By Marsha M. Brown
It’s really nice when folks come together for the common good of all…isn’t it? In particular last Saturday, May 2nd dedicated members of American Legion Post 26 (302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills) met onsite for a thorough yard clean up. The hours the veterans spent together that day resulted in measurable productivity…not only because of the exterior ‘spiff up’ but the fellowship that took place after the physical work was completed outside.
As it turned out there were ten veterans who ‘pitched in’ to help get the job done and when my sweetie pie Billy got back home, I could see on his face and hear in his voice that it meant a lot to all of them to have spent that time together.
Billy, the Adjutant of American Legion Post 26, returned home that afternoon reflective of the day and his personal appreciation for help from those who were there but proud too that the group had worked together to improve their Post. As usual, I enjoyed hearing him talk about his day spending time with fellow veterans and the fact that once they had finished their tasks outside, they had gone inside for a cup of coffee and just…”to talk”.
The spirit of hope for the future of American Legion Post 26 seemed apparent in Billy’s eyes and his voice that day…probably more so than I’ve seen before. I guess that’s because Billy believes strongly that all veterans should stick together; stand arm in arm and support and defend each other as long as they have breath. In recapping the day, he shared with me how proud he was that over the last few months three new American Legion member transfers had come in and that of the three, two were female (one formerly U. S. Army; another formerly U. S. Navy and the gentleman who transferred had served in our U. S. Air Force during WWII.
His face actually lit up when he talked about it…and in turn so did mine. My husband of nearly 50 years is embedded in his work to help fellow veterans. Billy, like all Vietnam veterans knows that his experiences in Vietnam and coming home is much different but much the same as others who have served and sacrificed in Korea, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. He knows that for the most part veteran’s memories are often times painful and hard to let go of but the trauma and heartache veterans endured makes them similar, connected and bound together. If they served in a jungle, field, desert or mountain far from home, it was what it was and they had no choice but to suck it up, deal with it and do their best to survive. Nobody understands their language or the look in their eye like they (you) do.
Billy is 100% my hero. I admire him for countless reasons but at the top of the list: his strength, his love of country, his work ethic and desire to help his fellow man (or woman). His steadfast belief in God, in our Constitution, in our military and in fellow veterans is unyielding. He is the most committed person that I’ve ever known in my life who actually ‘walks the walk’ putting his own needs behind others…always. His love for and his quest to help veteran ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ heal from the inside out and to help empower them to help themselves and their spouse is never ending.
In reading GIG LINE, you likely have a hero in your life too who deserves goodness and blessings. If you aren’t a veteran but love a veteran, please encourage them to actively be a part of their own legacy and to help blaze the trail for our younger veterans who are coming home with their own unique set of problems and circumstance. My personal observation and philosophy? Veterans need each other…in one way or the other…plain and simple. If you’re a veteran reading GIG LINE and you’ve considered joining or transferring your current membership (established somewhere else) to our local American Legion Post 26; to our Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 or to our Marine Corps League Outer Banks Detachment #1264 or…to all three for that matter…please stop thinking about it and do it. When you do, you’ll do something special for yourself…yes…but you’re involvement might just touch another veteran in a way you don’t even realize. Remember, they too have “been there, done that”. Your very presence at meetings, your input, your ideas and your expertise could positively affect a lot of things in Dare County from this point forward. All of you have been through tough things in your lives…only you saw each others tears in the trenches or heard each others whispers in the dark, you veterans are the only ones who know…truly know…service and sacrifice.
Shoulder to shoulder…working side by side to improve the Legion Hall grounds and perimeter last Saturday also created an opportunity for the comrades to sit down when the work was done and spend time one-on-one. There were no special speakers…no formality of any sort…just a simple laid back, relaxed group of awesome veterans…together.
Because Billy and I issue the Dare County Veteran I. D. Card(s) and have on many occasions issued them from Post 26, I’m also familiar with the building. It is a special place where hearts and minds and memories unite. Go there. The members meet every fourth Tuesday of each month at 12:00 Noon and lunch is served free of charge.
The Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 meets at the Colington Volunteer Fire Department every first Monday at 7:00 PM (108 School House Rd.). Also, an elevator is onsite for your convenience. For further info on either organization, please call Billy (252) 202-0798 Post Service Officer or Jim Norrell Quarter Master (252) 489-9421.
Lastly…call us about getting your Dare County Veteran I. D. Card. Requirements? You must be a local Dare County resident; provide your DD-214 copy or original – (we don’t keep it, it’s only for our review) and a local Driver’s License. That’s it! There is no charge for the ‘CARD’ and once you get it you will save money at almost 50 businesses on the Outer Banks. Through June on Mondays from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM you can also obtain your I. D. Card and pick up other pertinent veteran materials at the Dare County Administrative Bldg., Rm. 142. If you have questions, my cell is (252) 202-2058…please utilize the cell phone numbers provided in this column. Call us so we can thank you for your service to our country and so Billy can also tell you…”Welcome home!”
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Our veterans matter…they ALL matter a lot. Help us further their acknowledgement and honor. They need you and you need each other. God bless you all. Stay tuned.