Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gunner

My husband has one of the biggest hearts. A few years ago when my dad was sick, my mom joined the horticulture club in her retirement community. They were making plans to build an organic garden so that they could reap the benefits of fresh veggies year round. With time, the plan grew and grew. My mom wanted to help, but she was often busy helping my dad, and didn't feel like there was much she could do. Enter Gunner.

Gunner has the strength of 20 men. (Once I bought a freezer and the lady told me that I was going to need several guys to move it. I assured her that Gunner could do it, and when he came and moved it, she changed her tune. He makes it all look easy!) Gunner wanted to help out my mom so he participated in the building of the garden every saturday for a year. He had just returned from his first tour in Iraq, and many of the veterans loved to "talk shop" with him. Even those that were unable to serve, still had a great respect for him. Gunner moved huge cinder blocks, dug trenches, moved mulch, built, tore down, moved some more stuff, carried more bricks, built more beds, the list went on. He absolutely loved every minute of it, and felt like he was really helping. (I'm sure the 3 hours of being child free was somewhat enticing too!)

When Gunner left for his second tour in Iraq, the club decided to have a yellow ribbon tied to the biggest oak tree in the garden. They had a ceremony, sent him pictures, and faithfully waited for his return at which time they promised a celebration. After a year, Gunner returned and true to their word, the horticulture club reserved a pavilion, catered BBQ, and even though there was a torrential downpour, the club showed up to welcome him home. We were even invited to their Christmas party as guests.

This past year while Gunner was home, he was unable to work in the garden every Saturday due to commitments that we both had (many of which I am sure were probably me saying "You take them to the garden or you stay here with them , I need a break!"). Before he left for Iraq this time, he stopped by and was greeted warmly by all the members of the club. Some of them write, some email, a ton of them ask about him.

Fast forward again to today. The residents of Sun City held a "Thanks to the Troops" golf tournament in Georgetown today. Different community organizations were able to sponsor a "hole" with a message. The horticulture club sponsored one in Gunner's name. (These things were not cheap!)

While we were waiting for the Soldiers to arrive, I chased Junior around. Of course all of these retired grandparents fell in love with the little guy. Can anyone tell me who this guy is? (The one wearing the hat with the flag and the white shirt--I didn't want to look too obvious about taking his picture (hint: he was inducted into the football hall of fame, and was an extremely nice guy who gave us directions to hole 5 and rescued Junior's binky and held on to it till he saw us again!) (Oh and I only know who it is because I stared at the Hall of fame ring for a while and then asked my mom)

Anyway, in the heat of the day, Sun City residents lined the roads, dressed in patriotic colors, waving flags, and cheering for the Soldiers that arrived. These Soldiers looked shocked at the warm reception that they received. They were fed lunch and then paired up with a Sun City resident that had served in the military. They were loaded on to golf carts and then taken to play Shotgun Golf or something like that--I am in no way a golfer! After the festivities were done, they would be treated to dinner.

After the Soldiers arrived my mom and I decided we should go find Gunner's "hole". After getting more directions and stumbling around, we finally found it (and I managed to walk through tons of poison ivy, not just once, not twice, but three times--score one for ABW). I walked back and there was a sign for Gunner and two people from the horticulture club waiting for us in case we stopped by. They asked about Gunner and I gave our thanks for them thinking of Gunner and honoring him in this way. The local Sun City news lady came out and shot some video and asked some questions about Gunner too. Junior saw "flat daddy" and was all over him.

After all the festivities, we headed out for mexican food and Junior passed out. Thanks to Sun City for honoring the Troops from Fort Hood and for the Horticulture club for honoring my hero!

9 comments:

Abbey P said...

Beautiful!!!!

Amy said...

Oh...It always warms my heart to hear stories like this!! I'm very glad Gunner was honored in this way.

You baby boy with his daddy's picture is so touching and sweet. Gunner will love the pictures!!

Sandy's Notes said...

How wonderful for people to honor Gunner. I love the pictures too!

Anonymous said...

He is a great guy :) We'll keep him!

Vypergirl said...

That is just so awesome. It just makes me smile to read this!

Uncle Dan said...

Yeah, we adopted him already.

trying said...

what a great idea! and the pics of junior are fantastic!

T said...

What a beautiful tribute! Love the photos. He's a lucky guy!

Erin said...

so cool!