Teri’s Notebook: Soldier reaches out to little boy; Veteran reaching out to others on cross-country journey
For the Nevada Appeal
Pat Lassak of Carson City called this week with a sweet story about an exchange between his grandson and a U.S. Army soldier.
He said 4-year-old Kamryn Munoz was in the car with his mom, grandma and sister at the 7-Eleven on Highway 50 on Wednesday when a soldier passed by.
“Look,” Kamryn pointed out, “there’s an Army man. He helps me and he saves people.”
With the window rolled down, the soldier heard the boy’s comments.
“He walks over to my grandson and took the American flag off his shoulder and gave it to him,” Lassak said. “He told him, ‘Never let this hit the ground.’”
Lassak said the little boy hasn’t stopped talking about the flag since he got it. However, it all happened so fast, the family didn’t get a chance to get the soldier’s name or to thank him.
They hope he will read this and feel their appreciation.
“When I heard the story, I had tears in my eyes,” Lassak said. “He didn’t have to do that.”
Lassak said he has a memorial set up in his living room to his father, Edward, who was a B-17 pilot in the U.S. Army. He plans to add the flag to that collection.
Angela Hatton, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, stopped by the Carson City Visitors Bureau on Friday. The 32-year-old is walking the length of Highway 50 across the country to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and to connect with veterans along the way.
She started her walk, Unite the Journey: A Project to Help and Inspire, in Dillon Beach, Calif., on March 2. She hopes to reach Ocean City, Md., in six months.
After serving three tours to Iraq as a senior airman, she saw her share of trauma. But her brother’s struggle with PTSD and TBI after serving in the Army and Marine Corps each for four years — including in Fallujah, Iraq — inspired to help.
“He’s the reason I’m doing this,” she said.
She’s stopping to talk with veterans and collect their stories.
“I’ve found my objective is my biggest hurdle,” she said. “The ones who suffer from PTSD and TBI don’t want to talk about it.”
If they don’t want their stories documented, she said, she’ll just listen to them. If they want to share anonymously, that’s OK too.
When Hatton leaves Carson City on Sunday, she’d like any veterans who are interested to join her on her walk out of town. They can walk as little or as far as they want.
She will be leaving from the Carson City Visitors Bureau, 716 N. Carson St., at 9 a.m. Sunday. For more information, call her at (762) 207-6678.
To support her journey, make a donation at gofundme.com/unitethejourney or follow Unite the Journey on Facebook.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.