I have a dear friend who is also a Kiwanian, but is a member of a different club than ours. He is quite a successful businessman and often contributes financially to wounded warriors. He always insists, however, that it be done anonymously. That’s the reason I’m not mentioning his name.
This, however, is an example of just one thing that can be done at Christmas time . . . and, surprise! Even after Christmas!
My friend read the essay I sent out yesterday and responded with a private note asking if the family could use some financial help; if so, he was willing to see they received it as long as I ensured it would be given anonymously. That will be done. Here is my answer to my friend:
I hope one day you get a chance to meet Chris and his family. It’s a beautiful family but both evelyn and I noticed he doesn’t smile a lot. I knew from his patient advocate (Sonja Dugan) that he suffers from severe depression. So much so that the military medical staff do not want him to go back to work as even the simplest stress could cause him problems. (I had a potential job lined up for him). His wife is a medical tech; yesterday, the photographer for the NCTimes was very impressed with Chris and his family and a contact of his is going to try to see if he can help his wife get hired. The photographer (who is a former Special Ops (Green Beret) and has served 8 years) said what Kiwanis did was awesome.
Anyway, we handed out the gifts and the kids and family were delighted. The only one that didn’t really smile was Chris. Then evelyn handed him his own gift, all wrapped up. And he broke out in a smile. Progress!
It was a neat experience with a neat family. I hope the kids turn out okay and don’t wind up in gangs or get on drugs or bad stuff like that. You and I have both seen that. Beautiful kids getting messed up because they started running with the wrong crowd. I knew a beautiful young girl in the San Marcos branch of Los Caballeros de Aventura, back when I was running the program; straight A student, good, hard working family. Then she got pregnant, her grades dropped, she had to drop out of school. Started running with the wrong crowd. What an absolute waste!
And . . . yes, I’m sure Chris and his family could use financial help. The Christmas gifts are great but life goes on after Christmas day and they will have bills to pay.
Bless your heart, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. You are an outstanding member of this human race. Evelyn and I both love you.
Merry Christmas . . . and thanks.
Chris Dowdley (Sergeant, US Army, Retired) [Medical retirement].
1876 College Blvd. #228
Oceanside, CA. 92056