By Marsha M. Brown
It was in the early fall of 2011 that I came to realize the dire need for veteran outreach and support…not just on Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day…but e-v-e-r-y day. It was never because veterans gave me the impression they expected our attention or show of appreciation – in fact if anything, it was the opposite.
Initially it was the direct influence of my husband Billy, a U. S. Army and Vietnam veteran who inspired me…who demonstrated real patriotism and love of country that I first wrote GIG LINE in his honor. Initially, it was going to be a one-time story, (or so I thought) but the positive reaction from those who read it who had either served in our Armed Forces or who loved someone who had, encouraged me to write well beyond his ‘coming home’ to Manteo in 1968 from a land far, far away…a “Hell hole” as he called it…hence a burning desire in me to write more…and more in recognition, celebration and pride in all of our service men and women. In turn, after that first article that quickly became a column Billy was touched especially after having been treated with such disrespect like so many veterans of the Vietnam war.
The title ‘GIG LINE’ originated from a military term. An internet search defines it as “The line that extends from the military uniform shirt to the edge of the belt buckle to the flap of the pant zipper. Military uniform standards call for a perfectly aligned line along these clothing items.” It is not about fishing or fishing lines but rather initially a one-time tribute to my husband, a U. S. Army and Vietnam veteran who served during TET that brought a stark realization that even after all they had been through that he and others had no expectation for daily ‘pats on their back’ – rather to the contrary. Though we were married four months after he came home and I was only seventeen, my personal awakening came when I realized that I had unintentionally taken so much for granted. Shame on me back then and on anyone today who doesn’t deeply value our military…our protectors, our fighters for freedom, for democracy and the “American way”. Their sacrifices are incredible and immeasurable; their faithfulness and loyalty to our homeland is beyond commendable and we are and will always be indebted every day to all who have served.
Over these past nine years, my passion for veterans has grown exponentially and I feel blessed and privileged to have come to know so many. They (you) were there to love my Billy with that undeniable brotherly love…evident before his illness, during his worst days and following his transition to Heaven. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Each one who served with him as Members of the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 and the American Legion Post 26 brought a special joy into his life…as brothers and sisters…just being in your company the last few years of his life…lifted him up in ways that none of the rest of us who knew and loved him could do. You spoke the same language…many of you felt the same heartache and shed the same tears. Billy was proud to have been a Christian; to have proudly served our nation; to have worked for the good of his fellow comrades whether to fund raise for vets in need; volunteer to help build decks and/or handicapped ramps or pray with and for his brothers who were suffering the effects of war…he was there for you, like you were there for him.
A good friend of mine who isn’t a veteran but a supporter of veterans overall and of GIG LINE has given me a list of things he feels worthy for me to write about in the coming weeks, and I can’t wait. There is so much good in the world much because of you men and women who sacrifice for us daily and I hope to show you that in my writings. I will delve into the topics he suggested so please stick close by and feel free to communicate your thoughts and ideas for subject matter of interest to you. Write to me through my email: [email protected] or call my cell: (252) 202-2058 and for past GIG LINE’s check out www.giglineheroes.com
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If you have a medical condition that could be related to your military service, please check it out by researching www.VA.gov; by calling Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer phone: (252) 475-5604 or write to her through [email protected] email. Patty is very devoted to helping veterans and she can help you file a claim if applicable; assist you in acquiring a duplicate DD-214 if you have misplaced yours and answer a lot of questions you may have relative to the VA. She welcomes all veterans to call, so take her up on it! I know first-hand that she will do her best for you!
If you wish to acquire a free Dare County Veteran Discount Card, please call either of us and we will see to it that you get one. Criteria? you must have been Honorably Discharged; either live in Dare County full time or own improved or unimproved property in Dare County; provide (for review only) your DD-214 and either your Driver’s License or a utility bill or property tax bill in your name. That’s it! Once you meet with either of us, the process takes all of ten minutes and the ‘Card’ you’ll receive will entitle you discounts at over one hundred businesses for goods and services from Hatteras Island to Corolla ranging typically from 10% to 20%. With the holidays approaching, the savings will be of help, so give us a call! The ‘Card’ is a means for our proprietors to say “THANK YOU” for your service and sacrifice because you have earned and deserve every good thing that can come your way.
Until next time, be healthy, safe, and happy. Just know how incredible we think you are; how much you mean to us and how much pride we have in you. Know too that you are ALL heroes to us, and we thank the good Lord for you every day. My Billy is with the Lord, but you all help me carry on the love, respect and admiration I feel for him and all of you too until my last breath. I love you all so much. God bless you. Stay tuned!