Welcome Home a Hero

This evening I went to the Sacramento airport to pick up a friend of mine who had been visiting friends on the east coast for a week.  She was so happy to see me and I know she appreciated seeing a friendly face and getting a warm hug.

I ran across a video of a group of people who go out to the Dallas-Ft Worth airport every time our military troops come home from Iraq or Afghanistan.  Many of these volunteers are veterans of the wars in Vietnam and Korea and remember putting their life on the line for their country and then coming home feeling like no one really cared about the sacrifice they made.

Please enjoy the video of the Welcome Home a Hero Program.  There is a very similar program out of Bangor Maine called The Maine Troop Greeters.  When Sam returned from Iraq on his first deployment, I remember him telling us how touched he was by the welcome home he received in Bangor as he and his buddies got off the plan.  I know some of the Maine Troop greeters, to this day, read this blog to keep up on Sam’s progress.

Sam’s medical status (from Sam’s father Eric):

Good Morning All!

It seems that when I spend time with Erin & Sam; we do an inordinate amount of laughing and carrying on…They each have an incredible gift of humor and what’s more they play off each other like they were professionals…Erin will set Sam up for a great delivery, knowing that he will come through with impeccable timing; and vice versa. Neither of them hog the punch lines nor are upset if the humor is lost on it’s intended audience…(meaning they don’t try to explain it; if you don’t get it, you don’t get it) It’s good natured, (no malice intended) but has been on occasion a little strange…

Sam tickling Erin That intro brings me to the picture. Sam is in his chair, me on his left and Erin is kneeling on his right. Yeah, you guessed it; we were praying. When we are done Sam begins to very sweetly and softly stroke Erin’s cheek with his fore finger. I see it and can’t help but state, “You love her don’t you Sam”…Erin looks up with adoring eyes and to break the moment, Sam sticks his finger in Erin’s nose. Funny in itself, but as she laughs, she asks him what are you going to do now? Without hesitation he mockingly wipes his finger on the yoke of her shirt. Erin and I roar…Sam does not crack a smile, not even a little one. (Donny, affectionately calls him “Deadpan Sam”) Maybe a twinkle in his eye, but you can just tell that the little stinker just let us both know that his humor is intact and he’s not afraid to use it.

You’ve heard the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine”. There have been many scientific studies done, books written, and tests
performed to try and prove that saying; and with many positive results…relieving stress, better communication, and easier to cope with everyday problems…But, did you know it is scriptural? Proverbs 15:30 (NIV) says, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” We as a family, have always related to one another with cheerfulness and humor; so much so that it would have to be said when the conversation had to become serious. I am thinking that this has contributed greatly to how we handle the news of Sam’s progress. With God in the picture it has become even easier. I no longer say Sam WILL be restored…I say, Sam IS restored. Jesus said it, I believe it, so it is a done deal. Nothing can separate us from his love so I know that nothing can separate us from his promises either.

I’m still a little unsure of the status of Sam and the seizures. I know they are watching him closely (monitoring his vitals) and reducing the anti-convulsants they were giving him. (4 different ones at one time)…His Doctor and the consulting neurologist agreed that he was overmedicated…Wow, do ya think? His Doctor has ordered weekly comparative EEG’s to track and see, if any, the increase or decrease in the seizure level, and try to regulate his meds. I get the feeling they are a little stumped and reacting to trial and error. When God intervenes, that confusion of the wise sometimes happens. They are doing the best they can for Sam and love him very much, and we appreciate that.

Once again, I’d like to send my appreciation to all who read these updates and Sam’s blog; and to the many who so faithfully respond with comments to encourage and uplift Sam and Erin and their families…(It truly makes my day) I always feel that I can count on anyone in my address book and to the many readers of the blog around the world; for a prayer for Sam and Erin. A brief remembrance to the Most High, that we are all thankful for Sam’s healing and are patiently waiting on him to accelerate his promises. I hope that doesn’t sound too demanding of God; and my answer is simply this: He wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t mean it; so I stand on his word, not mine…

Much love,


7 Responses to Welcome Home a Hero

  1. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Families!

    Just stopping by to let you all know that each and every day you are all in my thoughts and my prayers. I’m still chuckling about Sam sticking his finger up Erin’s nose! That’s AWESOME. And oh boy is laughter the best medicine – truer words have never been said!! 🙂

    Praying so hard that the EEGs show something, and that the trial and error “phase” goes smoothly, and that the docs will gain clarity around the situation. Sam’s caregivers are also in my prayers every day.

    Stay strong everyone, and please know and never forget that thoughts, prayers, support and load upon load of Angel Hugs are always being sent your way – every single day. God bless you Sam, Erin & the Nichols & Neria families. Big, ginormous hugs to you all!!

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  2. Becky Connolly says:

    Sam,Erin, Eric and Family,
    I just love the updates Eric, that you send out re the progress Sam is making. I try to read every one when I see them in my email box. Many days , just opening up that email brings a smile to my face and an appreciation of life. Sam and Erin, you are such a beautiful couple and I keep you both in my prayers every day. Hoping Sam, you will continue to keep your sense of humor and get better every day. Thanks for the updates. God Bless.

  3. Amanda says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Bert and standing in line as the soldiers came off the plane. It is a life changing experience and I wish everyone could be there at least one time.

  4. Sam, Erin, Erik and family
    I always look forward to the emails concerning Sam’s progress and the special love the he and Erin have for each other. That last photo of Sam with the electrodes on his forhead brought me to tears….Just wanted all of you to know that you are truly family in the Lord and we are rejoicing in the progress and sharing in the tears! But most of all we are praying for Sam’s recovery, believing that God can do much more than we know how to ask. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!” I Thess. 5:16-18
    Lord bless you all.

  5. Barbara Boyle says:

    Dear Sam ,Erin and families. Thank you for the e-mail updates. I really look forward to them and am very impressed with Sam’s continuing progress. You are remembered daily in my prayers and Sam’s name is on the Temple prayer rolls here in Utah. My grandson(Doc Hansen) has really wanted to come see Sam again,but for health reasons has been unable to do so. He will be having surgery on August first to correct numbness on his left side that has become a problem over the last several months. We expect all to go well,but he will remain on light duty in the wounded warrior program. Wishing you continuing progress,Doc Hansen’s grandmother.

  6. Meghann says:

    I have so much appreciation for the those who go out of their way to support the men and women who serve our country. When John (my husband and Marine) was on his way to Iraq the first time in 2006, he flew through Bangor, Maine and had the chance to meet some of the wonderful Maine Troop Greeters. He arrived there at around 0200, and there was a large group of them waiting for our Marines with prepaid cell phones in hand, snacks, drinks, signs…..everything they could to show how much they appreciate our troops. They knew this would be one of the last chances for these men and women to call home for a while and they waited for them to come in. That phone call is one I will never forget as long as I live. What a wonderful gift they provide during a difficult time. These were probably the very same people Sam had the honor of meeting when he travelled through there as well.

    It’s been a long while since I’ve left a reply to a blog on here, but I haven’t been far in thought or prayer. John and I check for news weekly and are so happy to hear how far Sam has come in his recovery. I smile and laugh and cry each week as I read what’s happening, and I am so incredibly proud of Sam and Erin. My love to you all.

    “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

  7. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Families,

    Just sitting here thinking about you all, hoping that you’ve had a great week this past week. You are all in my thoughts and my prayers every single day – and you ALWAYS will be!! Hope you’re feeling well this week Sam, hope you’re doing well too Erin! Thoughts, prayers, support and load after load of Angel Hugs are being sent to each of you all day, every day. God bless you Sam, Erin, the Nichols & Neria families. Big, huge, ginormous hugs to you all!!

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

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