I know there are folks who don’t give much thought to the reason we have a day off work today. I know in the past I have been guilty of that, but for the past almost twenty years, I’ve been with a man who reminds me of the reason for this holiday not just on the holiday, but regularly. He has great respect for this holiday and I do too. Thank you to all who have served and are currently serving. Thank you to the families of those who have served and are serving. Thank you to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
I do have a heartwarming veteran story today. About two weeks ago, our home phone rang and even though we are on the “do not call” list, for some reason we seem to still get a LOT of telemarketing calls, so I almost didn’t answer a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I was sitting at my desk and picked up the phone almost expecting to immediately hang it up. But something caused me to pause as I listened to a man with a very heavy accent ask for Thomas Novacek. Here’s how the call went:
Caller: Hello, my name is Edward Montess and I am looking for Thomas Novacek. Is this Thomas’ home?
Me: Yes…..(still highly skeptical)
Edward: I have been looking for Thomas for over 30 years.I was in Basic Training and Military Police in 1970 or 71 with him. Do I have the right number?
Me: Yes, you do. (No doubt that this is the real deal and so glad I didn’t hang up…I knew this was an important call at this point)
Edward: Are you related to Tom?
Me: Yes, I’m his wife.
Edward: Ohhhh, Tom is such a good person. He is a beautiful person. So good to me in military. (All spoken in heavy accent) Is Tom at home?
Me: He is a good person, I’m so glad you called. Tom is actually at work right now, I’ll give you his cell, I know he’ll want to hear from you. (At this point, I’m so excited to for Tom to talk to Edward)
Edward: Oh yes, good, I want to talk to Tom
That was basically the extent of my conversation with him. He did call Tom, but had to leave a message because Tom was busy and couldn’t answer. The message he left on Tom’s voice mail is the sweetest, most humble message- I know that Tom will never erase it. Edward couldn’t recall his new cell phone number as he left the message, but said he would call again…and he did. Twenty minutes or so later, he called Tom back and they had a really nice conversation about their time together. Tom recalled to Edward that he was always baffled by Edward and the three other Puerto Ricans who didn’t speak English, but after responding to the drill sergeant’s order with, “no comprendo”, would run to do whatever he commanded. Tom said, “how did you know what to do?” and Edward said, “We didn’t, we just knew he was really mad, so we ran”. According to Tom, they laughed a lot and Edward shared with him how much he appreciated Tom’s kindness, even though they couldn’t verbally communicate.
Tom came home from work and went straight downstairs to grab a photo album with a few of his military photos and mementos. He found a photo of the platoon and found Edward right away in the photo. He had forgotten that he had all the guys in his platoon sign the back with their name and where they were from. Sure enough, there was Edward from P.R. Tom was at work when they had their twenty minute conversation a couple of weeks ago, but Tom intends to call him today.
Today, we’ll be sitting by Donna and Jamie’s pool, grilling and eating, but we will remember. Donna’s dad Don is career military and he’ll be with us today….so we won’t forget. So thankful to Don, Tom, Edward and all of the many others who have served and given their lives.
My Dad has a milestone birthday today, so we’ll be celebrating with him and my Mom at noon today. I love to spend time with my parents, they are such a blessing. When I think of my Dad, I think of dedication. He was a dedicated breadwinner for our family, as well as a dedicated family man. He has gone above and beyond what I can even imagine in his dedication to my Mom. When he took his vows, to love through sickness and health, he meant it. He has never wavered in his dedication and love for her. That is easy to respect. Love you Dad! Happy Birthday!
They’re cute too.
Have a good holiday.
God bless you and your family!