One Lucky SOB

Yesterday, I met a man wearing a baseball cap which proudly proclaimed him to be a World War Two veteran. I didn’t bother to introduce myself I just asked him in my usual obnoxious manner, “so you are a WWII vet, what are you a hundred years old?” Without flinching or getting upset with me he answered, I’m ninety-four, and I want to live to be 104.” Then he began his history. “I joined the Army Air Corps in 1944 which later became the Air Force. I wore a brown uniform when I joined and a blue one when I left.”

As we spoke I learned that he was invited to attend his first OASIS meeting for visually impaired people By Lion Doc Taylor, his eye doctor. I asked him what problem caused his blindness, he rattled off a condition which I have never heard of before. That is not unusual, since I have become a volunteer member of this group the one thing I have learned is that there is no end to the number of reasons one can lose his sight. The one commonality among blind people is the need for social contact, and support. You don’t stop living when you go blind, but your life changes dramatically, and you find yourself living in a world of darkness.

As we continued to talk, the Vet began asking me questions, number one was “did you serve?”

“No, I didn’t, I was born during WWII, I was too young to be a part of the Korean conflict, and too old for the Vietnam debacle. After that I was too old for all the other world disagreements we were involved in. My brother, on the other hand was drafted during Korea, but wound up serving in Germany. My second wife’s husband was in a medical line waiting to board a ship to go to Korea, when some genius dentist mis-read his chart and pulled his teeth out. He served out his term in Germany also.

“So do you volunteer?” he probed, “I have learned that people of your age volunteer and hate to be recognized for it.”

“Yes,” I replied.

His ride was leaving so we ended the conversation. I might see him again next month.

Very often I thank God for giving me the good fortune to not have to serve in the military. Instead, I tell myself that He wants me to serve in different ways. I try to do that, and all my life I have volunteered for duty that I felt was in the interest of betterment to the community.

My first dutiful stint began in high school where I served in a number of clubs that provided service to the school.

My second term of duty began when I joined the Boy Scouts of America as a leader. I always told my kids that I served the organization to provide them with civic responsibility experiences, and as a secondary matter I helped their friends to have the same. My tenure lasted for twenty-five years.

During the eighties my personal goal was to teach the world about the value of conservation by joining the Folks On Spokes Bicycle Club to show example by using an alternate form of transportation that didn’t pollute nor consume natural resources. During my twenty years in the club I served a term as president.

Simultaneous to the bike club I became president of the Prestwick Garden Guild and led my neighborhood in many educational and beautification projects for the betterment of the community.

My current term of duty is as a Lion with the Frankfort Lions Club. My plan is to die a Lion.

So even though I am a lucky SOB for never having spent a minute of service in the military, I feel I have served as much, if not more, in service to the community to offset.

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