The Proud Father

Sam’s medical status:  They are still seeing some eye movement and now some lip movement with Sam.  His mother Kelley arrived in Bethesda around 4:30 eastern time so she was able to be at his side for his birthday.  They celebrated his birthday with a cake in the ICU along with the medical staff.

imageEmail from another Marine:  I received another email from a Marine who was actually in the same vehicle with Sam when the IED hit their convoy.  His name is Corporal Jared Reeder, USMC.  Here is a little of what he said about Sam: 

“…Myself and many others look up to Sam for just about anything you could think of.  As a Marine, I only tried to walk in his foot steps, but was happy to be in his shadow.  I have never met a more down to earth and selfless man as Sam.

…He is truly one of the strongest men I know and I am very proud to have been lucky enough to have crossed paths with him.”

It is interesting to note that both Marines who emailed me said they didn’t want to talk about the actual experience that day because it was so terrifying.  Of course, I want to honor that request and won’t ask any further questions of them about any details.  I was also very touched by the sincerity and heartfelt nature of both emails.  The Marines are truly brothers and are connected to each other by bonds we can not even fathom.  In a message Erin posted in response to one of her friends comments in this blog (who also has a Marine husband) about this whole experience, she said, “This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase Semper Fidelis“. 

A call to serve:  Allison (Erin’s younger sister who is 19) called me last week and out of the blue told me she wanted to join the Air Force.  She was so impressed with the staff at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center, that she wants to do something in the medical field to help others in the military who are suffering.  I’m not sure how I feel about Ali joining the Air Force.  My father is a 20 year Air Force veteran and I was in the Air Force for 5 years, so I guess it runs in the family. 

I know it’s easy to brag about your children, but in my case, both of my daughters are my “Dream Girls”.  I am so proud of both Erin and Allison.  They have grown up to be such strong, mature, loving and caring young women.  Nothing I have ever done in my life has given me more joy and pride than being the father of my two little girls.

Faith Overrules Fact!

“By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact, but I am prouder to be a father”.

General Douglas MacArther


10 Responses to The Proud Father

  1. Dolores Hines says:


  2. Arianna (Fine) Villalpando says:

    Hi there- my name is Arianna I went to school with Marty and have been friends of the family, My mom Mary works at Northridge and also did at Coco’s when Eric worked there as well. I don’t know Sam in person but I’ve seen the picture my mom has on her refridgerator. My mom told me what had happened and I just wanted to let him and Erin know that my thoughts are definately with him and I will be praying for his recovery and return home. Miracles can come true. Happy Birthday Sam. Thanks, Arianna

  3. Uncle David and Aunt Cari says:

    Happy Birthday Sam (yesterday). We love you so much and are praying for you constantly.

    Love, love, love… Uncle David and Aunt Cari

    ps just got this blog link. thank you Tony for the life line to Sam’s status

  4. Misty Smith says:

    My name is Misty, my husband has been in the same Btry as Sam for the past 4 years. I only have met Sam and Erin a couple of times but they are both great people and an adorable couple. My prayers are with the whole family, I hope he continues to get better and he is in mine as well as pretty much all of the small town me and my husband are from prayers.

  5. Aunt Cari and Uncle David says:

    Dear Erin,

    We are praying for a miracle, Sam’s full recovery and for you. May you be surrounded by God’s Love and all the wonderful prayers and well wishes from around the world. You are such a wonderful wife. You and Sam are such a wonderful couple. We love you to pieces. You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly.

    Looking forward to our next holiday feast with you both and the entire family! I emailed a great picture of you and Sam to your dad.

    Sending you and Sam a huge, loving, healing hug….

    Aunt Cari and Uncle David

  6. Michael Monk II says:

    Dear Erin,

    My name is Michael Monk and I see your father between the 7:00am and the 8:30 masses at Saint Lawrence. I always pray at the tabernacle after mass with my wife, Susan, and some of my children. I serve on the liturgy committee with Tony. I also have an 18 year old son, Michael III, serving in Bagdad with the 1st Cavalry.

    As a lector, it has always been dear to me to read the Prayers of the Faithful during mass. Our second prayer asks our Lord to “watch over all servicemen and women as they perform their duties and watch over all who are overseas as they perform their duties and bring them home soon.” This petition always gets me choked up because of the men, women, and families who are going through the war experience.

    As I was praying for God’s will for Sam, the peace and mercy of our Lord was so prevalent. As I closed my prayer, I knew that everything was being taken care of by God. God loves both of you vey much and is with you always.

    Please hold Sam’s hand for me, kiss him on the forehead, and make Sign of the Cross on the place where you kissed him. His soul can see and hear you. Always continue to love him as Jesus loves him and as Jesus loves you.

    The Holy Spirit is with you now. You can look into the eyes of all who are with you and you can see the outpouring of love in the faithful. Keep vigilant in your prayers for God’s will and the abillity to carry that out. Keep talking and praying with Sam. Thank God for the sacramento of marriage. which was given to both of you. Remember, it is in the sacraments that Christ continues to touch us in order to heal. God bless both of you.

    Your brother in Christ, Michael Monk II

  7. Jesus said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same shall bring forth much fruit. for without Me, you can do nothing.”

    I believe that we are all abiding in Jesus by sincerely asking God to help Sam; it is God who is our help…Keep the Faith!

  8. Carol McClure-Schmelz says:

    As I continue to pray for Sam’s recovery I just want to add my thoughts on Ali as well. I have always respected, admired, and even looked up to Ali. I do not know God’s plan for anyone, but I do know that He leads you down your path, sometimes down the harder road. I know that Ali thought about the Air Force before and decided that path was not hers, but I do believe that maybe He is using Sam to show Ali the good that she is meant to do in other peoples lifes. I pray for Sam through out my day and I will pray also that God show Ali His way and that He may lead her down the path He has made for her.

  9. Mark Mendenhall says:


    We share a friend in Karen Christensen. Iwanted to let you know how much admiration I have for the bravery of your husband and all the other members of our armed forces. My father was a Vietnam war veteran and he was my idol and role model. Although I do not share your religious beliefs I wish for the best for your husband such that his already incredible sacrifice is lessenedto a degree more humanly bearable. It is the nobility within men like your husband that we as humans demonstrate our finest qualities.

    Mark Mendenhall

  10. (S)Sgt Justin A. Turnbow says:

    I’ve known Sam Nichols for a couple years now, he was one of my influences for joining the military. I can confidently say that Sam is a 100% bonafide natural leader. there arent too many people id want watching my back in combat.. even in my own unit, but sam, i’d definitely trust him with my life. I’ve been on convoys that have gotten hit, it’s the worst. i dont know what else to say about it, id gladly trade places with the soldiers, or airmen who got hit that day. i know sam will pull through. He’s too stubborn not too!

    Sam if you get this…. Lock and Load!!!!!

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