Honoring the Caregiving Soldiers
by Troy Bishopp
My Toastmaster’s coach, Fred Ashforth, often said, “Speak to one but speak to all”. On this Veteran’s Day, I’d like to thank our heroes, remember their achievements and sacrifices and staying resolute in never forgetting the price of freedom. This year’s honorable holiday also has special meaning to me in paying tribute to a different kind of everyday soldier.
In recent weeks, I have come to witness and appreciate the acts of courage, resolve, compassion and belief in one’s dignity. They are the caregivers who take care of the fallen, the sick, and in the last hours of life —-administer physical and spiritual comfort. These local men and women are the unsung heroes of our generations. They exhibit the demeanor that brings ease to one’s life through their listening qualities, actions or words. As far as I can tell, they have a gift.
This support structure of human connectedness is one that transverses homes, retirement facilities, hospitals, disaster centers, communities and ce
meteries. They are what gives our nation inspiration. When we are tired and hungry, they give us food and shelter. When we hurt, they are there with medicine and smiles. When we falter, they are there to lift us up. When we cry, they are there with a shoulder. When we are at our final resting place, they are there to maintain the memories.
In this light, the respect I feel for my caregiving wife, my extended family and the nurses of the Siegenthaler Center is unwavering with love. We should all be this lucky as to have folks who will be available at a moment’s notice to help, rarely talking about praise, but saying “it’s just the right thing to do”. Thank you.
On October 28th, Allen (Al) Benedict from my hometown of Deansboro, New York lost his epic battle with cancer. As it relates to Veterans and loved ones, he was the one who, for years, facilitated the activities of the Deansboro Cemetery as President of the Cemetery Association. He was the voluntary caregiver to the fallen. His goals were always noble: Respect one’s contribution to this country and provide a quiet place of uncompromising, spiritual retreat where you can lie down in the grass and be at one with the lord while finding strength in those who have blessed our lives.
At his funeral, granddaughter Julie described him as a role model and one that always chose work before play. He was humble in being a fireman, cow-sitter, furniture restorer and good grandfather. I knew him to be a good mentor, humorous, a man who gave his all to the community and a guy, who like me, loved his ice-cream.
Reverend Edward Townsend cited Psalms that referenced mountains, cool waters, goodness, mercy and paths of righteousness, appropriate for a caregiver who now has peace at the right hand of the father in the house of the Lord. There is a void in our hearts but it is quickly mended by all the good memories of Al.
Our Veterans and caregivers should all be honored on this holiday for they have spurred a consciousness of faith in the human spirit. I believe in these people whether I speak to one or speak to all. “One person caring about another represents life’s greatest values” ~ John Rohn.
Published by Country Folks