Generations of Valor

Sam’s medical status:  Sam is safe and sound in the VA Hospital in Palo Alto as of yesterday.  The VA hospital was built in 1998 and is very beautiful and clean.  We were there on a Sunday, so there wasn’t much staff around, but the nurses we met were very nice.  Today Sam will be evaluated by the physical, occupational and speech therapist.  He will then begin a weekly routine to bring him back to health. 

Generations of ValorThe medivac flight to Travis AFB was very good—Sam was having nasal drainage issues the whole time which was making him very uncomfortable. Erin stayed up all Saturday night suctioning him every 10 minutes and ended up staying awake for 40 hours through the whole trip from Bethesda to Palo Alto.  I’m glad to say that last night, she finally got a good nights sleep and is ready to take on the world again. 

Although everything at the VA hospital is very foreign to Erin and she misses Bethesda terribly, she is feeling good about the move to Palo Alto and knows it is best for Sam. 

One thing that struck me when I visited Erin and Sam yesterday was the vast difference in the age of the men being cared for at the VA hospital.  I saw some young men who are probably still in their teens and I saw men that I’m sure are in their 80’s and possibly older.  There was a picture in the hallway next to the day room that really put a lump in my throat.  I found the same picture on the Internet and wanted to share it with you.  Here is the quote from the picture (I’m not sure of the date, but it had to be within the last few years):

“Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas is overcome with emotion as he embraces Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. during the Veterans Day Commemoration in Dallas yesterday.  Graunke, who was a member of a Marine ordinance-disposal team, lost a hand, leg and an eye while defusing a bomb in Iraq in July of last year [2005].  This week’s images of U.S. troops in combat in Fallujah deepened the day’s significance for many who attended tributes held in San Diego and across the nation.”

Associated Press

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12 Responses to Generations of Valor

  1. Thanks for the update, Tony. It’s good to know Sam’s caregiver, Erin, got some rest. Hopefully, she can take good care of herself and not burn out. Sam is where he needs to be, now. The medical staff will be able to set in motion a realistic treatment plan for Sam, and adjust it when necessary. I’m praying doubly hard for Sam and Erin at this time. Much patience and faith will be needed in the days that lie ahead. There will be days of progress and days of regression, followed by more days of moving forward. Keep the faith, Family. Our infinite prayers are with you all……….

  2. Nicole Moen says:

    This is great news!!!! Well I was wondering, and I’m sure everyone here in Sacramento is wondering as well, how does Erin feel about visiters? I know so many people that would love to take group trips out there and see Sam, but we all want to make sure Erin is ok with it. So how is visiting going to work? We are all very patient and want to make sure that it is ok with everyone, and also want to make sure Sam is stable and doing good. So if you could please in the next blog you post let us all know what you think about all his freinds and family visiting. Again Tony thank you for everything!!!

    Nicole Moen

  3. Kalista Kersten says:

    this is wonderful news to know that sam is home in california and doing well. its great news to know that sam is an 11, if he keeps this up hell be at as 12 or 15 or whatever that average person is! kevin and i continue to pray for sam and think of him everyday. Same with Erin! i hope she gets some sleep to keep this energy going (everyone has to refuel sometime). I second nicoles question and would love to know all the details on visiting. When we can visit, I will even drive- thank you tony for keeping us updated, it means more to everyone than anyone could ever express!

  4. DennyG says:

    Dear Families of Sam and Erin,
    My family and I are so grateful to God for his blessings on you, not only in terms of Sam’s recovery and Erin’s strength, but for all of those who have been faithful in prayer and an encouragement to you. I will continue to pray daily for Sam’s ongoing progress in rehab which will no doubt build even more strength into Erin and all those close to them both. And thanks, Tony, for reminding us of the medical staff at Bethesda and now Palo Alto. You reminded me that they also need our prayers. They give of themselves each day for many like Sam and Erin and so need our prayerful support as well. God bless you! -DennyG

  5. The Marquez'z says:

    HELL YES!!!! This is deffinately a happy day! Looks like I have to take some more leave and head up that way! We love you guys!
    Steve, Shi, and Isaiah
    The Marquez’s

  6. I prayed on and off all day yesterday, and many times today for Sam. Our son David had a rough time on his flight from Germany, so I wold not have been surprised if Sam had a hard time, too, but I am also not surprised that God took care of him and Erin throughout the trip.
    Now is the time when all of us who pray need, to war against the enemy(not in our own strength) for Sam, for satan hates what has happened here, so all who read this, please understand the nature of things here; Sam is better, BUT we don’t need to let up. Please read the following scripture, and visualize what God is trying to tell us. This is a spiritual battle; I am serious!!!

    Ephesians 6 Read This Chapter

    6:10
    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    6:11
    Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    6:12
    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    6:13
    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    6:14
    Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

    6:15
    And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

    6:16
    Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

    6:17
    And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

    6:18
    Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

  7. Holly Markiewicz says:

    We’re so excited at the progress Sam is making! And so thankful that the move to Palo Alto went well. We love and miss you both. You are in our prayers.
    Love Holly and Victor Markiewicz

  8. kabbruzzi says:

    So glad to know that Sam & Erin are back at home in CA and that the trip went well. Way to go, Erin! You have both successfully completed another leg of the journey. I can’t imagine how tired you must have been!! Please know that you guys are in my thoughts and my prayers each and every day. And you always will be. Looking forward to hearing more about Sam’s progress after you meet with the therapists. Hang in there Erin and stay strong, brave warrior. You can count on the support and prayers from out here! God bless you Sam and Erin, and your families. Angel Hugs and tons of prayers are always coming your way!!!

    – Kris, a Soldier’s Angel from RI

  9. Carol Calloway says:

    The picture in your posting for yesterday was published in November, 2006. I saw it in a magazine or newspaper at the time. It was just a day or so after Veterans’ Day last year.

    I am so glad for Sam’s families and friends that he is back in California. Now more people who counldn’t go back east can visit him. That will help Sam too. I continue to pray for Sam, Erin, the families, and all of us who have come to love Sam through your blog, Tony.

    May God bless you all.

  10. God Bless you all…I am still praying

  11. big areolas says:

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