Coast Guard Remembered

November 14, 2009

coast guard c-130

I believe I’ve mentioned in the past that I am the choir director at Saint Lawrence Catholic church in North Highlands California.  North Highlands is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard air station who lost 7 crew members as their C-130 Hercules collided with a Marine Corps Super Cobra helicopter.  With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan involving our Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, our Coast Guard sometimes gets forgotten when it comes time to mention the sacrifice that is being made our military.  Hopefully, one day soon, we will no longer have our military sons and daughters in harms way in the Middle East—but the U.S. Coast Guard will always be ready to risk their lives for our country whenever we need them.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Coast Guard members who died recently…and of course with the families of the two Marines who died in the mid-air collision.  When I’m driving in North Highlands and see the big red and white C-130 in the air, I will say a little pray for the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Thank you for your service and for putting your lives on the line for us.  

From Eric, Sam’s father:  Sam&Erin_11-13-09_CareMeridianI’m often touched by the precious exchange that goes on between Sam and Erin when I’m visiting, but every once in a while he says something or she does something for him that just tugs at the strings of my heart. Yesterday, as I sat and visited with Sam while Erin was out of the room, we talked of many things like Thanksgiving approaching, Darfur, (because he was wearing a shirt that says save it) and where he was in his faith walk for healing.  Erin returned and came up behind him to give him a great  big hug. (See the 1st picture) Since the hospital staff loves Sam and Erin so much, it is not uncommon for Sam to receive such a hug from them as well. I asked him, "do you know who is hugging you"? He looked at me squarely and said, "It’s My Wife". He often refers to Erin as "my wife", but didn’t realize until yesterday what he means when he says it. He holds their relationship so sacred and that he is so grateful for the love that she shows him, that he just can’t help but remind himself that this angelic creature is "his wife".  He is thankful for his many God given blessings of which Erin is the foremost one. I said to him recently, that God orchestrated that He and Erin be together many years ago because He (God) knew that he would need someone extraordinary to stand beside him during this season of challenge in his life. He responded, "I know Dad, I Know". Sam knows, his family (Nichols’ & Nerias’) knows, and we want you all to know as well. 

We apologize for starving you all for news and information regarding Sam and Erin. I can say that I am extra busy at work, that I am a newlywed, or that the class I’m taking is time consuming; and all would be true; but when some people ask me when my next update regarding Sam and Erin is coming, then I trust I’ve waited too long. Sam is doing tremendously! The tests show double digit percentage points of improvement in flexibility, strength, eye coordination, speech patterns and volume, and how far he can turn his head and neck. One day during physical therapy, he was in the standing frame. He was given the bicycle wheel to turn with his arm strength alone. He usually can’t generate much volume to his voice while standing because of the straps that hold him in it; but this day he was at full volume. In addition this day he seemed to be having trouble with the exercise. Carrie, (his therapist) asked him if he didn’t feel like it today as he was having trouble turning the wheel. She told him that he always does this so easily and encouraged him to try harder. In his true fashion, he lowered his head and put his whole heart and soul into the SuperSam_holloween_2009 exercise and in no time was turning the wheel as always. It wasn’t until after he was done, that they discovered that the resistance was set at 3 time his normal routine. He was a tired boy that afternoon, but got loads of accolades from everyone present. It is further evidence that he has dogged determination to achieve any goal or task set before him, and that his spirit is as strong today for his recovery as it was many months ago…A father’s pride knows no bounds.  The 2nd picture is of Sam on Halloween, where Sam was Clark Kent-Superman, and Erin was Lois Lane. This kind of fun and creative thinking is indicative of the everyday options that Erin provides for Sam. We often stop at our favorite coffee shop on the way over and will call Erin to see if she would like one too; she in turn asks Sam if he wants one also…(Sam can’t drink yet by mouth, but that doesn’t stop her from including Sam in the process) Yesterday he asked for his to be with 3 Splendas…I commit to generating an update on more of a regular basis…until then,

Much love,
Eric

ali_luis_sam_erin at biblical gardens weddingFrom Tony, Erin’s father:  I wanted to add one more photo to share with everyone.  God actually blessed me and my wife with two beautiful daughters, Erin and Allison.  This past weekend, Allison married Luis.  The photo was taken in the parking lot of the Alta Sierra Biblical Gardens near Grass Valley.  When Allison was a very young girl, my mother took her and Erin to the Biblical Gardens—and during the visit, Allison declared that when she got married, it would be at the Biblical Gardens—and so it was.  It was a beautiful day which was made even more special because both Erin and Sam could be there.  

Peace to all,
Tony

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