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.