Honoring a Hero

Day 35
Listening to: Brave
Thought for the day: “Service before Self” – one of Red Dean’s mottos

feb4

Today I helped posthumously honor my dear friend Red Dean with the Old Hickory Chamber of Commerce 2013 Person of the Year award. It was a humbling process preparing for the presentation of this award. To prepare, I spent some time reading through Red’s written accounts of his life. Though we honored Red today for his extraordinary acts as a citizen of our community, I never can seem to shake his stories about WWII. Among his written accounts are his tales of his time as a prisoner of war. His division was captured in December of 1944 and would remain captive for 6 months. They were denied food, warm clothing, and tortured mentally via belittlement and being forced to watch those who tried to escape be killed. The story of this cruelty is most evident in the fact that Red went into the army weighing 170 lbs. When he left the POW camp, he weighed 94 lbs. I choked up when I shared this part of Red’s life today. I choked up because men like him and every other soldier who has served this country has done so at the risk of having to sacrifice complete quality of life and even life in order to protect the values of this country.

Here’s the thing. I spent all of January complaining about the cold. I don’t know cold. I don’t know cold like Red did. I do not know the cold our men and women currently serving in Afghanistan are experiencing. I have zero comprehension. I do not know if it is enough to say “thank you.” It just doesn’t feel sufficient………..but THANK YOU.