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

Veteran’s Special Honor (Part 1) – Gig Line #179


By Marsha M. Brown

In last week’s GIG LINE, I eluded to the fact that a veteran in Currituck (Moyock) was working on a project that could inspire much ‘good’ for veterans. That was true and I’m going to explain what I meant by that…but before I go into specifics, I want you all to understand that how the information I provide to you is received and acted upon by you, our general public and our business professionals will actually tell the tale for future reference when all is said and done.

About two years ago a retired U. S. Marine, Dean ‘Doc’ Tyler, attended our Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meetings. It was clear from the onset that he had served our United States of America with honor and pride. ‘Doc’ showed compassion and a sincere interest in helping veterans and he was thirsty for information about ways in which to do so. As a non resident of Dare County, he still offered help to our Council if help was needed for fellow vets. Having a permanent residence in Currituck County meant he could not obtain a Dare County issued Veterans I. D. Card (for business discounts) only issued to Dare County veterans, however, that wasn’t all that mattered to ‘Doc’, he just wanted to learn more about our Council and he complimented our ability to reach out to our veterans rather than just waiting for them to reach out to our Veterans Service Officer.

Fast forward. Over time, we’ve exchanged emails then ‘Doc’ called us recently to say that a close friend of his had set aside a day in November to honor and thank veterans in a very special way and he wondered if I would help get the word out through GIG LINE. “Of course!” I said but before I could inquire further, he eagerly described the kindness, decency and absolute respect his “dentist friend” had for veterans. He described how “Dr. Pat” had already prepared a flyer about the event and he suggested that we meet him at his home in Moyock on the way to Chesapeake two days later. ‘Doc’s’ enthusiasm was undeniable as was his obvious respect for a busy professional who was willing to do something extremely nice for veterans. Billy and I were anxious to hear more about it.

A couple of days later we arrived at ‘Doc’s house to the aroma of hot coffee and a fresh baked apple pie that his wife Sheila had just prepared. Settling in those familiar all American scents permeated the room. Their home was very pretty and their little poodle ‘Minnie’ was precious…but it was the light in Doc’s eyes and his overwhelming joy at being involved in something good for our veterans that impressed me most. It was infectious. Sitting down together ‘Doc’ explained that his friend ‘Dr. Pat’ wanted to honor veterans by offering free dental extractions on a “first come – first serve basis” the Friday before Veteran’s Day” (Nov. 6th). He went on to explain that ‘Dr. Pat’ or officially Dr. Patrick Morgan, Jr. D.D.S., P.A. along with his son Dr. David E. Morgan, D.D.S. of Morgan Family Dentistry, 153 Worth Guard Rd., Coinjock, N.C. 27923 and 10-A Juniper Trail, Kitty Hawk and their friend Dr. Frank A. Bald, D.D.S. of 1221 Carolina Ave., Elizabeth City were offering their dental expertise and services for one day…Friday, November 6, 2015 from 7 AM – 3 PM at their Coinjock office location to perform dental extractions at no charge primarily to alleviate veteran’s dental pain. The dental work that day would benefit veterans only with proof of U. S. military service and proper I. D. (Driver’s License).

After hearing all the accolades about ‘Dr. Pat’ and squeezing in a question about ‘Doc’s’ service, he told me emphatically that this wasn’t about him…it was about a medical professional who highly respected the service of our veterans and who wanted to do something special for them at no charge. He also told me that he had invited ‘Dr. Pat’ to stop by and meet us if he had a chance while we were there. But…finally after hearing ‘Doc’ share his love for veterans and especially WWII vets who had suffered through extended periods of unbearable freezing weather, little or no food, at times not even knowing where they were, I finally cornered him about his own military history.

‘Doc’ retired United States Marine Corp having served as a corpsman in Vietnam. Initially he had gone into the U. S. NAVY in 1971 just out of high school and he described his newspaper “lottery” number as “132”. After boot camp in Great Lakes, IL he attended Hospital Corps School where he graduated with orders to Fleet Marine Force 9th Marines then on to Vietnam. During his tour there, ‘Doc’ said he served for 13 months “with many honorable, courageous Marines” and that he “spent many days and nights fighting and keeping young Marines alive long enough to get them medivaced to the rear. I have seen much in the way of torn, ripped up and bloody young men of war and I have treated probably every battle injury known. I have seen death and I have also seen life continue from battle wounds”. Upon returning from Vietnam, Doc said he served his enlistment out with the Fleet Marine Force. At the end of his enlistment, he wanted to stay with the Marines but the Navy said no”, however, he “had grown to love the Marine Corps” so four months after he got out of the Navy, he enlisted in the Marine Corps going to boot camp again. ‘Doc’ said he served in the Marine Corps for 21 years with a total of 25 years total service time.

‘Doc’, my Billy (former U. S. Army & Vietnam veteran) and many of you who read GIG LINE have a passion for our veterans and you want to do more to bring fellow vets acknowledgment, gratitude and the honor they (you) all deserve. In ‘Doc’s own words, “If not for veterans we would not live FREE today. Please take five minutes of your day and sit down and think about that somewhere quietly. FREEDOM – I have seen many men die for our FREEDOM in my tour of Vietnam – please don’t forget our veterans”. His final comment?  “If you get an opportunity to do something for a veteran – please do it”.

‘Dr. Pat’ arrived interim and having joined us at the table and hearing ‘Doc’ and then Billy relate to their service, he followed up by offering his resistance toward my writing anything about him because he wanted the focus in GIG LINE to all be about our vets. After more verbal exchanges between the guys, tears came to all of us.

Dr. Pat had a gentle and humble spirit and I liked him a lot. He was proud of our vets and proud of his son David and Dr. Bald too for joining in the event to help and support our veterans. He expressed thankfulness for his father’s service to our country and offering the upcoming free clinic was a way in which to show it.

This is a good thing people. The fact that a team of dentists would devout a day out of their busy schedules to offer kindness, respect and dental extractions at no charge is remarkable – and not just for their generosity but that of their staff too who will also be onsite to assist with the ‘thank you to veterans’ as well. Our being invited by ‘Doc’, meeting ‘Dr. Pat’ and seeing first hand why ‘Doc’ Tyler is so appreciative of him was a blessing. ‘Dr. Pat’ was very clear that all veterans who are interested in attending their show of gratitude please remember ‘first come first serve’ basis and that if you are on blood thinners or if you have replacement joints to call their office (252) 453-2181 two weeks before (or by October 23rd) the event for medical clearance.  Also, to please bring your proof of service, list of medications and the name and phone number of your current medical doctor the day of the event.

In essence there are a lot of crappy things going on in this world…turning on the news requires a deep breath, a prayer and sometimes even a stiff drink for those who partake …but there are solid countless figures of gratefulness and remembrance of the love and appreciation for all of you (veterans) who have served our nation, so…my friends please remember that. Realize that much goodness in the out field is unspoken though deeply felt…realize that this gesture to take place on November 6th can be just the beginning of more good things to come to our veterans and that all it takes is putting our heads and hearts together and making it happen.

This is a three part story…First this column to show how, what, when, where and why the special honor came to be today…secondly, a reminder of the date & particulars that will be in GIG LINE Sunday, November 1st and then a summary describing the event in the Sunday, November 15th GIG LINE. (Because columns are due Wednesday prior to the Sunday edition.) If YOU are a professional who would like to offer a day of veteran thankfulness and honor at no charge – write to me at editor@giglineheroes.com or call me (252) 202-2058.

Speaking of dentists and the ‘drill’…:-) be happy, be safe and be proud. Stay tuned and God bless you all!

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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