Sam and Erin are Home!

National Memorial Day Concert

I received an email from one of the PBS producers of the National Memorial Day Concert requesting to use a picture of Sam and Erin  during one of their musical tributes to our wounded military.  I’m not sure at what point in the concert the picture will be shown, but here is the picture that will be used.  It was taken at the Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital on September 20th 2008.  Please check the PBS Website for the local time the concert will be shown on your local PBS station (I checked my local KVIE listing and didn’t see it in the schedule so it may not be shown in the local Sacramento area).  Regardless of whether or not you have time to view the concert, the website has a wonderful resource section titled Discover Ways to Sam and Erin_9_20_08_KentfieldHelp the Wounded and their Families.  The web site list many of the wonderful charities who have touched our family over the last 2 years.  We tend to think of our fallen hero’s on Memorial Day, but let us not forget the many wounded troops who have served our military faithfully.  It’s estimated that there are about 320,000 soldiers returning from Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 who have experienced a traumatic brain injury.  Many also suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Many soldiers who have been deployed numerous times have been exposed to multiple blast injuries.  I would also like to take a few minutes to remember Sam’s buddies who died when the Humvee Sam was riding in blew up.  You can view a short bio on each of them on this blog in the Fallen Heroes of Kilo tab.   I’m sure this is a difficult time for their families.

Peace and Love,

And Blessings are New Everyday:  God’s never ending blessings and mercies continue to lead Sam and Erin through their journey to Sam’s restoration and healing. I reported last time that the military insurance company had denied Sam’s application to the rehab hospital that is just 10-15 minutes from our home in the Sacramento area. Their Marine Corps liaison approached the challenge through battalion, Care Meridian Granite Bay Californiathe medical staff re-wrote the language used to describe the request, and all of Sam’s prayer army took it to prayer. I’m not exactly sure  which efforts God used in accomplishing his will for Sam and Erin, but am joyful to report that as of Thursday, May 21st, at approximately 1:00 pm; Sam is a resident of the CareMeridian Rehab Hospital in Granite Bay, Ca. [7150 Sierra Ponds Ln Granite Bay, CA 95746 (916 722-2990)] This is truly an answer to prayer, and we are extremely elated that so many more of Sam’s family and friends will be able to visit him and thereby thrusting his restoration onto a new level. I was going to say it was a blessing to be able to support Erin more on a daily basis, but she usually is instrumental in supporting us! The move was a smooth one, as Erin had secured an apartment approximately one week before the actual move, and took a weekend to move the large furniture there with the help of her sister Ali, and Sam’s brother, Donny and his wife, Brandi. Sam’s Mom, Kelley, and her husband Jose, painted accent walls, painted the bathroom, and set up her bed. Erin’s Mom, Julie, brought several boxes of stored incidentals to kitchen and bath, along with groceries to further prepare Erin’s new apartment.  Erin wanted to concentrate on Sam and his comfort in the move, which can be stressful.  Erin followed the ambulance that delivered Sam, in her fully loaded car; and Staff Sergeant Brian Judkins (Marine Corps Liaison) followed in a van with the remainder of Sam and Erin’s possessions. It was truly a team effort; and who wouldn’t want to be on that team????

Last weekend when all of the "work" was being done; Wendy and I had the most pleasant task of all, and that was to visit with Sam. He was amazing; impressing the speech pathologist when we arrived. This particular therapist hadn’t seen Sam in a month, but he was so excited, he was almost giddy. Erin had left a message written in erasable marker on a 2×3 foot white board. She wrote a reminder for him that she would be gone, when she would be back, and that if he missed her he could call her anytime he wanted. Sam was holding the board and reading it aloud to him in full context. This was not one word at a time, but several words to a phrase that we hold to be quite normal. It is truly a progression and another stride forward for Sergeant Sam..As the therapist finished his session with Sam, a nurse  asked if Sam was up for a visitor. Former Secretary of Defense, William Perry, under President Bill Clinton, (and his wife) was visiting our injured servicemen. They were gracious and sincere in their appreciation for Sam’s service and sacrifice.  After Wendy and I had explained the severity of Sam’s injuries, and how far God has brought him in the past 21 months, I asked Sam if Secretary Perry didn’t Formery Secretary of Defense William Perry's visit to Sam in Palo Alto 5_20_2009deserve a smart salute. Although Sam was in bed, he snapped a very smart salute to the unsuspecting former Secretary which of course is in the chain of command for any of our military personnel. As Mr. Perry returned the salute to Sam; you would have been hard pressed to find a dry eye in that room. (See picture).

Tony informs me that a producer of the nationally televised "Concert for Memorial Day" will use a picture of Sam and Erin during that show. It will air on PBS on Sunday, the 24th, at 8pm EST.  Erin has approved the picture and it is a very touching one of them hugging each other. Thank you Tony for your continued efforts on fielding all of the correspondence through Sam’s blog, and keeping us informed as to sequential events.  I also want to extend my appreciation to all of our servicemen and women around the world; but especially as Memorial Day approaches to remember in prayer, the families of all those that have made the ultimate sacrifice. We Love You…

Much love,


10 Responses to Sam and Erin are Home!

  1. Angela Billiet says:

    Hi Erin,
    I met you in 2004 when you volunteered to be an aide in my 1st grade classroom. I had a nice visit with your parents last night. They told me that your husband Sam is doing so much better..that’s great!!!! They are thrilled to have you so close to home as I am sure you are happy to be close to your parents and sister as well.
    I continue to think you of both and keep you in my prayers. Happy Memorial Day….Angela

  2. Kalista says:

    Erin and Sam: WELCOME HOME!!!!! Following your progress get better and better is wonderful to hear. I was unable to come and see either of you, but since you are so close to home, i hope i can change that. Keep up the amazing work. You are in our prays everyday

  3. Dana Williams says:

    Praise God! I am so happy for Sam and Erin, and all of your family and friends, to have them home again! What a blessing!

    I hadn’t known about the photo on PBS and hadn’t seen the blog, but I flipped on the TV to catch the show, got distracted and walked away from the set for awhile, and just when I returned to my TV chair, there were Sam and Erin! What a great surprise!

    Father God,

    Continue to hold this couple, their family and friends, all Sam’s caregivers and their congregations in Your infinitely loving and healing hands. Restore Sam from head to toe, from outermost to innermost. Uphold Erin and all the family in safety as they travel.

    We pray in His Name,


  4. Wendy says:

    Congratulations to Everyone who will be able to visit with Sam and Erin on a more regular basis. I am excited that Sam is so close now, and will be able to be enveloped in regular laying on of hands and saturated with hands on prayer!
    What a gift to all!
    I am continually excited about Sam’s ongoing progress. He is a Medical Miracle! When the Secretary of Defense, his wife, and the hospital representatives in Palo Alto heard Sam’s story, and what a miracle he is…they had tears in their eyes, and some down their cheeks. Sam & Erin continue to inspire us all. I hope they know how proud everyone is of them!
    Lots of love to you!

  5. Lois Brauer says:

    Praise God for His continous healing power with Sam and Erin’s faithfulness, support, and love. You are truly inspiring and uplifting to so many of us as we have watched you struggle, pray, and clung to God’s promises. Welcome back to Sacramento and I pray God continues to bless you in this and all future chapters of your lives.

    I didn’t know there was going to be a special Memorial Concert on PBS but ran across it Sunday night; and there I saw the picture of Erin and Sam. It brought tears of joy and thanks to my eyes!

    Lois B.

  6. Caroline Bruce says:

    Hey guys!!! Oh man that is SUCH awesome news!!!
    Wanted to send my love & best wishes for the next part of your journey!!!
    Lots of Love,
    Caroline in New Zealand

  7. Stephanie Kerr-Chase says:

    I am so excited you are home. Congratulations and hope to see you soon.
    I am so proud of you both.

  8. Carol Calloway says:

    Welcome home to my favorite Marine and Erin. In keeping up with you two through the blog that Tony does, I wonder who is tougher–the Marine or Erin. Maybe Erin should be made an honorary Marine. Because both of you are tough and that means strong if faith and strong in love. Our prayers continue to be with you both for strength and for totally healing. So far-so good. God bless you both.

    Love and prayers,

  9. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Families — just stopping by to let you all know that as always you’re in my thoughts and my prayers – each and every day. I hope that things are going well at CareMeridian – that you’re comfortable there and have been working with some great people. Congrats on the apartment, Erin!! It must be wonderful to have a place that is yours and yours only after so long. And to be home near family and friends must be the greatest therapy on the planet for both of you.

    God bless you Sam & Erin and your families. There are always thoughts, prayers, support and loads and loads of extra special Angel Hugs coming your way, each and every day. And they always will.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  10. Anonymous says:

    Erin and Sam, you don’t know me, but I have ran across your photos on Flickr and recognized you on the blog. We make the EasyStand standing frame that I believe Sam is using at rehab. You are an inspiration, and true hero. The photo of you two is beautiful. Take care.

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