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

The Spirit of Christmas – Gig Line #82

GIG LINE

By Marsha M. Brown

Well everybody the spirit of Christmas is in the air! Neighborhoods are beginning to show off with pretty, colorful lights on trees, fence posts and entryways to homes and businesses. It’s the time of year when we remember the wonderful times we’ve shared with family and friends over the years…and the perfect time for counting blessings.

Speaking of blessings…a cousin who reads GIG LINE contacted me recently because she and her fellow church members were interested in finding out how to get Christmas cards to our actively deployed troops. It was their congregations desire to do something special to acknowledge service and sacrifice; to let service men and women know how much they mean to grateful Americans and to send them warm, loving wishes from ‘home’. Her question was thoughtful yes, but it was more than that. It exemplified the spirit of Christmas overall…thinking of others…caring, sharing and giving the greatest gift of all…love. With so many of our troops separated from those dear to their hearts, she wanted them to know their sacrifice wasn’t forgotten. 

It’s easy for most of us to enjoy the whole month of December. My goodness, I can’t remember when movies about Christmas started so early…this year even well before Thanksgiving! And quite frankly, to those who have succumbed to ‘political correctness’ to the point they can only wish others “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”…I say “Humbug!” Each to his own but Christmas is about Christ’s birth after all…and his gift to the world. Can I hear an “Amen”? J It’s also about doing good deeds…giving rather than taking…helping rather than hurting and the joy that doing for others gives us above anything we can give ourselves.   

It would mean a lot to our troops to show them how much they mean to us and that we are cognizant of the fact they’re not at home to enjoy all the things we sometimes take for granted. So, at Laura Lee’s request, I found several ways you could go about it. One avenue is by writing a card or letter directly to those who serve…hang with me. Pam Buscemi, President of our local Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America has provided a list of six members of active duty military who are in some way connected to someone here at home. If you would like to write them a card or letter, please contact me at [email protected] or you can call me at (252) 202-2058 and I’ll be happy to provide you with the list of names and addresses over the phone or by whatever means necessary. When most of us are privileged to enjoy the comforts of family many of our heroes are in a tent with other troops far from home missing just that…’home’. So…how about if we send them as much of ‘home’ as we can? And folks, even if they receive your card or letter later than we’d hope…they’ll no doubt cherish it. Contact me soon…okay?

In addition, our local American Legion – Fort Raleigh Post 26 collects donations of toiletries, personal care items, socks, p.j.’s etc. for distribution to veterans in health care facilities too. For direct contact, please call: Commander Clarence Lewis (252) 305-1934.

IMPORTANT NEWSFLASH! 

ACE HARDWARE will accommodate a two day event for veterans starting on Wednesday, December 11th (Manteo store) from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM then again on Thursday, December 12th (Kitty Hawk store) from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at which timetheVA Rural Health Care Initiative Team from the VA Hampton Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia and Dare County Veterans Advisory Council members will be onsite to issue Dare County Veteran I. D. Card(s) to veterans who reside in Dare County. All veterans (in and out of Dare County will have a chance to investigate potential health care benefits through the VA with Jeff Pearson, Integrator and his staff each day. All veterans are required to bring their DD-214 with them…in either case.

During both of the two day events VA Health Care Initiative personnel will take applications and provide handout material regarding Agent Orange, P.T.S.D. etc. and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council members will issue the ‘CARD’ that will entitle recipients to discounts at 20 local Dare County businesses.  There is NO charge for the ‘CARD’ and you don’t have to leave your DD-214 – we only have to see that it shows HONORABLE discharge and a local address. The Council will also provide hand out material on veteran related meeting places/times/dates; the list of businesses who discount goods and services upon presentation of the ‘CARD’ and you can learn more about the Council; its achievements and goals to date. Do yourself a favor – come see us!

If you haven’t talked to the VA in a long time, you may want to update your VA file. Maybe things have changed in your life with respect to VA health care eligibility. Maybe you’ve never been through the system or had an Agent Orange health screening before…please do so if you’ve had “boots on ground” in Vietnam. 

Also, while you’re in Kitty Hawk, you may want to stop by A & B Carpet because they are also one of the 20 local businesses who support our veterans. In the case of A & B, they offer a 10% discount off all area rugs! Frank Adams and his staff are great folks to work with and like the other 19 business owners who have signed up to show their appreciation to veterans – we say THANK YOU!

Lastly…remember me telling you about the new addition to the N. C. Driver’s License where they said their office said they’d add VETERAN to the front and U.S. flags to the back side of the License? Billy went in and requested his and just got it. There was a flag sticker on the back but no mention of VETERAN on the License…I’ll be following through and updating you accordingly.

Until next time, be happy, be safe, be proud and thank a veteran every single day! 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 [email protected].  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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