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Last night I was reflecting on the year's end with some tears and cheers.  I was laughing also with comments on Navajo's and Twigg's diary as it was so uplifting and then the phone rang.  The phone call was from a dear friend and third veteran I ever helped to obtain benefits.   Scotty was from Texas but Jack and I met him backstage at the Grand ole Opry in 1997.  

Scotty introduced us to his fiance' Candy and we all hit it off from the start.  Candy was a security guard at the Opry.   Scotty is a Viet Nam combat vet, retired firefighter
and awesome musician and singer.  It was Scotty in Nashville that I was helping when I found out that Nashville was non compliant in handicap parking and the heat was brought down on them in 2000 which landed me an invitation to have dinner with Former Vice President Al Gore for the 10th anniversary of the ADA in Washington DC at his residence.  It was also giving me the opportuity to speak to many at the VA Headquarters regarding claims and Agent orange.  His fiance helped me start United Veterans along with gathering the pics for proof to submit to Washington to start action against the City regarding the access board.   Jack and me had made several trips to Nashville and we always stayed with Scotty and Candy.  We were there photgraphing their wedding at the Nashville Palace.  We sang and made music when we weren't planning benefits for veterans down in Georgia.

Scotty arranged for many stars to appear at a benefit 300 miles away at the UVA's first fundraiser for three vets.   Nashville stars gathered in the Walmart parking lot who sponsored the event along with Coca Cola and the local radio station.  We did not raise but 1800.00 because it was free but it was sure a lot of fun.   We helped a dying veteran who only lived five weeks after the benefit by securing his Mother a washer, dryer, and air conditioner as she was the caregiver to her son who served in Nam and was dying from exposure to agent orange and cancer had covered his body.  It was too late for obtaining benefits, but we tried.   We also paid for a plane ticket to a vet who had to have a pacemaker and was transferred to Virginia.  The vet's trip was paid for but his wife's was not so we made up the difference.  UVA made up the difference so she could be with her husband.  Scotty was part of all of that.  The rest went to pay a light bill for a WWII vet.

Scotty is the reason we have our pet.  When he came from Nashville, he brought Jack the first of his cat's litter.  Our pootie is called Zena.   Just a furball and now almost 13 years old come June.  That black pootie is a Nashville cat and part of our family.

Join me below the orange suiggly please

 

As the phone rang last night, I was still typing and laughing over the mock revolution taking place on Daily Kos.  

Our 17 year old was all excited as she handed the phone to Jack.   She kept saying, "It's Scotty Decker"....Scotty Decker !!!!"  I smiled and kept typing as I saw our teenager was a bit star struck.   I heard Jack say, " Hey Budd, how's it going?"
I then heard silence for maybe five minutes with only, a " Oh, man, Scotty, I am so sorry".   Oh, moans and head dropped and a fierce look of concern on my husband's face which caused me to close the computer.  I sat there and saw my husband keep  shaking his head.   He then, said well yeah, here is Amanda.   I knew something was terribly wrong.

This is the bad part of helping vets.  Scotty became a very close friend  Scotty became a close, almost family member.  We didn't see him much after 2000 when he left Nashville and moved back to Texas.  Scotty has always been a class act and had means to raise horses, buy property and still does but he can't buy out what is coming down for him.  Scotty has peripheal neuropathy, PTSD, but still sings and performs for fun.

We rarely heard from Scott and Candy except for the yearly Happy Birthday song he called to sing to me each year, or posting on Facebook, or a note he would post about UVA.   He wrote a message on myafacebook that he had a dream about Jack at the very time Jack had his heart attack.  I found that odd and erie.   Last night as we had some BBQ from Sonny's odd, as it may seem before the phone call, Jack and I were telling the kids Scotty could cook up some mean BBQ and we never met anyone who could spread a feast like him.  We were just discussing him not three hours before he called.

The first words out of Scotty's mouth was I love you,  He said that 9 times and then he said I love Jack.  I love you both so much.  I am in the VA hospital and I have cancer of the brain.  They found 9 masses, and had I not fell in November and became paralyzed they would not have found it.  Words escaped me.  I tried to remember the Kos diary and stay optimistic and said, " Oh Scotty, you can beat this".   You got a lot of songs to sing.  We love you too.

He hung up geared up for his radiation and chemo and I knew Scotty is another victim of agent orange and this phone call hurt badly.  I have lost so many of my original founders , that I am about the only one left.  There are three of us still around.
As this year closes, and I think of the people we have lost and the veterans who are sick , including my husband, I hate and love what I do.   I think, if there has been a little difference made, then the pain I feel from their downward spiral from wars past,  is worth it but even though our politics was very different Scotty knew liberals loved veterans.   He knew that !!!!   He was a Bush supporter but we rarely talked politics.

I wanted to thank Daily Kos for being a beacon of sunshine in days of doom and gloom because to tell you the truth, if I didn't come here, I would probably just be tempted to throw in the towel of activism...It hurts too bad sometimes.

To Scotty....and I can use his name because he is a public figure.  This is one of his last CD's and he had put together a montage of his VN days and music days.  Good luck my friend.  Good Luck and thank you for so much !  Welcome home and thank you for your service.

 Please click the montage provided and let us honor another victim of war and agent orange.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh no, sweetie... (10+ / 0-)

    I am so sorry.  Terribly sorry to hear this news.  

    Goes without saying that I'll be praying for Scotty, holding him in the light, sending strength and lighting candles.

    And for you, you who shoulder so much, I will do the same for you.  You provide 'round the clock caregiving for your own vet, have helped scores of other vets and are a vital and important voice here at Daily Kos.  We can't have you going down for one minute!

    {{{{{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}}}}} for your heavy heart!

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:28:41 AM PST

  •  I don't know if it will help (11+ / 0-)

    but I was thinking that you can hold this to your heart and know you have done this:

    To Live As A Warrior

    So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.

    Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.

    Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

    Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.

    Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

    Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.

    Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

    When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

    Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

    Live right so when it comes your time to die, you will not be like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, who weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.

    Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

    - Tecumseh
    The Great Shawnee Warrior and Statesman
    (Courtesy of The United Tribe of Shawnee Indians)

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:46:43 AM PST

  •  I found the note he wrote on UVA (8+ / 0-)

    back in March

    AMANDA, HOW IS JACK DOING .........I WAS HALF ASLEEP....WE PLAYED THAT NIGHT AND I DIDN'T GET TO BED TILL ABOUT 4 A.M....I WAS THINKING I WAS DREAMING.ABOUT JACK IN THE HOSPITAL....GOD BLESS MY FRIEND JACK....

    SCOTTY

    that message was so strange as I responded by telling him Jack was now in a wheelchair and just had a heart attack

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:12:26 AM PST

  •  I'm so sorry, Vetwife (9+ / 0-)

    What we have is memories, and you'll be able to say goodbye too. None of that will ease the pain (believe me, I know that), and I have a shoulder and arms for you if you need them.

    -7.75, -8.10; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:15:45 AM PST

    •  thank you my darling friend..... (8+ / 0-)

      tears are flowing because I get so close to few of our vets but Dear God, the ones I get close to I am very
      into their lives and pain.   I am terrified now for my vet and all of those I have helped.  That call last night has brought some stuff full circle of how vulnerable they all are.   The orange is winning as they age.  The depleted uranium will take many as well.  Oh I am so sorry .....
      for their pain of war and their pain of suffering.  

      thank you dear friend..Thank you !

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:20:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry I didn't see this diary when it was active. (7+ / 0-)

    May Scotty come through the surgery stronger than he went in. I hope that some Kossacks can visit him - but we need to know which VA Hospital he is in. While there won't be much we can do for Scotty right now, we can give support to whomever is with him.

    Amanda, you know the drill: call the social worker for that unit, make sure a disability claim is filed - or a review initiated if he is already on disability - and that he has caregiver assistance once discharged.

    Let me know what I can do for you, Jack, and Scotty.

    Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. Those who want to wage the next war in Afghanistan are condemned to lose it.

    by llbear on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:24:30 AM PST

    •  Thanks llbear.... (6+ / 0-)

      I asked him to have Candy call me..  He may not remember... I will call her.   He is at the Temple VA in Texas.   He has a nurse who is coming in now before he was hospitalized.  I checked that out last night sweetie but Candy is not getting A & A so I want to get that filed....We got him 100 T & P back in 2000.  That happened.  Now we need to make sure Candy knows what to do. She needs to file for A & A and expedite it.  

      I appreciate you llbear.   He was scared and kept telling me he wasn't ready to leave....and I kept assuring him that we could before him. as no one knows.......Candy drives 100 miles to the VA so I will be contacting her soon.   I don't know if there is a surgery...Just chemo and radiation.   You are right ...nothing can be done now.  I am glad he knows liberals are for veterans.   He told folks that back when I was seeking his disability.  When we met him he got nothing..not even enrolled.
      We managed to get him 50 and then 100 T & P.
      Suprisingly that happend at the Nashville VA.

      Thank you dear friend

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:33:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am so very sorry for your pain, and that of your (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suesue, Vetwife, glorificus, chimene

    dear friend and his family.

    From here, all I can offer is loving prayers for another of our own.  Seems I've been doing this most of my life, and it never gets easier.  Still, we do what we must, for them and for ourselves.  How else can we live in this world?

    Thank you for the work you do, for the love you spread, for the light you share.  There are more of our beloveds who are wounded where the wounds don't show, who need us.

    I wish you lightness of spirit and strength of heart.
    Marti

    We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

    by The Marti on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:34:27 AM PST

    •  That is all any of can do is offer prayers for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, chimene

      our wounded warriors and pray to end these endless and useless wars.  Thank you.   We do this in IGTN and we do this in caregiving and a New Day.   This is all any one of us can do is feel for our fellow man and encourage hope.

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:50:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Vetwife, I am so sorry. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, glorificus, chimene

    Watching someone you love suffer is so devastating.
    I thank you for all the good work you have done and are doing.
    I enjoyed the montage, even though it brought tears to my eyes.

  •  Sorry for you and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, glorificus, chimene

    Scotty.  My prayers are with him,  you, and all vets who are facing similar tribulations.

  •  Thanks for the thoughts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, chimene

    I literally had to lie down because I know after talking to llbear via phone, that I am scared of what could and eventually will happen to us all.  I am seeing it really up close and that we just have to live our days each one as our last as we never know......Because what we do draws us closer to those who DO suffer.  We see things and try to make things easier....Ted Kennedy came to mind as I was talking to llbear but I did not mention it to him and this is the thought of advocates or activitsts of all type and what they aspire to be.  We are the generation who who heard the call of The Kennedys.

    I surely am not trying to equate my self to RFK but to assure all of you as activists and occupiers and advocates, we try to live what was set out as a goal by the heros of our younger generation, a call to action and that is the sum of it.   Maybe we all need to hear that eulogy every now and then to not be so shaken and to listen to what is expected from us from the late Senator Kennedy to his brother Robert once again.  Those of us whose dare to help and make change.  This was pretty much the same thing in different words from the Indian Warrior poem above.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:38:49 PM PST

  •  (((((((will be thinking of all 4 of you)))))))) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:40:47 PM PST

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