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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Dedication

Welcome Home
Story as told to me by a Viet Nam Veteran who prefers to remain anonymous
The other day I was walking into the local Wal-Mart store when I noticed an older man walking beside a younger man. The younger man was wearing army fatigues.
I was curious so I stopped and asked, "Excuse me young man, but I was just wondering if you were in the service or are you just wearing fatigues?"
The young man stated that he was in the army and then his Dad added in a strong voice that was filled with pride, "This is my son and he has just returned from his second tour in Iraq."
I told him how glad I was that he had returned home safely and then I said, "Young man, I would like to do something for you that no one outside of my family did for me when I returned home from serving in Viet Nam."
"What is that?" he asked.
"I'd be proud to welcome you home by shaking your hand if I might and say thank you for your service to our country," I said as I held out my hand.
The young soldier and his dad both stood a little taller as the young man stuck out his hand which I readily grasped and we just stood there, the three of us, with our right hands joined. We were three strangers drawn together by a common bond, we all understood, not needing to say anything more.
After nodding to each other, I started to break the grasp and walk away but the young soldier seemed to have something on his mind as he hesitated, and then he stopped me before I could move. He was quiet for a moment and then he looked me straight in the eye and then he ever so clearly uttered the words, "Thank you...and...Welcome Home."
We then parted company as we went our separate ways. I finished buying the supplies I needed, walked on home, and oh yeah - I cried.
(Anonymous VietNam Veteran)
We often forget to be thankful to those who serve our country, protect us from terrorism, and preserve our freedom. We have veterans living today that have served us in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and The Persian Gulf. We have those on active duty who are serving our country right now in Iraq as well as other places around the world.
Today the average age of a WWII Veteran is 81; we are quickly losing them from the battlefield of life. They are now leaving us at a rate of 1500 per day. I see many of them carrying our flag in parades and participating in military funerals. They tell me the veteran's organizations need more veterans to help them with these duties now. This is due to the failing health and the deaths of those WWII veterans who have kept these organizations alive with their unswerving dedication and patriotism. Perhaps it's time we  expressed appreciation with a card or phone call to someone we know personally while there's still time. It shouldn't have to be  Memorial Day or Veteran's Day for us to be appreciative toward all of our veterans no matter when they served. The point  is that they served and gave of themselves that we might live in freedom.
We can also show our appreciation to those serving us right now by writing letters, sending e-mails, or sending packages to our soldiers. Today is a good day to be grateful, there's no time like the present and it's the only time that we have for certain. When we see or hear of a soldier coming home from war, most important of all, let's remember to give them a heartfelt, "Thank you...and...Welcome Home!"
~ Pamela Berry Bains
"Welcome Home", as told on

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Would You Do This?

‘I never had a second thought’: College athlete
cuts career short to save stranger’s life

A man with blood cancer was desperate for healthy bone marrow and Cameron Lyle was the only match on a national registry of potential donors
Cameron Lyle has asked a lot of his body over the years, but he never expected it to save the life of a stranger.

A shot put star on the University of New Hampshire track and field team, Lyle was at the pinnacle of his collegiate athletic career when he had to make a profound decision.
A man with blood cancer was desperate for healthy bone marrow and Lyle was the only match on a national registry of potential donors. The only problem: if Lyle decided to donate, it would mean missing some of the most important track meets of his senior season.

Faced with cutting his career short, Lyle focused only on the chance to save someone’s life.
“I was surprised, I was pretty happy. I said yes right away,” Lyle, 21, told TODAY. “And then afterwards I thought about everything that that meant giving up, but I never had a second thought about donating. If I had said no, he wouldn’t have had a match.”

Lyle had all but forgotten the Be The Match Registry drive that came to his university two years ago. He allowed his cheeks to be swabbed and didn’t think much more of it. Only 1 out of 540 people who sign up go on to donate, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, which operates the Be The Match Registry.
Then, two months ago, he got a call. Lyle was told he was a possible match for a young man with a rare form of leukemia, a disease that gets worse quickly if not treated, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Lyle underwent blood tests, which confirmed he was a definite match. Once he agreed to donate – something “any kind of decent human being” would do, he said -- more tests followed to make sure he didn’t have any health problems. Time was of the essence.
“They gave me a pretty strict deadline because my recipient needed it pretty fast,” he said.

Everything was a go and last week, Lyle headed to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to share his bone marrow with a stranger.
There are two ways to harvest the cells, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, with most collections done in an outpatient procedure that’s similar to donating blood. A quarter of cases, however, require a surgical procedure in which doctors insert a special needle into the hollow of donor’s hip bone. A syringe attached to the needle draws out the marrow. The procedure usually requires general anesthesia and an overnight hospital stay.
The recipient's doctor determines which method is best. Lyle needed to undergo the surgical option.

It took two hours for doctors to collect about two liters – some eight cups -- of bone marrow from Lyle’s pelvic bone. His body will regenerate the marrow in about two weeks.
Most people can return to their full activities within days after the donation, according to Dr. Jeffrey Chell, CEO of the National Marrow Donor Program.

But most people aren’t track stars who hurl heavy metal objects as part of their normal routine.
Doctors told Lyle to take it easy and not lift more than 20 pounds for about a month – routine advice after any surgical procedure, Chell said -- effectively ending his collegiate track career.

“This is just an incredible, incredible story of what Cameron [Lyle] has been willing to do,” said Chell.
Since anonymity is crucial to the donor process, TODAY was unable to obtain information as to the recipient’s condition since receiving Lyle’s bone marrow donation. However, a spokesperson for Be the Match said after a transplant, “recovery is gradual and usually takes several months or more.”

One-year survival rates for patients who receive transplants from unrelated donors was 60.3 percent in 2011, up from 42.2 percent in 2003.
Lyle said he was told that the man received his transplant the day after he donated but that he “won’t get an update on his condition for 30 days.”

Until then, he plans on recuperating and watching his teammates compete at the America East Conference where he’d planned on “going out pretty big.” Lyle’s donation also meant missing the Penn Relays and other events where he wanted to shine after eight years of shot put training.
“But it’s OK,” he said. “It was worth it. I would do it again, too.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

Adding Value to Your Home

Here’s a link to a great blog post with the 10 Best Home Improvements for Increasing Property Value. It’s a straight forward, no-nonsense review of what to do and what not to do…including some good data to back up the recommendations that are made.

Here’s the link - check it out!

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