The Boot Campaign wishes to honor the heroes who protect us all.
By Boot Girl Myra
Remember that quirky animal in the movie Dr. Doolittle? Essentially, it was a llama with a head at each end. Sometimes it pulled the beast forward, at other times jolting it backward unwilling to move ahead, forcing it to remain in the memories of the past. Whatever it did it was in constant conflict with itself.
I would imagine that is a good description of the emotional, mental and physical conflict for those who have seen combat upon returning home. It’s the battle of trying to get past what trauma and turmoil is behind them and pushing forward to a new normal. There is a constant pull of reliving those moments; calculating to the Nth degree what they could have done different to change the outcome for the better.
My view on heroism these days is not so much the battle that these honored men and women fight for my freedom, although honorable no doubt. It’s about their lives when they come home. Military training is all about gearing you up for the worst in battle. Preparing to “bring it” with an enemy in hot pursuit of your shirt tails. All your training is for the purpose of getting the upper hand, and vanquishing those who would perpetrate attempts to bring this great nation down. But what about the 19 year old injured in the line of duty the first week in a combat zone? His life is changed forever. And there begins his heroic journey, to tame the inner “push me, pull you”. Sleepless nights of being pulled back can take its toll on any one of our heroes, including their families. The motivation to move toward an uncertain future can be more daunting than thoughts of the past. He’s not trained for this part of life, it’s not his area of expertise.
It was this week in 2005 that Operation Red Wings went down in the Mountains of Afghanistan. And if you haven’t read the story Lone Survivor do yourself a favor and garner some new appreciation for Independence Day by reading it. In the six years since that traumatic event, people like Marcus Luttrell and Char Fontan Westfall have clearly defined heroism to me. Marcus, as the title of the book suggests, is the Lone Survivor of an operation involving a total of 20 men. Char’s husband Jacques was killed in the rescue attempt to save Marcus and his team mates. Her commitment to the Boot Campaign is nothing short of a miracle.
I’m sure many families associated with ORW will be very reflective this week, being pulled back into the past, but I’m praying and hoping their inner Push Me Pull U will do more pushing ahead. Sometimes it takes looking back to help remind us of how critical it is to move ahead. If we forget our past, we most assuredly will have a tragic future but it’s for the purpose of having the guts to move forward.
This week I choose to look back into a rich American history, full of successes and failures, to remember those whose lives were donated for our freedom. At the same time I look forward to another year of watching people like Marcus realize his dream of creating a premiere treatment facility for returning wounded military, so that our military can push forward to an amazing future just like yours and mine.
By Boot Girl Myra
In a recent phone conversation with my mom, things got unusually quiet. She was commenting on how much she appreciated attention being driven to value our military. Suddenly I could hear her crying, something she rarely does in public let alone on the phone. When I asked if she was alright, her response was something to the effect of “I hope someday you will tell others about my Uncle Dane.” People need to remember how horrific war is, even when the cause is perceived as for the good.
This Memorial Weekend, I wear my boots in remembrance of Uncle Dane, who lost his life on December 18, 1944, after injuries sustained from his attempt to escape the Palawan Prison camp in the Philippines. Over 78,000 Filipinos and Americans suffered through the Bataan/Corregidor Death March that began when the Americans and Filipinos surrendered to Japan on April 9th from Bataan and May 6, 1942 from Corregidor after months holding out and waiting on the promise of reinforcements. What followed in the 65 mile march north to a POW camp, became one of the most notorious and bone chilling stories coming out of the South Pacific. One-third of them lost their lives just on the walk alone. It is said that many who were “lucky” to survive the march and the ensuing three-year imprisonment in hard labor camps ended their lives within the first year of their return home. The psychological trauma suffered day in and day out for more than three years combined with extreme malnutrition and hard labor forced upon these exhausted men took their toll on them. And they did it to protect our borders here at home. The hard thing for me to comprehend is how little help was available to them upon their return home.
Nobody is drafted into the military these days. It’s a process someone chooses to do at-will. They don’t get paid much to step onto enemy territory to protect those of us stateside. A vast majority enlist because serving their country is their dream and passion. It’s not for everyone, but it benefits all. I love how Boot Girl Heather puts it, “while I know I was never meant to fight, it’s my job to support those who do.”
How much do you do to thank those who stand in harm’s way for you? What “memorial” do you pass on to those around you regarding our fallen heroes? Just yesterday I spoke with Louise Thaxton, a mortgage lender who decided to give her grandchildren a pair of combat boots, to remind each of them of the cost of freedom. No big deal right? Except she bought 15 pairs and in honor of her 16th granddaughter who is a newborn, she bought a pair for the baby’s daddy. I was amazed by her passion to make known to her family the value and the cost of freedom. Then in the very next sentence she said she just ordered 11 pair of boots to take on a business trip to give to friends at their annual company meeting. If you’re running a tally, that’s 27 pairs of boots. Last fall, she bought another 8ish pair to give to co-workers, and encouraged them to do something to thank a soldier. Soldiers are after all, the majority of the clients she helps in the third poorest state in the United States.
There’s a popular phrase “beauty from ashes” that is used to define something good that can come from something destroyed beyond recognition. Louise’s actions have become beauty from the ashes of war. Her simple but generous actions make it possible for those who return from war injured both in mind and body to get the help they need while doing her part to help the next generation remember the Dane’s of this world, who lost his life defending the life he loved as an American.
By Boot Girl Myra
When I returned from living in a third world country at the age of 19, I made it my mission to encourage parents to give their kids a graduation gift that would be life-changing. The experience of living someplace other than America where everything is at your fingertips can do something for you. It’s that intangible “something” that helps to shape future endeavors. In this economy though, it’s hard to encourage parents to send their child abroad for the purpose of understanding the value of what they have at home. It seemed there could be a more practical and handy way to get the point across without having to spend 5 Grand to do it.
Last summer after reading the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, I was relieved to find a terrific solution to my otherwise expensive parenting recommendation. With very little investment the eye-opening story gives a graduate something to ponder as they decide the course of their future. At the very least, it presents some of the realities of what commitment to country and patriotism is all about and that they are recipients of the benefits even if they don’t participate in preserving them. There’s something to be said about taking a step back and considering what it cost others to preserve our rights. Perhaps in reading the book, more Americans would come to appreciate the value of these sacrifices.
The National Retail Foundation reported in 2009 the average person spent $45 on a graduation gift. Oh YAY! That means for the price of sending one gift to one student, one could give two students the Lone Survivor book and stay within budget of ONE! I would venture to guess though, that most parents spend more than $150 on their kids topped off with a graduation party where they receive the average $45 gifts from those who attend.
So, think about it. For $150 you can give the gift of appreciation in the form of signature combat military boots from the Boot Campaign, with a copy of the book Lone Survivor! It’s the perfect combination for a graduate! Most people’s lives are changed after reading the book, and putting boots on became a popular response. If that book was life-changing for some beautiful and sassy ladies known as the Boot Girls, imagine what it could do for a graduate! The best part is giving a gift of boots provides assistance to wounded warriors who stood in harm’s way to protect our freedom to experience some pomp and circumstance this spring.
By Boot Girl Myra, with Boot-Wearing guest, Dee Wise Heinz
It really is all in how you look at the glass, or er, jar. Who wouldn’t want a jar full of chocolate kisses sitting on their counter? What irony though to watch a group of kids get excited when the jar isn’t full. Not that they haven’t had their fair share of kisses, as it’s a big jar. But watching it dwindle brings freakish mad joy! And please, don’t anyone dare add kisses to the jar; that would devastate even the most astute chocolate lover in this scenario.
Meet the Heinz family. Dee and her husband Sean, Senior Chief, US Navy, live on Whidbey Island with their three children: Lauren, age 8, she has gone through 4 deployments with daddy, Avery, age 3, has gone through 2 deployments and Logan , age 2, with 1 deployment on his resume. At the start of every deployment, they assemble the exact number of Hershey kisses to correspond to the days Sean is gone. Each day, the kids pull a “daddy” kiss out of the jar and watch expectantly as the jar dwindles down. One can’t help but wonder what kind of cacophony of excitement ensues, when at last the jar is down to just one lonesome kiss glaring up to their bright shiny eyes from bottom of the jar. A kiss really isn’t just a kiss either. It’s like exchanging part of your soul with someone. So every day, the Heinz kids receive part of their daddy’s soul in candy form, which helps maintain a relationship with him, though he may be thousands of miles away.
Dee’s babysitter went a step further to help keep the Heinz kids connected to their dad by giving the kids their own tangible dad, affectionately known as Flat Daddy. Dee adds, “She made the cardboard and laminated cutout of flat daddy for us. When the kids and I wanted to feel that Sean was with us like on vacation, at birthday parties, etc., we brought Flat Daddy along and took our picture with him. It gave the kids a visual even though daddy wasn’t there physically. Then we would email the photos to daddy and he could enjoy the experience as if he was there as well. It helped all of us lessen the “missing out” feeling a bit. “
Sometimes it takes your besties to help you in the process too. So, Dee’s friend Cindy, jumped in and made some blankies for Sean to give the kids. Dee commented, “he presented them to the kids as a gift the day that he left. It has a picture with him and each child individually and says “Daddy loves [insert name].” The kids loved them and still sleep with them! During the day we stay busy, but when things slow down in the evening, and especially at bedtime, thoughts drift to daddy who is far, far away. Nighttime was always the hardest part for us; so the blankies, pillows and bedtime stories were invaluable to me. All of these things helped us keep daddy close by when he was/is deployed.”
It takes the effort of family friends, and a lot of help from God to get through a deployment, Dee noted. “As a matter of fact we prayed EVERY day for daddy as a family. Anytime the kids would feel sad or down in the dumps we would always stop and say a prayer. It always seemed to help.”
Look at your own children this week, and think about how quickly time passes by. Parents have maybe 18 years to pour into the life of a child. So, what’s one to do when, while parenting, a call to serve country interrupts this vital commitment? It requires a strong resolve to keep the relationships alive. It includes working diligently and creatively to involve each other in the deployment. But what joy comes for everyone, when like Sean, they arrive home to an empty jar of chocolate kisses only to be showered with the kind that can’t be contained.
By Boot Girl Myra
Recently while visiting with a new friend and veteran Danny Schrader on a Boot Campaign site, I asked him, “What three things do you wish you could tell average Americans about serving in the military?” What follows is his response and one which we dedicate to the honor of Danny’s former room mate Wade Twyman. Six years ago today (March 4), Twyman was killed by an IED in Anbar province in Iraq. It was because of this loss Danny left his job with the Arizona Highway Patrol and reenlisted into the Army where he had previously served for 11 years.
What the Average American Should Know About Military
First and foremost, every military member has their own reasons for joining the military. The people that make up the military are from vastly different backgrounds, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, etc. I have friends that joined for the college money (GI Bill), and I have a very close friend that joined because she felt that it was every person’s duty to serve their country. That same person was 37 when she joined, a mother of 4, preacher’s wife and college administrator. On the other end of that, I know a guy that was literally homeless, walked into the recruiter’s office, and was in the Army the next day. He didn’t even have a pair of shoes when he joined. He swore in wearing flip-flops. He is now a Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne. I joined at the age of 18 because I wanted to be a fighter pilot. That morphed into wanting to jump out of airplanes instead of flying them, and instigated a change of service for me at the age of 27. Whatever the reason that we all joined, we all have the same goal; to keep the United States safe and preserve and protect our way of life. We are all dedicated, and we are all here by our own volition, regardless of the reason we joined. Nobody held a gun to our heads and made us join, and the days of judges mandating “military or jail” have long since passed. The military, due in large part to the state of the economy, is much more picky as to who they will let in, but we all volunteered to do this job.
Second is to be aware that its not just the sacrifice of the military member, but the immense sacrifice of our families. The night I left the US to go to war in Iraq, my son was just over 2 years old. I put him in his car seat, kissed him goodbye, and walked away. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done, as I felt like I had betrayed him. He fully expected to see me the next morning, like he had every day before then. I had no way of explaining to a 2-year old that Daddy wasn’t going to be home for over a year. I also couldn’t tell him that Daddy may never come home. Further, I wanted but couldn’t communicate to my Mom and Dad that if I died over there, I was grateful for having such wonderful parents. I did tell them not to watch the news, as it would only worry them, (although, news or no news, I knew they would worry anyway). I can’t imagine the sleepless nights my Mom had while I was gone. I can’t imagine how she went about her day with any sense of normalcy because she is prone to worry anyway.
I would ask all American to be mindful of those they work or interact with every day, that their son, daughter, father, husband, boyfriend, sister, brother, etc, may be in one of the worst, most violent places in the world. Realize that the fear, worry, and despair can be a major part of their lives. They may not be their normal self, and consider that when someone is having a bad day, or is a little off, that not knowing the welfare of their loved one could be why. Please understand that lady at the store with little kids may be having to cope with Daddy being in the Kunar Valley in Afghanistan. Recognize the parents whose daughter is a combat medic in Afghanistan may not be their normal, cheery selves. Make note that the kid on the playground that is withdrawn or sad is worried about his big brother who he hasn’t been able to see in months, or talk to in weeks.
Lastly, we all have our own ways of dealing with the stress of what we do as our chosen vocation, and admittedly, not all of them are the most socially acceptable. I will make no excuses for bad conduct, but I will ask for understanding. Recognize that seeing your friends die, having near-death experiences, and even just dealing with the violence that is inherent to war changes people. It changes some for the better, but it completely devastates others. I can’t speak for other services, as I have no experience with them in regards to combat, but the Army is working very hard to help treat those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are many programs in place to help us cope with what we’ve had to deal with, and the friend or family member you knew before deployment is going to be different when they come home. Maybe not outwardly, but there will be changes, and as friends or family members, try to find a way to be there for them. Many don’t want to talk about their experiences, so, don’t try to pry it out of them. If they want to talk, listen!!! Let them vent, but don’t compromise your own safety or well being. The best form of therapy I had when I got home was a woman who loved me unconditionally, and gave me space when I needed it, but was also there for me when I needed to let it out. On top of that, I have parents who were equally supportive, and seemed to intuitively know when to be there, and when to step back. The combination not only helped me immensely, but makes me a very lucky man. It takes a strong person to be there for a soldier who has PTSD. It takes understanding, caring, compassion, and openness. If you are the average American, please remember that while we voluntarily do what we do, there is a price that comes with it.
The American military is comprised of people who do what they do not for money, not for fame, and certainly not for medals. The latter two are a coincidence of opportunity and ability. We do what we do for various reasons, and we put ourselves between the average American and those who want to harm them because it’s the right thing to do. Remember that we are ordinary people, we have the same desires, wants, needs, and basic human emotions that you do, and we ask for nothing but your support in return for our service. While you may not agree with whatever war or conflict we are involved in, remember that we are still there, fighting, struggling, and missing our families and friends, and that sometimes, those struggles will continue even after we are home.
By Boot Recruit Myra
It should come as no surprise to anyone that a country music artist can depict the worst possible aspects of life with such glorious, foot tapping melodies. It’s wrought with years of “woe is me” tunes that sear the heart of practically everyone who has lost something. If we can somehow tap our feet or do a little line dance, whatever ails us will eventually pass. Why not sing about it to pass the time eh?
We salute our friend, Joe Nichols who has the uncanny ability to put a song together that not only twangs of “woe is me” in true country form with a great foot tapping beat but reminds us that every day brings a fresh start. It’s about new beginnings, stepping out in faith that a new dawn brings with it challenges but certainly glorious moments of awe and inspiration to see the day through.
His new video “The Shape I’m In” presses past the typical down-in-the-dumps country element to the true spirit of never giving up. If you’ve heard our friend Marcus Luttrell of the Love Survivor Foundation speak, you know his favorite phrase is “never give up”.
Serving in combat, on the front lines, even in somewhat peaceful territory, our military experience some jarring realities about the rest of the world when called upon to defend our freedom. Getting back into the swing of things isn’t always what life was like before enlisting. It may include a new routine in the morning, involving putting on prosthetics or driving a tricked out car for the wheelchair, or a dedicated canine trained to get you from point A to point B. Maybe it involves getting past body-altering scars by using specialty clothing and going out in public once again. Now THAT is the epitome of never giving up!
Therein lies the brilliance of the video. It’s the visual of whatever shape “normal” is for every person. It’s perfectly balanced between twanging heartbreak and never giving up with enough boot-tapping beat that finds you singing “I’m doing alright for the shape I’m in” when you least expect it!
By Boot Recruit Myra
What is it about January 1, which causes us draw a deep breath and slowly release as if we just got a new lease on life? It’s the day of new beginnings, a fresh start, a visible and tangible way to cast out the old and usher in the new. It’s full of mystery; what will the next year bring? As long as I can remember my family traditionally asks the question “I wonder where we’ll be this time next year?” I love the New Year mostly for reflection and the knowledge that if it was a particularly bad year, I can put it behind me and begin anew. It’s the moment when we end one chapter in our personal history books and start on the next with a clean page.
Personal history is an important part of passing on a legacy. Your life, filled with ups and downs, moments of pure joy and sheer terror, times of youthful discovery and aged wisdom, create a history book like none other. It’s unique and while elements of other’s lives might parallel with yours, your story is your own and no historian can edit the facts you know to be true about your life. You are the only one who can pass it along for others in hopes by knowing your history your legacy is preserved.
It is so uniquely American to usher in these new chapters in our personal history books with a football game and fresh flowers. If you don’t like football, what’s not to love about the sense of renewal wrapped up in the most amazing parade floats you’ll ever smell? The 122nd Tournament of Roses begins tomorrow with a parade, followed by a football game in which Boot Campaign’s friend Marcus Luttrell is the honorary guest.
Now there is a guy who, I’m sure, is not only glad for new beginnings each year, but every day. If you’ve read his book, Lone Survivor, you know 2005 was a tough year, and although he can never forget it, was glad to see it go. If you haven’t read his personal history book, go get it. Do yourself a favor and start 2011 off by reading it. Even better, if you’ve made New Year’s resolutions read the book before you start whatever you resolve to do. His personal history will inspire you to stay the course.
For Marcus, I’m thinking 2011 is already turning up rosy. He closed his 2010 chapter by marrying his one true love, Melanie. He will spend the better part of 2011 doing work for his charity organization Lone Survivor Foundation, in raising funds to assist wounded veterans. We here at the Boot Campaign are in partnership with Marcus and the LSF to support his mission. No matter how 2011 turns out, it’s safe to say that Marcus is intent in forging a legacy of hope and encouragement to our troops. You could say everything’s finally coming up roses for our Rose Bowl honoree so make sure you tune in!
With Boot Recruit Myra and Guest Char Fontan Westfall
Its all about perspective. Do you find some days you could use a fresh perspective? Sometimes a new outlook is blissful and yet at other times difficult. It causes us to stop and take a closer look at ourselves and how we live our lives or maybe see the world. It has even deeper meaning when it forces us to make a change for the better. Today, theBoot Campaign offers a perspective from our friend Char Fontan Westfall. Char’s husband Jacques was one of 19 men who lost his life in Operation Redwing as described in the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. From her vantage point as a widow of a fallen soldier, Char, recounts her thoughts and feelings that first holiday season after the death of her husband.
The whole 1st year after losing Jacques was just miserable. I DREADED every day, especially EVERY Holiday. As November came around it was just one bad memory after another. It started with Jacques birthday, November 11, Veteran’s Day, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. To be honest, it took everything in me to go out and Christmas shop for my family. It seemed like everywhere I went I was surrounded by signs reminding me that Jacques was gone. I’d catch myself looking at things I knew he would like and then suddenly slapped back into reality. There are no words to describe how much that hole in your heart hurts at this time of year. I can say I’m thankful that my loss wasn’t during the holiday season. Those first days and weeks are difficult to begin with, let alone associating future holidays with such tragic loss. I don’t know how I would have handled seeing gifts I’d already wrapped for him. Although, I did have things in his closet that I purchased while he was gone. At least I didn’t have the extra pain of knowing he wouldn’t be opening the gifts I so excitedly picked out for him.
Around this time of year I think most people get pretty wrapped up in their own stress and lives and forget about the wives, husbands, children and families that are trying to “make it” through the Holidays. I find myself constantly thinking of how heavy their hearts must be and if they are even motivated to celebrate this season. In perspective, there are Christmas parties you won’t attend because for one, you don’t want to be there alone, but even more so because you don’t know how you’ll deal with seeing all the “happy couples” along with their stares of pity. Families that have just recently lost their loved one are constantly on my mind. I have an even greater appreciation for the Holidays now.
I am still very close with Jacques’ family. There aren’t words to express how much I cherish the fact that they are still such a huge part of my life. I know their hearts still ache from the hole left by the loss of Jacques. They still have the pain of not having him around too. For me, with every passing year the pain eases and I deal with his absence just a little better. My life has turned around though. God blessed me for a second time in my life with another love. We have a child and I’m thankful to get to enjoy the holidays with them.
Maybe Char’s birds-eye view is a reminder for you to spend quality time with those you love while you can, and to thank a soldier; perhaps while sitting next to them on an airplane to your holiday destination. Seize the moment, as you never know what they will be required to do on your behalf. When you do that, you honor the families of our servicemen and women around the world, which is a whole new perspective in itself.
By Boot Recruit Myra
A Boot Campaign Veteran’s Day Tribute
Imagine a 7 year old boy named David sitting in his house without a cell phone, computer, satellite, cable, microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, electronic games of any sort or the basics like indoor plumbing a.k.a. modern conveniences! In fact, only one family on the street owns a television (black and white of course) and all the neighbors are jealous of their “high-tech” prowess! David and his parents are glued to the only form of electronic entertainment in their house: an Emerson radio. As they listen to President Roosevelt describe the events of December 7th, 1941 “a day that will live in infamy”, the schoolboy becomes a little uneasy. He sheepishly gazes at his parents wondering what they are thinking and feeling, hoping they will give a hint of comfort in their countenance. They after all, have reason to fret, with 4 of their 6 children in active duty during WWII. Keenly aware of the remaining two little boys in the room, neither parent reveals the probable inner turmoil they endure. For 18 months William and Lucy Patton heard nothing from their oldest son Bill, who was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it went up in flames. Fearing he was dead, they kept vigil each night hoping for good news. It was difficult however, because of the war, the nation was under food, clothing and gas rationing. As David said, “day-to-day living was always a matter of trying to survive with some degree of comfort”. Then in 1942 on Mother’s Day, Lucy received a call from Bill “somewhere in the Pacific” just to let her know he loved her and he was ok. 30 seconds of pure joy on the phone with her son set Lucy’s heart free from worry to be sure…. for the moment anyway.
Hard to believe in this day of instant messaging, that there was a time when families were kept at bay for months, even years, with news of loved ones serving in war. The most remarkable part of the story is all four of them survived their tours of duty in WWII! Bill the oldest, received battle stars for Midway, Wake Island, Solomon Island, Coral Sea and the air offensive in Europe. He received a Purple Heart for wounds received in the Pacific. Bill went on to serve as a Criminal Investigator and was an expert in fingerprint identification. He spent most of his time during the Korean War identifying fallen heroes killed in combat. Charles, second in this Patton line, was a Master Sergeant and served in Europe. He was a Line Chief for a squadron of P-51 Mustang fighters. He received both the Bronze and Silver Star for his contributions to keep Mustangs flying and other war efforts. He served in Germany, France and England during his 6 year military career. Richard, the third son was a Staff Sergeant in Panama. After 4 years in that role, he transferred to civilian service as a policeman on the Panama Canal. Paul, the fourth boy, was a tail gunner on a B-24 in England, France and Germany. He was a Sergeant and crew member of a bomber squadron both in the US and Europe.
Bob, no. 5 in the brother row, spent all of his 3 year enlistment as an instrument instructor for pilots in the Korean conflict. Last but not least, the sixth son of William and Lucy Patton, David served during the Korean War as Military Police. His assignment was in personnel and with physical security which involved storing, maintenance and transfer of atomic weapons to aircraft. All told, these six men served 51 years in protection of the United States. Many more families like these gave up the comfort and security of home to serve our nation in a time of need and at the expense of their mother’s nerves to be sure!
I recently asked David Patton who he’d most like to see with Boots ON! His reply was Abraham Lincoln. How convenient that our Boot Campaign Facebook fans Paul & Terry Bass posted this photo this week, and in so doing helped make a Veteran’s wish come true!
I wear my boots in commemoration of all Veterans, most especially the Patton brothers: Uncle Bill, Uncle Charles, Uncle Richard, Uncle Paul, Uncle Bob and my dad,
David Patton. Like a true patriot and Veteran he continues to serve his country by putting his boots ON in gratitude for all who are in active duty. Thanks Dad and immeasurable thanks to countless more Veterans whose selfless acts of service provide ALL of us the freedom to pursue our own modern conveniences!