By Marsha M. Brown
Well folks, as ‘par for the course’, I sit here writing GIG LINE thinking of my Billy because GIG LINE…is Billy. And it is many of you…the men and women who have served our country with pride, honor and sacrifice…by enlistment or draft…a few years of active service or retirement eligible. GIG LINE is about your love of country, your pride in America…your faith in your fellow soldiers, airman and seamen during some of the best and worst days of your lives. It is a tribute to you…to remember you, acknowledge you and to remind you of your contribution, influence and impact on our lives…all of our lives.
If you served our nation you are a veteran and in my eyes, that makes you an exceptional human being. My Billy was. He was the most outstanding patriot I have ever known and now six months after his passing, I mourn…some days more than others…but rarely a day goes by that I don’t feel the pangs of widowhood. On my cell phone, his handsome face is my screensaver…his picture I’ve changed three times…always there to kiss his face. The first picture was a side view I had taken of his sweet face at the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans” event in Charlotte, NC a few years ago. He wore his Vietnam Veteran hat loaded with pins that silently told a story of where he had served there etc. When I took that picture, he was standing at his stadium seat staring at the three familiar military aircrafts, (especially the Huey) that were positioned on the field in front of us; the second picture I had featured was of him in his black dress shirt in a hotel in Raleigh where we had gone for him to attend an annual American Legion meeting – he was proud…always proud to serve with his fellow Legion and V.F.W. brothers and sister members and the current picture is of him that our nephew Kenny had sent that I enlarged. He was so beautiful.
When I open my list of cell phone contacts Billy is (as usual) at the top and beside his name is an A+ along with a little red heart. Though I’ll never get another call from his cell or be able to reach him from mine…I haven’t been able to erase or replace his top position among my ‘favorites’. When I go to lunch or breakfast with ‘the girls’, I see someone wearing a veteran related hat and I go over to their table; ask if they’ve gotten their Dare County Veteran I.D. Card; ask them if they’re an American Legion or V.F.W. member and without question…I always thank them for their service. Then, on the way home, I think about telling Billy that I met another awesome vet that day…but remember I can only lean on God to deliver that message.
Sometimes I feel this adjustment in my life is moving along, then other times I want so much to talk to him and tell him how the day has gone; what amazing things the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 has done and how its growing…and how our American Legion Post 26 is working closely with the V.F.W. to show their love and support to veterans and each other…but then…I remember and hope…that God will pass the word along for me again.
In this brand New Year 2017, there’s no telling what we’ll see unfold for the good of our vets and their families. In fact, I was on the phone earlier today with Franchesca (Frannie) Austin of Manns Harbor Church of God about the plan her and her husband, Pastor Chris Austin, have with regard to hosting a free monthly dinner in honor of our veterans at their church (located across from White’s in Manns Harbor). The initial goals as I understand them are to invite veterans to meet, talk, share (only if they want to), eat and simply fellowship in a Christian setting. Also, their veteran ‘get together’ would not in any way compete with or take away from veteran organizations in our area but rather encourage our veterans to consider the benefits of respected veteran organizations. What the Pastors hope to accomplish is to welcome veterans’ period – no membership requirement, – no obligation except to come to an informal setting, spend time together and grow the bond between them and other veterans in our communities. The Pastor hosts will have relative information on hand regarding the American Legion Post 26, the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950, the Outer Banks Marine Corps League #1264 and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council for those who are interested in attending their meetings or joining their memberships as well as contact information for our Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Rhonda Creef. I understood Franchesca to say they’re planning the first dinner for Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 6 PM. Please make note to ‘save the date’ and I will post more information in forthcoming GIG LINE columns as it becomes available.
Speaking of Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950, they are in the process of organizing their new Auxiliary that you may have read about in a previous GIG LINE. Though it’s still ‘in the works’ at this writing, I can promise you it will be effective! So, if you had a family member who served in a foreign war and you have any time to donate and give something back to our deserving veterans…P-L-E-A-S-E get involved. Auxiliary members can do a lot just from their recliner at home…like making phone calls…so please don’t feel you might not have much to offer…there is plenty to do for our vets, so please think about it. If you are a member already of V.F.W. Post 10950, their next meeting is Monday, February 6th at 7 PM at the Colington Fire Station, Colington. Remember there is ample parking and an elevator on site.
Also, the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meeting will be held on Thursday, January, 26, 2017 at 3 PM. at the Dare County Administrative Building (Manteo – middle building in the Dare County complex) downstairs, first meeting room to the left.
I love you and thank you for all that you have done for our country and for our veterans. And thank you for understanding if you approach me somewhere and I tear up…you mean a lot to me and most assuredly you meant a lot to my sweetie pie Billy. I hope to see you at all the veteran meetings that lie ahead this year that I’m able to attend. If you know of a veteran who could use some help please contact me or one of the veteran organizations listed above. If you want to write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call, my cell: (252) 202-2058 because I’m interested in you and your thoughts or comments.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. God bless you all. Stay tuned.