Remembering their sacrifice in our everyday walk

Notes from Eric on Sam’s progress:

I had the privilege and pleasure to celebrate Tony Neria’s (Erin’s Dad) 50th birthday this last Sunday with his family and close friends. Tony works full time telecommuting from his home for a major telecommunications company troubleshooting telephony issues. In addition he is the musical praise leader for his church. A gifted musician in his own right and with leadership abilities as well. Of course you know that all of the techie origin and maintenance of Sam’s blog comes from Tony; and he  continues to search and find relevant stories of our heroes in the military that parallel or highlight Sam’s Tony's_birthday_party_022condition. He started this blog so that we, as Sam’s immediate family wouldn’t be burdened with the many calls and inquiries that came after Sam’s injury; but it has progressed into something far more than that. It is truly a labor of love, and I can’t thank Tony enough for all his hard work. It did my heart good to see Tony surrounded by his sweet wife Julie, his two gorgeous daughters, Erin and Ali; his incredible Mom and Dad, Hector & Ruth; and most importantly, the many friends that came to pay him respect and honor…most were members of his choir or musicians from his worship team, but all were there to lend their hearty congratulations on a milestone birthday….Many Happy returns, Tony; and God Bless you for all that you do…the first pic is of Tony getting ready to attack his cake…

Speaking of honor, I received this great email from the mother of a Marine in Sam’s battery…She and her family had sent Sam a very nice “care package” and included her email address so I had the chance to write to her. Her husband is a Marine, formerly on active duty, and their son is somewhere on a West Pac cruise. (Japan, Koreas, Philippines, Guam, etc…) She recounted a story to me when she arrived at the post office and had to wait in a long line. It seems the young gentleman just next to her was becoming agitated by the wait and verbally abusive to the clerk that was inundated by the press of patrons that were waiting. She was carrying the two boxes; one for her son and one for Sam. She told him that she was mailing one to her son whom would not be home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, his Birthday, nor anytime soon because he was on a ship somewhere ensuring his safety. The other package was for a Marine severely wounded in Iraq last year that was there ensuring his freedom to stand in a post office line. She reminded him of Sam’s family that were PATIENTLY waiting to see if he would recover, begin to speak and to walk again. She asked if that wasn’t worth a little patience on his part? He was humbled and apologetically said he would give consideration to her words…all of the other people in line promised to pray for the two Marines…

Another incident comes to mind…my older brother works for the Sacramento Sheriff’s department and sometimes works other events like Cal-Expo (our state fair). One day, he saw a young man about 20-25 walking with the aid of a cane and his shoulders were badly rounded. Ray recognized the cap was USMC and that he had some pins in the hat that were unmistakably battle related. Ray approached him to shake his hand and to thank him for his service when the young man smiled broadly, thrust out his hand, and before Ray could utter a word. said, “Thank you Sir, for protecting us!” Ray managed a thank you too, but said his eyes watered as he watched that young man hobble into the fair. Honor; it’s a big word and it crops up everywhere…

Sam and Erin_10_22_08_Kentfield Sam and Erin are doing tremendously…Erin’s describes their days as great, full, and productive. He is at the end of a treatment that has been so  unpleasant for him that he had to have morphine both before and after the  procedure. It is called bladder irrigation and it hurts. It is used to fight  the recurring urinary tract infections with something more than just  antibiotics. They pump his bladder full of water with antiseptics and  topical antibiotics and then force him to hold it in there for an hour. Ugh!  Not only does he have the sensation to pee, but it hurts as well. I asked  him how the shot of morphine made him feel and he answered “fuzzy”. Better  than pain, I guess…Erin said tonight that while she gave him a haircut  today, he became quite talkative and that he had a great afternoon. You see,  Marines have to have that high regulation haircut to make them happy. Ha!  Talk of transfer back to Palo Alto won’t even be entertained by his Darling  Dr D. until his meds are regulated to her satisfaction…Dr Erin whole  heartily concurs…
The 2nd picture is Sam and Erin on my last visit. Note the clarity of Sam’s  eyes as he is weaned off the drugs that make him groggy
Much love to you all,


13 Responses to Remembering their sacrifice in our everyday walk

  1. Caroline Bruce says:

    Glad to hear the great progress & that is a great pic, you guys have come a long way!!! Really awesome to see.

    Just wanted to send my love & prayers to you all.



  2. soldiersangelswashington says:

    Happy Belated Birthday to Tony, and a big Angel hug & prayers for all of you. I continued to be inspired every day by your faith and love.

    julie morelli
    Soldiers’ Angel

  3. Danalee says:

    Eric, it was great to meet you Sunday at Tony’s party, and greater still to hear that Sam is doing so well! A picture does say 1000 words…Sam looks super, as you said, his eyes are clear and he is truly ‘present’ in the moment. Seeing this picture of he and Erin restores my confidence in God and re-energizes the prayers I’m sending Sam and Erin’s way. God bless.

  4. Janet Slauson says:

    I have been receiving these blogs for a while now and this is the first time I’ve replied. First I want to say my prayers are with each one of you in this time of trials. And thank you Eric for the updates on your wonderful son and his family!
    My husband and I went to school with Julie and Tony. We were all in the band together. I also played softball with Julie and Joni, Julie’s sister. When I read the blogs I Smile, I Cry and then Smile again! My heart goes out to you all! I always cheat and look at the pictures first and I noticed right away that Sam’s eyes were clearer! Then to read it I knew I was seeing it for real! I have a son with CP so I know that things can be slow at times but when you have faith and patients you can be sucessful! I look forward to you next blog! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TONY!

  5. Jeannie says:

    Sam looks wonderful….my thoughts and prayers are with you all always…

    Tony, happy belated birthday!


  6. Sue and Ralph Bancroft says:

    We continue to pray for all of you and give thanks to God for sam’s wonderful progress.

  7. Lois Brauer says:

    I’m so thankful for all that God is doing in Sam and Erin’s lives–and how it is spreading out to so many people in our country and world. What a blessing you are to the rest of us. May God continue to be with you, strengthen and give you all that you need in the days, months and years ahead. Semper fi!!

  8. Carol Calloway says:

    Happy Birthday, Tony. Sorry it is belated. But I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the wonderful things you do: the music at church, the blog on Sam and Erin, and for being the really terrific guy that you are. It is a privilege to know you. And every Marine should be thanking you for the wonderful words of encouragement that you give them and also for telling the world about these wondeful men and women who fight, suffer, and die for our freedoms and our country. I hope everyone will thank them in the best way possible–GET OUT AND VOTE ON TUESDAY!

  9. Wendy says:

    Sam & Erin,
    It is such a beautiful thing to be kept in touch with your lives and what all is happening. Thank you for allowing us a window into your lives. It sounds like Erin’s dad’s party was a wonderful time for everyone. I’ll bet Sam was cheering from a distance and celebrating his wife’s father’s birthday in his heart, incredibly thankful for the life Tony represents, as Tony brought you to him. You two have such a terrific support system around you all….full of love, faith and strength, I love seeing Christian faith in action, as I am able to watch all of you from my distance.
    I hope Sam has completed his painful treatments, and I am adding my faith to yours that the treatments will be effective. I passionately dislike seeing people in pain. Erin, it is so wonderful to see the effect your presence has on your husband, how he is more talkative and animated with you at his side. You and Sam are love in action.
    I lreally enjoyed the stories this week. It is amazing to see the impact your lives have on so many people, many people that you may never meet on this side of heaven. The lady & the post office, WOW! God can use you to touch their lives, and is calling strangers to pray for you. Impressive, isn’t it?
    Well, I pray you stay encouraged today and every day. I continually pray for God’s blessing and healing for your lives. May God refresh and strengthen you today, giving you grace and hope where you need it.
    Bless you both!

  10. Wendy says:

    PS- I wanted to let you know I have been to a couple of prayer meetings this month, where there have been as many as 20 people at a time praying for you two! I hope you don’t mind that I ask people to pray for you and stand with you in faith that Sam will continue to receive healing and progress to complete and total restoration. I pray this encourages you!
    May the love of Christ keep you!

  11. Karl Gieseke says:

    Hey y’all,
    I’m so glad to see the progress that Sam continues to make. It is an everyday reminder of why I became a corpsman in the first place, and he is truly an inspiration to all of us. He is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human body, and a real hero. I hope that all of you are staying well, know that y’all are in my prayers, as you have been since Sam was in Bethesda.
    Take care!!
    HM3 Gieseke, Karl

  12. Steve Marquez says:

    Just sending some love guys. Always thinking of you we miss and love you guys.

  13. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Family!

    HAPPY BELATED birthday Tony!!!

    Stopping by to say hi to everyone and to let you all know that as always you’re all in my thoughts and my prayers. Every single day! And I wanted to do a quick shout out to our Marine Corps HEROES – Happy Birthday to our beloved Marine Corps!!

    And know that tomorrow, Veteran’s Day, Sam you will be in my thoughts and my prayers in an extra special way as will all of our heroes who serve and who have served. God bless each and every one of you. I hope you never tire of hearing THANK YOU – THANK YOU for everything that you have done, given and sacrificed for this great country. Thank you for fighting for and defending our way of live. Our sweet precious FREEDOM. There is no way in creation that this country could ever repay the debt we owe you.

    God bless you Sam, God bless all of our heroes past and present. God bless those who have given all for us, their sacrifice shall never be forgotten. And God bless the families of our heroes who sacrifice greatly for all of us. Thank you all so very much.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

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