Holiday time can be so joyous, but it can also be terribly sad. Reading an e-mail from an employee and friend who is stationed in Iraq put it all in perspective for us here at the Quarterdeck's Boathouse. Tim, who is with the National Guard's 142nd engineering unit, left his bartending position in January and was since posted in several towns in Iraq where the unit has been busy reconstructing damaged facilities. We correspond often and his Dec. 3 e-mail touched us to tears. In part, he states:
"Well guys, can you believe it...a Christmas in Iraq for me. I just want to tell you guys something real quick. Do me a favor and during Christmas time, hug your loved ones just an extra second. You don't know how much your family and friends mean to you until they are either passed away or, like me, gone on deployment. And it shouldn't have to be like that. So treat every moment like it is special, because you don't know how much someone means to you until they are gone."
"I know Christmas time is going to be a hard time. It is the ultimate holiday, so much Christmas Spirit. But I will be okay here because here I kind of have another family, too. I just want you guys to know that I miss you so much. And that I can't wait to get home next April."
Tim is 20 years old with a small but far-flung family. He has friends, but like so many of our troops in that unfamiliar land, never enough to fill the void of leaving home. He is a Brainerd resident whose holiday might be brightened by a few extra greetings from his hometown.
If you know someone with the troops in Iraq during the holidays, do send them a greeting. News from home is comforting. And if you have an extra card, or time to e-mail, consider sending Tim a greeting too. He's a thoughtful, caring young man who the lakes area can be proud to call their own. And he would be reassured to know that the Christmas Spirit still burns bright here in north central Minnesota, U.S.A.
Tim's address : Pfc. Dauk, Timothy N. c/o 142 D ECB (HV), Unit #92658, APO AE 19323-2658
Tim's Email: email@example.com
(Jane and Alan Gunsbury own the Quarterdeck Resort and Boathouse. The column was written with the help of their employees.)
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