After I became a noncommissioned officer in the Air Force and in charge of the base printing department where I knew most everyone on base, I decided to become the go-to guy. I wanted to be the guy who was always there to help someone, and if I couldn’t do it personally, I would find the person who could.
Then my wife found out she had cancer. It was the first time I did not know how to fix the problem, but the Air Force knew where to find someone who could. My wife was sent to the Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to the largest Air Force hospital in the world. It had the best cancer doctors anywhere. For the first time in my Air Force career, I would need help with my large family.
My on-base neighbor took over helping me feed my children and getting them ready for school. She also kept my house clean. My one child who was not school age was dropped off at the base child care center every morning on my way to work and was picked up after I got off work. This arrangement was made by my commander’s wife at no cost to me for the time my wife was in the hospital.
A lot of folks on base were helping me. Some brought food to my house. I was always a take-charge guy and this was something new to me. I don’t know how I would have gotten by if it wasn’t for my oldest daughter, Donna Kay, who helped me with the other kids. She was a lifesaver for me
This was during wartime and my printing department was working 24/7 and I was often called back at night to iron out a problem that came up.
I could never say enough thanks to all the people who helped me in my time of need. They even had a phone next to my wife’s bed where she could call our kids or me at any time.
My wife became cancer free, and she lived many year afterwards.
(The late Everett Vanover, a contributing writer for many years for The Mountain Eagle, was born in Jenkins and lived in California.)