Sam’s medical status: Erin said Sam had a nice quite day with no major complications. I have to add some more corrections about Sam’s breathing. I said a couple of days ago that the trach tube was removed. That is not exactly correct. Sam was taken off the ventilator, so he is breathing on his own—but they are still giving him oxygen through the trach tube. Erin also said today that he is starting to swallow on his own—so she was very excited to tell us about that.
ROTC Buddies: My wife and I were high school sweethearts and were both in “the band”. We had a wonderful time and had a built-in group of friends to hang out with. Of course we were hoping both our daughters would follow in our footsteps and we would get to relive our childhood by being “band parents”. But—to our chagrin, both girls decided high school ROTC was going to be their thing. So, we became ROTC parents instead. In fact, my wife was known as “the ROTC mom” and most of the ROTC kids (around 120 in all) called her “Mom”.
Now when I was in high school, the only kids that got teased and picked on more than the band nerds, was the ROTC nerds (more on that later). Both Sam and Erin went to Casa Robles high school in Orangevale California. By the time Erin was a junior and Sam was a sophomore, they were an item and have been ever since. They even got their “ROTC” pictures taken together.
If you’ve been checking out the comments section for each one of these blogs you may have noticed a thread of former ROTC buddies leaving messages of encouragement for Sam and Erin. When we first received word that Sam was injured in Iraq, it wasn’t long before Sam and Erin’s high school ROTC buddies started calling, texting, emailing and “mySpace’ing” each other to spread the word to pray for his recovery. Even though they are all out of high school (many have joined the military) they are still a close knit group and consider themselves “family”.
I received a wonderful email today from Kalista, a former ROTC buddy of Erin and Sam and I wanted to relate to everyone her memories of Sam and how he affected her and others in ROTC. The email speaks so eloquently of Sam’s character and good nature. (note: Both Sam and Erin were the commanders of their high school ROTC when they were seniors)
“In ROTC we were a family. We still ARE a family. I wanted you to know and please pass this on to Erin if possible, she needs to know just how much we are all thinking of her and Sam…
…There are many of us who did not want to be in ROTC at first—who didn’t feel welcomed or anything like that. SAM lead us into the family that we know today. He was the first to greet us, the one who stood up for us around campus when everyone else made fun of us. He introduced us to everything, and made us want to stay in ROTC!…
…When we all found out what happened to Sam, it was like we all took a blow because he is like the brother that
everyone wants. Someone to look up to, someone who you could depend on— a true HERO!”
Thank you Kalista for you heartfelt email. You made the ROTC mom cry with your beautiful words! Thank you to all the other former ROTC buddies of Sam and Erin for spreading the word that Sam needs your prayers. And lastly, thank you all for taking the time to leave comments in the blog post. Erin does occasionally get time to read them and I know they warm her heart and give her hope. Erin, I hope you are also reading the comments to Sam!
ROTC Nerds of yesterday…American Hero’s of Today!