Friday, May 14, 2010


On the eve of Armed Forces Day, I wish to share this with you.

Two years ago I wrote a soldier, on his second deployment to Iraq, and asked what inspired him. He wrote to me and said, " I will try my best to answer you. What inspired me was the fact that I got to contribute in joining the men and women who are defending our freedom. I am inspired by the  others who are giving up the same as I am to complete this mission. When I first  received my orders, I was so excited to be able to go. Then when I was at the  airport and the Head Chaplain was saying a prayer and telling me how dangerous  it was there.  Reality hit! I became very scared of the unknown. I got sick and had panic attacks.

This was so very different to me because I am a police officer. I have been shot at three times, I seen many mutilated bodies, and I have seen just about every horrible thing you could imagine. I have made it through all of them. Now, this was the unknown and I just didn't know how to handle it. Every time I ended up in a different place I had panic attacks. Bad ones too. In the back of my head I could feel something that kept telling me "once you get there it will be Okay and you can get going with your job." But I didn't trust my instincts. I went through 11 days of the worst time of my  life. After I would start to settle in, I would have to move again and that would  kill me.

Guess what? As soon as I got to my final destination, I started working  and everything went away. Just like that little voice told me. 

I guess things that inspired me were when people would come up and thank me,  when the waitresses would come up and say "your bill was paid by the guy walking out". Kids looking up at me and saying hello. Seeing those kids and saying to myself " I am going to be part of the reason why this kid is going to be able to grow up and have a family and grandkids. Also the thought of the stories I would be able to tell my Grandkids. What's putting a smile on my face  right now is thinking that my kids and grandkids can say to others 'my father and grand father fought for our freedom, while they are standing over my grave that will have the American Flag engraved on it saying 'United States Army.'"

U.S. Army Chaplain S.L.

In a perfect world it would be great if we all lived in peace, but we don't.  I for one am blessed that these men and women are there protecting us.  Thank you!  For the work you do and  sacrifices you make, for all you do, and all you see, and for being the kind of men and women that you are.

A few weeks ago, I had my therapy dog Kelsie with me. at BAMC and sat with B. for an hour. He lost both legs and the use of one arm and has a TBI. He told me of his wife, K., and his dog, and his dreams. He wants to ride  horses and is working toward that goal of feeling the freedom of  that movement - 'almost like I had legs'.

M. is a soldier with  a TBI and PTSD.  He can't sleep for the nightmares and suffers chronic  debilitating pain. For a few all too short minutes, he becomes a young man again when he cradles Kelsie's head close to his chest.

The wives that struggle with a husband that struggles. The burned soldiers that worry whether or  not their children will be afraid of them. These are the soldiers I work with daily.

So on the day before Armed Forces Day - to all of them that I am able to reach out to and all of those I'm not, thank you.

You are loved, you are appreciated and you are blessed. I am deeply grateful and humbled to know you have my back.

I had asked Chaplain S how he deals with compassion fatigue because I do.  His response follows.  I hope my dog teams read this carefully.

"Dear Patsy,
In what we do we have to be very careful. My mother was a nurse and I was about 14 years old. She got a patient who was a quadrapalegic. I remember people telling her to NOT get attached. He was a young male and she was used to taking care of older people; she became attached. Well he passed and our family went through so much pain because of how it effected her. My point is in what we do you have to condition your mind to say We cannot be selfish God needs these people for a much more important purpose. Just as God put you where you are for your important misson.

People will feed off of others attitudes. When you and your dogs are with those guys they feed off of your attitudes. There are so many soldiers here that tell me they love running into me, because I'm always smiling and joking around and that puts them in a good mood. You're doing the same thing. So what happens when we get stressed out with all of this? God introduces you to me.

Although we only know each other by the words in these emails, we feel the real power of God and his love for us. You shouldn't feel sadness. Feeling sadness is simply saying " I feel sorry for you," and most people don't want that.

Let those soldiers know that everyday you  spend with them makes you a more quality person and thank them. That will really change their lives and make them feel better.

You can vent to me when ever you want. Someday I will need you to vent to also."
God Bless,

God Bless America in all places and at all times.

No comments:

Post a Comment