How to treat a soldier

I read a wonderful story from Marine Corps Moms weblog that reminded me of the wonderful people in the Maine Troop Greeters who cheer on our troops as they leave and return from Iraq and Afghanistan at the Dover International Airport. The story originally comes from My San Antonio and shows what “real class” means:

Last Wednesday, while flying from Phoenix to the Alamo City on U.S. Airways Flight 207, a San Antonio man, Gil Anderson, witnessed something memorable.
Shortly before takeoff, he overheard a flight attendant tell a young uniformed soldier sitting in front of him:

“A lady in first-class wants to switch seats with you.”

The soldier accepted the offer and walked up to the first-class section.

“When the lady came back to our area, I had a tear in my eye,” Anderson said when he phoned this column soon after his plane landed. “I gave her a little round of applause.”

“Then, by golly, everybody in that area started applauding,” he said in a voice tinged with emotion. “It was a very moving moment.”

Acknowledging the applause of Anderson and the other passengers, the first-class lady said simply:

“I did it because he deserves it.”

Wow—what a classy lady! Speaking of class, read on:

Karen's party for Erin

This past weekend one of Erin’s former employers, Karen, drove down to Palo Alto with a few other ladies and gave a little luncheon for Erin. The luncheon was held at the Fisher House which is across the street from Sam’s room on the grounds of the VA hospital.

Thank you so much Karen for giving Erin a little respite. What an incredibly nice thing to do! She told me she really enjoyed the afternoon.

Sam’s medical status:

Sunday November 4th, 2007: Erin has been working with teaching Sam to perform some basic grooming. She got him to hold a comb, and with a little help, he is combing his hair. He’s also doing a pretty good job at putting on his own lip balm. Erin got some Carmex and Sam can dip his finger in the little jar, and again with a little help from Erin, he will spread it over his lips and then wipe the excess off on his gown.

Monday November 5th, 2007: Sam got a hair cut today from Erin. She said it looks pretty good except she’s not quite sure about the back of his head.

Sam is off “contact isolation” which means visitors will no longer need to wear a gown and gloves when they go into his room. They will be moving him out of this room temporarily, scrub it all down, and then move him back in. He’ll also be getting a new bed that is very state-of-the art. Erin said it has all kinds of air pockets and the middle of the bed looks sort of like a sand pit. I guess it actually has sand inside the air pockets and it somehow makes for a softer feel. The point of the new bed will be to help Sam’s backside heal quicker.

Tuesday November 6th, 2007: Sam was having stomach trouble yesterday and they had to put him on an IV, but today he’s much better. He did get his new bed today. Erin said it sort of looks like a “Crocodile Mile” Slip-n-Slid…she said you have to see to get the idea.

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7 Responses to How to treat a soldier

  1. Erin Nichols says:

    Expect great things soon. In Jesus’ name Sam is healed. Declare it. Believe it. I’ll let you know when it happens… soon.

  2. Melissa says:

    Hi Erin,
    This is Melissa from Dimple Records in Folsom. I just wanted to say hello and let you know we have all been thinking about you and miss having you at the store. You are such a great person and were always so fun to work with! (Not to mention, our BEST employee.)
    This site is so awesome, we have been checking it regularly for the past few months and it has been so great to hear of Sam’s progress. I never met Sam, but it was always so cute how highly you spoke about him and so fun to see the pictures you would bring in.
    Of course, feel free to call or write anytime… 🙂
    melissa.vinson@dimple.com
    You guys are always in my prayers.
    -Melissa

  3. I just wanted to intruduce these special ladies in the picture above. I know that Tony doesn’t know who is who so I’ll help out. Karen (in the center with the striped top) is a dear family friend. She is always doing special things like this. We had a lovely lunch which she made herself and served. We love her!!! Thanks Karen! OK, from left to right is Aunt Jan, Aunt Karen, Karen C., then of course Erin, cousin Courtney, and me. Not pictured is Aunt Debbie, (someone had to take the picture!) Jan and Karen are Eric’s sisters and Debbie is the wife of Eric’s brother Greg. Cousin Courtney is Greg’s daughter. We had a really good visit on what is usually the quiet day of the week. Last nite (Tuseday nite) We had the honor of meeting Capt. Michael Gaffney who took some of his leave time to visit. He is Sam’s “Iraq boss.” He just returned from Iraq along with Kilo. He was there when the blast hit Sam’s group. He gave us some of the details. It was really good to hear his take on what happened there. He spoke highly of Sam and how the Kilo guys are a very tight group that became very close early on. They were all there for each other and still are. The guys are all on leave, finally. And well deserved. I want to thank all you Kilo guys for taking care of Sam and for all your thoughts and prayers. You enjoy your time off and maybe you guys can talk Capt. Gaffney into taking some time for himself too! Semper fi from a Marine mom.

  4. I wanted to let you know that I mentioned your family and linked to this site on today’s blog. With very best wishes, and prayers ~ Susan

  5. The Auernigs - Rob, Colleen & kids says:

    Hi Erin & Sam,

    It has been a while since I posted a comment, but you are in our thoughts & prayers daily ~ Your dad is doing such a great job journaling this journey. We look forward to each entry & know Sam is fighting hard to come home.

    Erin, you have just been such a blessing to Sam and an inspiration to so many others. Please know that you have many people out there, many that have never met you or Sam routing for you both & praying for Sam’s recovery. God Bless – Rob Colleen & kids

  6. kabbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Family!

    Yeah now THAT’S how to treat a Soldier!! They all deserve 1st class seating wherever they go. Just stopping by to let you know that you continue to be in my thoughts and my prayers each and every day and you ALWAYS will be! So wonderful to read stuff like “with help, Sam is combing his hair”. WOW that is AWESOME!! And at the same time, I think of how lucky I am to be able to comb my hair, tie my shoes, sit up, etc without considering how very lucky I am to be able to do these things.

    God bless you Sam, Erin and Family. May He continue to bestow upon you the strength comfort and peace you need every day to help you fight the battle to recovery. And WIN that battle. You ARE winning it guys, keep up the great work and never forget that prayers, support and LOADS of Angel Hugs are coming your way each and every day.

    – Kris, a Soldier’s Angel from RI

  7. Tammy Lazenby says:

    I hugged a Marine today. His name is Sgt. Current. He is a recruiter here in Glendale AZ. He was at my high school talking to the kids. My friend and I went over and thanked him for the things he has done to keep this country safe. I told him how proud I am of him and how proud I am of Sam. I showed him my hero bracelet. He said, he has heard about Kilo Battery.

    Love, Aunt Tammy

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