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Once again the country will pause on Nov. 11 to honor those who served and continue to serve in the military. Politicians will make speeches, stores will have special sales, and restaurants will offer discounted meals. Most will take place with little real thought of the price veterans and their families have paid.

As I get older, I find myself recalling conversations and events of younger years that influenced and shaped my outlook on life.

One of the earliest as a small child was overhearing mother confide to an aunt of her worry to the point of being physically ill over news reports of enemy troops burning American soldiers alive during the Korean War. Seems she hadn’t heard from my oldest brother, who was serving in Korea, and worried for his safety.

Later, while serving aboard ship during the Vietnam era, a shipmate was showing family pictures and introduced one of his father holding the severed heads of Japanese solders on bayonets. He stated he had never really got to know his father, as most of his time growing up the father had spent in mental hospitals as result of the war.

Years later, a gentleman I knew called me for an electrical issue at his home. By all appearances, he was completely normal, a successful community and business leader. After doing the repairs, he said he had something he wanted to show me. He produced a pistol and other items he had taken from a soldier he had killed in hand-to-hand combat in World War II. At that point, with tear-filled eyes, he said that he was so ashamed of things he had done and seen in combat. “I was a kid of 18 who had never left the county, but war and fear can turn you into an animal.”

A horrible price veterans and families have paid.

Roy Heffner

Chesapeake, Ohio

Thank you to everyone who

honored Cabell EMS employee

As we are all aware, this has been a very trying time for our country. As director of Cabell County Emergency Medical Services, I understand that our EMS crews have been on the frontline of the COVID response. They have proven to be professional, diligent and kind in very difficult circumstances. They have risked their lives on a daily basis and have risen to all the challenges presented. Recently, we lost one of our own at CCEMS to COVID. She had been a dedicated employee for over five years and always performed her duties with a smile. I wanted to thank everyone that was involved in her brief battle with COVID. There were so many people involved, it would be impossible to acknowledge everyone.

She was given excellent care by all staff members while she was in the hospital. From the time she presented to the emergency department to the time she was admitted to ICU, outside agencies also assisted in every way possible. At a moment’s notice our CCEMS supervisor made arrangements for crews from our agency in addition to all these agencies to escort her from the hospital: Cabell County Sheriff, Huntington Fire, Huntington Police, Barboursville, Milton, Ona, Green Valley and Ohio River Road fire departments.

During her service, we had agencies from Boyd, Kanawha, Putnam and Mason County EMS, Cabell County Sheriff’s Department, Huntington Police Department, Green Valley, Barboursville and Milton VFD, Lawrence County EMS, Wayne County and Kenova EMS, Wayne County and Huntington QRTs, HealthNet and countless others that participated. My deputy director was there to help the family during this difficult time. Also, a special thank you to Pastor Kevin Mackey. I apologize in advance if I left anyone off this list. We truly appreciate all the assistance. Lastly, the community support and outpouring of kindness will never be forgotten.

However, I truly have to acknowledge the unwavering support of all her fellow co-workers at CCEMS. Our crews view each other as family, and this was definitely proven during this tragedy. They came together to provide support to the family and each other. Food, financial support, teddy bears, flowers, bracelets and memorial services are just a few examples of the care that was shown to the family. This more than anything in my career gave me faith in how special these individuals are — those that serve their communities with determination without wavering every single day.

Gordon Merry, director

Cabell County EMS

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