PET MO-Columbia update 11-10-14 PETs built since 1-1-14 1228

I’ve just finished reading an excellent book, “The Heart and the Fist,” by Eric Greitens,” Houghton Mifflin Co.,NY 2011. In his early life Eric travaled the world doing humanitarian work in such places as the huge refugee camps, giving a vivid account of his experiences.

After several years of living with the results of tribal wars he saw the
need for intervention groups such as the US Navy SEALS and joined their
ranks. His reports of their training was of interest to me for it was
similar to my WWII US Marine officer training, except far more intense. He
rose in the ranks of the SEALS and finally retired from that mission.

Mr. Greitens then began to work with badly disabled veterans returning
from Iraq and Afghanistan, and it is there that his book teaches us an
important lesson. For most returning disabled veterans, he said, it is not
enough to just say “Thank you for your service,” and give needed health care
and a monthly disability check. He wrote:

“I realized that these men and women had to hear something else in
addition to “Thank You.: They also had to hear, “We still need you.” They
had to see that we view them, not as problems, but as assets; that we see
them not as weak, but as strong. They had to know that we were glad they
were home, that we need their strength here at home; that we needed them to
continue to serve here at home.” They needed a sense of purpose.

Eric then gave of his own strength and money to found a project called
“The Mission Continues”, which is briefly reported at the end of the book.
Hundreds of returned veterans with broken bodies and disturbed minds are
being enabled to continue their life of service in meaningful and dramatic


The book caused me to reflect on the PET Mobility Project. Many retired
folks, men and women, do not want to retire, get a gold watch, and sit down
and hear it tick the hours away. We want to use the skills we learned in our
“paid” years in continuing service to humankind. Our desire for that is
great. I have had PET volunteers come to work using canes and carrying their
oxygen tanks. One volunteer asked his wife, 20 minutes before he died, to
call Susan to see if “those bolts came in.”


“Life is short. Life is uncertain. But we know that we have today. And we
have each other. I believe that for each of us there is a place on the
frontlines.” – Eric Greitens (written in a cabin in mid-Missouri)

Mel West

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