LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Veteran fights battle on two fronts

We run across many people and dilemmas in our daily lives that each of us react to in different ways. The lost/mistreated puppy living in horrible conditions gets major play on the TV and the local charity market.

Yes, those eyes are ones you cannot turn away from — they melt your heart and a sense of warmth grows over you knowing you helped.

I have over the years come to know a person who looks into another animal’s eyes and wonders why doesn’t that look melt the heart and make the heart warm when it helps this “animal” also ….

The eye of the “animal” he looks into is that of a veteran, yes the one who served our country at his/her own sacrifice and risk.

It is a look of compassion that is rarely if ever matched, for his/her fellow man in our world by another animal. It is a compassion that will cry tears of sorrow with you when you are sad and tears of joy of when it is elation that brings those water droplets to our eyes.

Yes, this “animal,” a veteran who has been looked down on, spit on and given a half-handed slap in the face to “get up,” is overlooked by many of those around them who they swore to defend and protect.

Yet I have found one friend who despite having found a battle of his own to fight, has stayed true to fight not only his battle but that of the “veteran.”

Having received a diagnosis of small cell cancer, this fighter of the veteran, rather than back down and say “OK, I only have my battle to fight now,” said “No. I now have two battles to fight.”

One to help my fellow veterans and one to beat cancer so that I can maintain my first battle.

He didn’t lay down his arms to fight his own battle but he instead reached for another weapon inside to fight both battles.

You see, lying in a hospital bed whining and crying, “Oh why me” is not his style. No he said “OK we got this, someone else is worse off than me and I still have time to do something for those in need.”

He put their needs above his and rose to the occasion. He posted a video of good spirit on the first day of chemo about how he was going to fight this and carry on doing what he does — fight for the veteran.

So from a hospital room he logged on to social media to tell everyone he still had things to do … not a bucket list. But he had things to do to help others. So this cancer thing is just a minor inconvenience. Because his friend known as the veteran still needs a tireless defender. One who would have gladly had their six any time the need arose — whether in battle or back here at home.

You see he knows the soldier’s creed…. “No soldier left behind.” It was instilled in him by his grandfather, father, uncle, drill sergeant, and every other instructor he had along the way.

He considers himself one of the lucky few who served at a time when conflict was minimal and the risk low. For that small spat of fortune he believes he owes those who were not so lucky so much more than a “Thank you for your service.”

He jumped in with both feet a little less than a year ago to a project he had heartfelt ties to, one of helping veterans through the joy and compassion of music. As a DJ in his young years and very amateur musician he knew the joy, of the simple tones and rhythms that music can bring to ones soul.

So he and Tom Baker with Tom’s idea founded Frets4Vets.org, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the veteran suffering from PTSD and/or depression one chord at a time.

While he dreams big, many others say “Whoa, slow down there,” but he says no. “Get out of my way or tell me to quit. But I won’t slow down. I have things to do and people to help”

You can see his uplifting spirit in a video he posted on the first day of his chemo therapy. People said it made them cry and he couldn’t understand why. It was a positive post in his mind. One to show that life throws curve balls but you just keep on swinging till you hit that sucker out of the ball park or least get a runner in scoring position.

He sees that as his job in life; get the veteran to where he needs to be. Give him the tools to cope.

Because it is with the tools we acquire in life that helps us all succeed and cope. He believes that Frets4Vets.org and their 16 weeks of personal guitar instruction, compassion and listening are the small grooming tools used to spawn the growth, the growth of a great warrior in that veteran from the ugly matted beaten down coat that we see growing on the outside today — that once bright coat that has been matted down in the depths of PTSD and depression.

He believes that even the lion amongst us at one point in our lives needs the mouse to pull that thorn out of our paw so that the most courageous, compassionate and caring “animal” on this planet can rise to protect like he once did when he took that oath to honor and defend.

Yes he wants you to look in a veteran’s eyes and see that puppy dog that wants that hug, those signs of compassion and caring, just like any other animal.

For an “animal” he is not. He is a United States veteran!

Gordon Law
Long Neck

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