BOSS Veteran's Hospital Visit

Story by Spc. Lisa Jendry
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

A funny, high spirited double amputee … A paralyzed but proud grandfather, whose braces-clad hands struggle with the simple task of holding a spoon … And a shy, pleasant women sitting quietly, just taking in her surroundings - all have served their country proudly.

These were just a few of the veterans who greeted BOSS representatives from the 13th Corps Support Command during a recent visit to the Olin E. Teague Veteran's Hospital in Temple.

"We just want to pay our respects to the men and women who fought for our country to better our lives," said PFC Keithsha Dale, 13th COSCOM BOSS representative. "We must never forget all they have sacrificed."

She added, "My biggest thing is I want all the soldiers to appreciate what we have and how those veterans paved the way for the freedom that we can all enjoy today."

Each of the veterans had their own story and whether or not they chose to share their stories, they all had one thing in common - they were all soldiers, airmen, sailors or marines who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Surrounded by pictures of his family and friends, a raspy voiced, Wilburn L. Massey, (Navy minesweeper during World War II) recounted the year he enlisted at the young age of 16.

"I'll admit after I got in, I had a rude awakening," Massey recalled. "It wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be, but I adapted, and in a six month period of time, I turned from a boy to a man."

Massey believes it was his faith and his dedication to his country that got him through the "rough times".

"I'm a Christian and I have a great love for my country," he said, adding, "always have since I was a kid."

Massey also stressed the importance of camaraderie.

"Look at your fellow soldier as your brother or your sister and be ready to lay your life down for them if you have to because they'll lay theirs down for you, Massey said. "That's the way they trained us then — I'm sure it's the way they train now."

Solomon D. Rector, an Army mine detector during WWII, offered some wisdom to new soldiers.

"Stay on the job and try to do as much as you can, as well as you can," Rector advised, and I think everything will come out alright."

According to Tiffany Moore, Student Nurse Technician, the soldier's visit "boosted their spirits quite a bit".

"I think it's important because a lot of them (veterans) don't get visitors very often and to see that someone else cares about them, other than the staff that work here, really helps them."

Though he struggled with his breath, Massey insisted on stressing just one more point to all of the soldiers.

"Let me tell you something," he gasped. "We have some mentally broken people here and they have reasons for it — they've been through a lot." "I know it may seem like they don't appreciate y'all but don't pay no attention to their manner," Massey said. "Inside, I know what they're saying — it's what I'm saying — that y'all are the backbone of our country…and don't you ever forget it."