My wife and I …

served in five locations during our career in the Army. The first was Norfolk, VA home of one of the largest naval bases in the world.

Opportunities abounded for getting to know and helping encourage others.

Naval operations normally occurred on six-month rotations. When a carrier battle group left town it normally took ten to twelve ships, including the carrier and 8-10.000 naval personnel, many of the men.

That often left mom to keep home fires burning, shuttle kids to soccer practices, patch up scraps, administer discipline, keep cars running, and washers washing, while working a job, just to make ends meet. Needless to say, she was always busy.

While dad was away for six months, roofs still leaked, cars stopped running, washers stopped washing, dogs ran away, kids got sick at school and needed to be picked up. I can’t tell you how many times we just listened, and did what we could to help, as these young moms struggled, wanting to see her mom and dad, perhaps a thousand miles or more away. Sometimes, we cried with them. After all, we were just kids ourselves.

Looking back, we made it through, richer for helping encourage someone in their time of need. My dear wife did much of that encouraging and helping. The retirement check we receive each month is just as much hers as it is mine. In fact, she probably worked way more hours than I worked. She is certainly a key part of our team-perhaps the key.

My wife Laura and I  

Carlos Showalter…

a great marine, who fought at the battles of Iwo Jima and Saipan led the “Flame of Freedom” ceremony for New Freedom Farm, Buchannan, VA.

New Freedom Farm, founded by Lois Dawn Fritz, Navy Veteran, is located in Buchannan, VA, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA. Freedom Farm serves veterans who deal with PTSD and other injuries. Other heroes at Freedom Farm are horses and other animals who have been rescued from neglect and abuse and given a new purpose in life to serve veteran heroes in their time of need.

“Rolling Thunder” sponsors New Freedom Farm”. Members of RT’s Mississippi chapter, stopped by to celebrate with Carlos, Lois and the assembled group.

Miss Virginia led the group in singing Happy Birthday” to Carlos on the occasion of his 95th birthday.

In addition to enjoying the celebration, I was privileged to present a signed copy of our recently published book “When Heaven Visits, dramatic accounts of military heroes” to the third generation of the Showalter family, Carlos’ granddaughter.

Carlos Showalter and Author Jerry Barnes at New Freedom Farm.