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

Pray for Billy – Gig Line #198


By Marsha M. Brown

You may have noticed that GIG LINE has been missing in the last two Sunday editions of the Coastland Times but it wasn’t because I had nothing to say or a lack of desire to write, rather it is because my heart has been so heavy I’ve hardly been able to carry it around.

Seemingly fine overall and having had good results from his most recent check up and blood work, there was a real concern for sudden headaches and forgetfulness in my darling ‘sweetie pie’ Billy. At age 69 we naturally forget things, it’s a given that with age comes difficulty to remember at times but codes to his bank card, keyless car lock and other things indicated that something out of the ordinary was going on.

Some of you know that over the last several weeks Billy has been undergoing medical tests which revealed an inoperable brain tumor. Following that evaluation, a brain biopsy was scheduled to be done very early on Thursday, March 3rd. Initially we were told of typical surgical concerns being infection and excessive bleeding but as a family we accepted the risk if it meant a biopsy was the only way to identify the specific type of suspected cancer and the recommended treatment in order to prolong Billy’s life. Last week all of his lab work, chest X-ray, EKG and pre-op procedures were scheduled and completed in preparation for the surgery.

Then, on Tuesday night our Pastor’s wife, Becky Smith of Manteo First Assembly, visited our home and prayed for God to give Billy’s doctors the wisdom to give Billy the very best care possible. It was a blessing to hear Becky’s angelic words as they were lifted to God. After she left, I wondered what people do who have no faith? Or faithful people to surround them with love and prayers?   

The next day on Wednesday late afternoon with all of our family vehicles packed and en route out of town to Greenville to spend the night close to the hospital for the 5:00 AM  surgical unit, I turned into McDonald’s to get us an iced tea for the road when my cell phone rang. It was Billy’s surgeon calling to tell us that he felt the risk for excessive bleeding was too great for Billy and that after further evaluation and consultation with his surgical team he was calling the operation off. In essence, he felt that a spinal tap, another MRI, additional meds etc. could result in a more definitive diagnosis in lieu of the risky surgery. We were relieved and thankful. We rejoiced. We were blessed to have such a doctor (whom we already trusted) and the added assurance that Billy was in the best of care. We also reflected on Preacher Becky’s prayer just the night before.

As I write GIG LINE today, I am thankful. God has blessed us with a beautiful almost 48 year marriage and a family that many only dream about. Our Father has brought Billy through the Vietnam War and back home again for us to love and be loved by. We are praying and hoping for a miracle but we accept God’s will in his life.

Upon hearing the initial diagnosis, Billy said “I want to live Marsha and help people. I want to keep helping our veterans”.  He means that.

Billy loves all of our veterans, wherever they are and he wanted me to write about what’s going on in his life to ask for your prayers too. Because I love my husband and respect him so much I would never write on this subject or divulge personal information that should be left unsaid without his blessing. As a family we believe that no stone should be unturned and no prayer unspoken for my Billy at the time in his and our lives, so I ask you all as his brothers and sisters to join in our prayer chain that things will turn around, or that whatever treatment is prescribed will be effective and healing. We also pray for the courage and grace to accept God’s will and to thank Him for all that he has given us already.

On Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 12:00 noon, Manteo First Assembly – Youth House (located across from the Manteo Hotline Thrift Store) family and friends will come together and provide a special pork picnic benefit to honor and celebrate my ‘sweetie pie’ Billy. It would mean a lot to him, myself and our children to see you there if you can make it so that he (we) can hug your neck and personally thank you for your service to our country, your prayers, support, visits, cards and emails. If you would like to help with the special event in any way please contact: Edward Lee Mann cell: (252) 473-0134 or our daughter Bonnie Brown Rowe cell: (252) 216-8586. 

If you would like to write or send Billy a note or card, our home address is: 163 Roanoke Trail, Manteo, NC 27954 and my cell phone is (252) 202-2058.  You can also write to us through editor@giglineheroes.com and just preface ‘Billy’ in the subject line too if you’d like.

God is our rock and the foundation on which we stand. We love you all, we thank you for reading GIG LINE and we hope to see you soon. As more information on the special event becomes available, please help us spread the word especially through our veteran community.

Also, Billy asked me to remind you all but especially veterans about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13th at 1:00 PM in Nags Head. Last year the most veterans ever attended and led the parade thanks to the host/originator of the parade, Mike Kelly who goes out of his way to showcase our deserving men and women.

Until next time, pray…please pray. Be happy, be safe and be proud of yourselves and your service to our country. We love and appreciate you all so much. God bless and stay tuned.

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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