Much of the information in today’s post I’ve said before in one way or another. I hope you’ll read the entire thing because there are some things in here you don’t know. And these things are worth reading.
As many of you know, my sister-in-law, Tami, lost her son, Chad, in Afghanistan on December 1st of last year. And most of you know Chad’s story but for anyone who hasn’t read about him, I’m going to do a brief synopsis. Chad was a Corporal in the Marines and was on his second tour of duty in a war zone. He didn’t have to go, being an only child with only nine months left on his enlistment. But he wouldn’t let his buddies face the dangers of war without him. That’s the caliber of man he was. Honor and dedication were as much a part of him as his arms or his hair. It’s who he was.
Two weeks ago Chad’s platoon returned home from Afghanistan. Tami and her husband, Tebo, flew to California to meet with all of them, just to welcome them home and let them know they were loved and appreciated. It was a difficult trip for Tami. Can you imagine welcoming all those young men back from the war without her own son being one of them? I can. I hugged the two survivors of the car accident that killed my son. As much as it hurts, as a parent you’re still happy the others didn’t die. Your heart breaks as you see them but your love as a parent takes control. At least it did in my case. And in Tami’s.
Next week many of those young men, that band of brothers who fought side by side with Chad and returned safely home, will be converging on Bentonville, Arkansas. By special invitation they’re attending a party in their honor. The party is being organized and hosted by none other than Tami and Tebo, along with Tami’s sister, Chad’s Aunt Paige.
I, for one, am deeply touched and extremely impressed by what Chad’s grieving family members are doing. But I’m not surprised. Anyone who knows any of these people knows they are kind, caring and very generous people; generous particularly with their love and compassion for others.
The party is only one example of the love and compassion Tami, Tebo and Paige have for others. With the help of some very special people and Tyson Foods, Tami is creating a new, non-profit foundation to help Marines (and hopefully, in the future, all services) who are being deployed to a war zone to get a trip home before they leave. The “Wings For Our Troops” foundation, “in loving memory of CPL Chad S. Wade” will assist marines in securing transportation home for a visit before they deploy. If the Marine or his family can’t afford that ticket the foundation will provide it for him/her.
You can read more about “Wings For Our Troops” on Facebook by searching on those words. The website is up and running at http://wingsforourtroops.com and donations can be made through the site. You can read more about Chad and the person he was at http://accordingtoglen.blogspot.com/2010/12/hero-died-last-week.html. Chad Wade was a hero and his mom and step-father are heroes as well for doing the things they’re doing in his memory. I never got the opportunity to meet Chad. But I’m honored and humbled knowing Tami, Tebo and Paige and calling them friends. They live the kind of compassion I’d like to demonstrate in my own life.
Tami, Tebo, Paige…? I’d love to be there with you next week but I know those Marine heroes are in good hands. Please, please extend my thanks and my respect to each and every one of them for what they do and for having the honor and sense of duty to do it. God bless them all. And God bless you all.