I’ve read the statistic that only one percent of the population in the United States is actively involved in the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m sure that is the reason we hear or see very little news in print or on TV about our military troops and their continuing struggles in dealing with multiple deployments to the Middle East. When I was a child in the mid 60’s and early 70’s, the nightly news was packed with information about the conflict in Vietnam—the political debate about our continued presence, the growing protest, the daily body count! I don’t have any children in school, but I wonder what our children are being told today. Do the teachers speak of the men and women in the military who are still willing to give their lives for their country? Do these children realize the sacrifice our troops make everyday? Do they even care? I’d like to introduce you to a young lady who lives across the street from my parents. Maybe she can answer some of those questions.
Hi, my name is Marissa Lang, and I go to John Barrett Middle School. There is an awesome club there called Barrett Battalion. This club “adopts” a different battalion every year. We send care packages to them. One of the great things about this is that it does not matter how heavy the package is (but we only send non-melt able/perishable items, such as beef jerky, Jolly Ranchers, gum, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss to name a few)! Nevertheless, you see, the question is, how do we get the money for it? We recycle. We recycle water/soda bottles, and soda cans. If you are in the vicinity of the Carmichael area, please bring your plastic bottles and aluminum cans to John Barrett Middle School, 4243 Barrett Rd. Carmichael, Ca 95608. If you have questions please call my school’s phone number (and say you are donating bottles, cans or non-perishable/melt able items to the Battalions). at (916)971-7842. We really would appreciate your help. Thank you, Marissa Lang
To give you a little more background on the Barrett Battalion: Brenda Danzinger is the teacher at John Barrett Middle School who started the Barrett Battalion. Her husband is a Navy Commander who is now currently deployed in Afghanistan. The picture to the right was taken at a little thank-you ceremony the parents had in appreciation for Mrs. Danzinger starting the Barrett Battalion.
Marissa was able to go with my mother to visit Sam and Erin at his CareMeridian home in Granite Bay. This is what she wrote about her experience meeting Sam for the first time:
Meeting Sam has helped me to realize many things. Such as not taking people or things for granted. In fighting for our freedom, Sam has sadly lost some of his own freedom. yet, he has never lost any of his determination or courage to live his life bravely. I believe that part of his determination is because of Erin, his wife, encouraging him. Sam is one of those people that you do not find to often. After everything he has been through, he has always managed to be such an amazing, kind, and wonderful person to be around! The time I am privileged to have with Sam and Erin will always be to short! Sam is our hero. His bright blue eyes are strong, like the blue of our American flag. Thank you Sam, for what you did—you did for my family and me.
Sam’s medical status (from his father Eric):
"If you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move, Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17).
Sam and Erin for the last two years have faced a mountain that would seem as impossible to remove as it did for David to kill Goliath almost 3000 years ago. There have been many ups and downs, advancements and plateaus, victories and stalemates. God’s perfect timing is not our own. After all, David picked up 5 stones as back up ammo, and Jesus himself had to pray more than once for a blind man when he restored his sight. When the time is right, it will be our "Rock" that delivers the crippling blow to Sam’s infirmity and He will walk out of that place. Another mercy of God is that Sam doesn’t have to face this mountain alone. He has Erin who so reminds me of the friendship that Jonathan had for David. A life sacrificing kind of love that can only come from the Spirit of God. The two of them start every day with passion, enthusiasm, and an expectancy that this could be the very day for Sam’s restoration. Sam’s day begins with a telephone call to Erin, to say "Good morning; I love you, and I can’t wait to see you today." Erin loves these calls, and they sometimes quicken her step to get over there to begin their day together. They read, talk, or enjoy the pastoral setting just outside their patio doors. The other day Erin was reading Sherlock Holmes to Sam when he stopped her to have some very choice words for the parakeets that were too noisy. Ha! His new "level of awareness" (medical terms) includes a better sense of knowing where he is and why. It can be discouraging, but he meets it everyday with a great outlook, a positive, can-do attitude, and he never forgets that it is God who is orchestrating his recovery. He is the shy, diminutive boy of the story who faced his giant, and won….
The picture is from Erin a few days ago…I love the way She clowns with Sam, sparking his own sense of humor and laughter…[Erin asked Sam to say “something” and he came out with “Oat Bran”].