Being a reporter, I typically stick to newswriting and leave the opinion at home. So, why the editorial?
As part of Green Valley News' coverage for Veterans Day, I reported on Branka Ford, who makes quilts for veterans (Story, Page A3). Ford and two friends have been at it for 10 years now.
A Green Valley veteran is grateful for his Honor Flight experience.
Branka Ford pulls beautiful work from her sewing machine but she's not looking for special recognition. It's a patriotic labor of love.
Camaraderie, duty and self-improvement. Four veterans look back at their time serving their country as the nation spends Monday honoring them.
I asked Ford if she had ever met any of the veterans or received a thank you letter. She said no.
The quilts Ford makes get delivered to veterans; the women used to send them to Afghanistan before shipping costs became too pricey.
However, Ford said she was happy enough to know some veteran or service member out there was finding comfort in the quilts they made. I assumed this was thanks enough in her mind.
So, why the editorial? Because at one point in time the service member waking up in the hospital with a comfy quilt was me.
I deployed to Mosul, Iraq, with the Second Battalion, Seventh U.S. Cavalry Regiment in 2006.
On Sept. 11, 2007, I was the lead gunner doing convoy security when, just after midnight, an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated next to my Humvee.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams just cleared two IEDs in our path, but there was a third I didn't see. Three of us were wounded.
The next month or so was hazy between surgeries, drugs and infections. I do, however, remember waking up in a hospital bed somewhere on my way back to the United States.
I never knew where the quilt came from, but it's safe to assume from people like Ford who care enough to make them.
As one of those who woke up in a hospital alone, confused and hurting, thank you.