Extreme Makeover Home Edition: There aren’t to many TV shows that really hit me emotionally. The one that always does me in every time is Extreme Makeover Home Edition with Ty Pennington. It’s just a wonderful show about people helping other deserving families in need. The latest show I watched (probably a re-run) on CMT was about the Extreme Makeover crew helping to build an adaptive home for a soldier who lost both of his legs in Iraq. The adaptive home was built with the help of an organization called Homes for Our Troops. I’d like to paste in the “about us” section of their web site:
Homes for Our Troops is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 2004. This organization is strongly committed to helping those who have selflessly given to their country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries. We assist severely injured Servicemen and Women and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and coordinating the process of building a new home or adapting an existing home for handicapped accessibility.
*All services provided by Homes for Our Troops are at no cost to the veterans we serve.
The Homes for Our Troops web site has includes some wonderful pictures and videos of homes that were built for our severely injured troops returning from the Middle East. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out their web site and see all the wonderful work this organization is accomplishing for our wounded warriors.
Sam’s medical status:
One of my very favorite sayings comes from former President Dwight D Eisenhower; “What counts is the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight”. I’m not sure in what context he was
speaking…could have been Vietnam; as his was the first administration that sent advisors to the troubled, but little democracy in Southeast Asia…He knew that this tiny little country would be no match for the North with Russia’s and China’s influence. Yet he was impressed with their resolve and he deemed them worthy of America’s assistance to ensure their survival. As we know that war dragged on for decades, becoming very unpopular as we continued to sacrifice our young men and women. Sound familiar? Yeah, I’m speaking of Iraq; but that isn’t what this is about, and I don’t want to waste my precious space in print discussing something so controversial to most Americans. This is about a single Marine along with his comrades in arms that have sacrificed much for their country and it’s people.
As I visited with Sam this last Saturday, I had several hours of one on one time with him. He likes to be read to, he likes questions to test his memory and knowledge; but most of all he loves stories. No matter what I offer, whether it be reading, T.V., or just chatting, He’ll always opt for a story. I never have to make them up as he is interested in the real deal…The Old Testament is full of action heroes like Samson, David, Joshua, and the like. He likes Marine Corps history and it’s relative heroes like Chesty Puller, Samuel and William H Nichols. Most of all he loves to hear about his restoration and discharge from the hospital. He loves the idea of coming home and resuming his life. We discuss how that will look, where he will live, what he will do for a living, how many kids he will have, and other very germane subjects. One thing comes through to me over and over again, and that is His dogged determination to make that happen. I can see it in his face, his eyes, and by the enthusiasm he approaches the very thought of it. The size of the “fight” in this dog is huge. His efforts, though usually silent, are large enough to deafen a brass band. I gain strength from just being around Him and Erin. My faith is renewed in his seemingly never ending source of intestinal fortitude.
For many months I thought I was bringing Sam the Holy Spirit; but the Lord has taken up residence there to the point of being a refueling spot for me and for other visitors that come to see them. There is no other explanation for the great comfort, refreshment, and restoration that their visitors feel when being there. Of course I know the Lord is not confined to time and place, but his favor is upon Sam and Erin, and that evidence shows up to me through Sam’s incredible desire to get well. This first picture shows Sam in his bed and how he grips the side rail to move himself about. Notice the new pic line under his right arm that he had installed before leaving Marin General. He has a “trapeze” ordered which he likes to use to pull himself up and about. That is Sam’s smile for now…
Sam’s occupational therapist, Kate, made this statement on Saturday. She said he must have been so “buff’ before his accident to have so much muscle tone after 16 months. He had just done 2 sets of 15 reps of an exercise that she had him doing with his right arm. God is maintaining him so that when the time is right, he’ll be able to walk out of there. Erin’s b’day was on Saturday, (25) (I think she looks 18) Ha! She got to spend the day with her Mom and Dad, but called me to see how her baby was doing. After Sam was readied for bed by the night shift, he was looking very sleepy as we had been visiting the whole day so I thought sleep was near. I asked him if he wanted to say Happy Birthday to Erin before he nodded off. It was like someone had turned on a light switch. His eyes popped open and when he saw the cell phone come out began to adjust himself in bed with sheer
anticipation of his call to his sweetie. When I had Erin on the phone, I got to hear his first word of the day. He said Happy Birthday to her and it made her day. (Mine too) He tried several times to say that He loved her, but only managed to mouth the words…I was a witness to those words and they meant a great deal to Erin on her Birthday. She was feeling kind of blasé about her time in Sacramento and being away from Sam, but that short, 30 second phone call gave her peace to enjoy her time with those that care very deeply for her.
Sam quickly tired after that, but not before offering me what Erin refers to “respect knuckles”. See the second picture as his hand meets mine. It melts my heart and I smother him with kisses before I go…Loving and gentle, but full of a fierce fight…sounds like a paradox, but it’s not….