The Duck Pond

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One plywood shelter doth not a home make.

A dear friend of mine is in a rough spot.  He’s living in a plywood box with no running water and one outlet with just enough power to charge his shaver.  He has access to food, but water sometime runs out to the point of being life-threatening. Most nights he gets little more than a few hours sleep.  With all that, he’s not down about his lot in life, in fact he’s taking it all in stride.

Paul is a friend of mine from years past, who walked by my side through dangerous times, I had his back, and he mine.  Right now he could use a little good news, maybe a box of food now and then or a newspaper from home.  He’s not looking for handouts, in fact he’d give you his last dime.  He’s not a vagrant, but he did choose to be where he is.  He’s too proud to mention his conditions, but he’s not ashamed in the slightest.  You see, in his little shack, Paul has nearly nothing, but also everything.  He has his pride, his integrity, his honor and his faith.  He also has love of his wife & family and my deepest admiration.  Drive on, my brother.

Paul is an American Army Soldier; a warrior with a loving wife and a bunch of kids at home; all afraid for his safety, but also so very proud of his strength and resolve.  I left the Army to follow my dreams many years ago, but  Paul is still standing strong and driving hard; fighting literally with his every breath and every step to keep the evil at bay.  A warrior doing what has to be done, bearing conditions that have to be borne.  He isn’t ashamed of his plywood shack, he’s focused and determined; it keeps the rain & snow off his back and the cold at bay while he prepares for the tide of Taliban that is sure to come.  It is his badge of honor; a price he willingly pays every day to not only guard the gates of freedom, but aggressively drive the evil horde back into the dust from whence they came.

I have a small prayer for Paul this night; and for all of our men & women in harm’s way tonight and every night:  God keep you safe from harm and bless your family for all they must endure as you fight the good fight.  May he keep you in his arms and may He bring you safely again to hearth and home.  And lastly Lord, steady both their resolve and their aim; keep them sharp, keep them alert and keep them alive.  Amen.

I’m sending his unit a care package every now and then, to give them a taste of home and give their spirits a little lift.   Take a few moments out of your day every now and then and do the same.  If not his unit, then another unit, or find a local charity near you that is doing the same.  Each package no matter how small, reminds them that we appreciate everything they are going through.  When you’re out in the field, it’s the little things like that, that make your day.

Serving in Afghanistan:  SGT Paul Rangel, US Army Infantry.  Keeping us free and keeping hope alive.  His Loving wife Brenda:  Keeping hope alive at home and their children safe.

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