the impression he (Mike) had now made on us.
Billy and I listened intently as Mike described the interesting life and history of his friend. The compelling words he used helped our mind’s eye to see a capable…proud…red…white and true…blue American veteran in his very senior years still caring for others and we’re convinced Mike was meant to come into his life.
That being said, Mike (not expecting a fuss to be made over this) had reached out to a veteran plain and simple. He saw a legitimate need and he addressed it with no provocation. It meant a lot to me (and Billy) that he had read GIG LINE and that it had meant something to him in some way. It’s my hope that this little recap of Mike’s story was inspired by the good Lord and why Mike called to tell us about his friend…a spirited WWII veteran who had profoundly touched his life.
That WWII veteran does not reside in Dare County but like all of the surviving masterpiece men and women of WWII that DO reside in Dare County and everywhere else, the story of Mike’s friend is all too familiar. They are without question the oldest of our veteran groups and they are proud; often times silent and so very, very deserving of honor.
Besides the fact that I wanted to take this opportunity to praise a fellow American for caring about a WWII veteran like Mike has done is multi-faceted. It is to remind us that veterans are everywhere…and many still need help. As shameful as it is many have ‘fallen through the cracks’ and aren’t getting the financial help, disability benefits, medical care or even their basic daily needs addressed. We have to stop this trend folks. We have to stop turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the struggles of our veterans…no matter how old…or young they are. Even when and especially because we don’t mean to overlook their needs…its no excuse.
We all need each other in this world…its undeniable…and just maybe we can take a little more notice of those around us and try a little harder to see how we can meet the needs of others. This nice man Mike Clarkin has a veteran friend who has taught him things that have inspired him to be even nicer and Mike has taught me that GIG LINE does serve its purpose – to remind us all that we owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans and that we should take more notice…more interest and more care to give them the attention and help they have earned.
Remember that on March 5th you can come to ACE Hardware in Kitty Hawk between 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM to meet Veterans Advisory Council members and obtain your Dare County Veteran I. D. Card (bring your DD-214) and also apply for VA health care through the R.H.I. (Rural Health Initiative) team who are based at the VA Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia at the same time. Also, note that we’ll also be in Avon at ACE Hardware again on March 13th between 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. We’ll be looking for you and we hope to see you there!
Until next time, be happy…be safe and be proud and please love on our veterans…they are our heroes after all…Take care and stay tuned…