Healingsonghome

This is my healing journal.

Monday, November 12, 2007

To serve one's country and one's God

Veterans Day yesterday at church was special. First James had all the Veterans and all those who served in the military stand up to be acknowledged. Then, he had all the men come up and sing "Holy Holy Holy" as a group.

As I listened, I thought all of us who had served the military at home, while they were off fighting in the different wars that were represented. My heart swelled with pride, as I thought of my years of service and how my Father, (a navy man in World War II) told me he was proud of me for serving my country in a way that on one else in my family would have done.

From 1991, until 1995, I was a Red Crosser. I signed on during Desert Storm. I think I called to be interviewed as a volunteer, three days after the air war began. That's really no surprise to me that I signed up then, because we as a nation were inundated with presse confrences, war footage, reports of Bob Simon being captured while reporting, Israel being attacked by Iraq in retaliation, and one woman in our church crying repeatedly for her husband who was serving in the Army.

I remembered when I interviewed, they first had me sign up to be a receptionist for the health and safety branch, which I did until I left that particular Red Cross chapter in Kalamazoo in 1992. But, my heart was elsewhere. I wanted to serve the men and their families. How could taking calls about First Aid classes do that? Plus, I thought with my social work background, I would be needed there. But, that was God's way of telling me to be patient.

Two weeks later, I interviewed with Evelyn for the Community Services branch. Well, serving the community was a closer step right? But, as Evelyn listened to me, she told me that she thought I could serve them better elsewhere and then went to get Phil Ackerman.

Phil was the head of the service to military families branch. He took one look at me, and he told me that he knew I could do the job, because he had known a woman who was a social work student with him in college who was also blind. I knew whom he spoke of, as I had heard of Marcie Couch for years.

I started serving in the office for a time. But, Phil noticed that other workers either out front or in the office with me, were not really utilizing me. So, when Terri said she needed me another day in the health and safety branch, Phil suggested I could be an overnight sub and work the overnight shift. He thought this would be more than possible that I could do a good job at that.

My first couple of shifts, I had a couple of community emergency service calls and probably one services to military family call per night. Then, came a night in mid June, early July, when the overnight person could not serve, and there were tornado warnings all over the county. Phil told me he really needed me to cover, and I agreed to do so. That night, I covered five community emergency service calls and four service to military families calls.

shortly after that, one of the volunteers quit and moved out of the area. Phil gave me the shift, and I averaged at least one to three military family calls a night. Plus, I worked as the weekend sub and often had two to three calls per weekend.

I was the one family members cursed, because I had to call them to tell them often that there might be a delay in getting their service person home. I was also the one who was blest, because I was there to comfort them when they needed someone to give them an ear. They would yell at me, if they did not have their service person's proper APO or fPO codes, social scecurity number, rank etc.

I was the one doctors hated to have call, because they found it increasingly difficult to have to say whether a person should come home or not. But, I never gave up.

The answering service people whoo had to patch calls into me often, told me that they never could understand why it was I was so calm about the calls when I received them, compared to some of the other volunteers. I told them, it was my duty to my country.

When I moved to South Haven in 1992, I continued serving as a Red Crosser, often having to stay up four to eight hours a night working on one or two cases. I'll never forget the family who called with two brothers to contact. They thanked me for listening for being there and for helping, when I called the next morning to see how they were doing. I'll never forget the distraught family I had to call on Thanksgiving Day, because they needed to get a nephew home. I'll never forget the case of a military person's uncle committing suicide. He made the choice not to go home. But, he asked that someone tell his Dad to call him, when he could think straight enough to do so.

I have not served here in Jackson for the Red Cross. However, it was not for lack of trying. I was just not needed.

What a look back, I thought as the men were still singing. I then thought about how we can still serve our country and our God by our prayers continually for our troops, and how we as soldiers in God's army should do the same for each other.

Men and women of faith, never forget that your prayers are serevice to your contry and to your God.

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