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Sunday, May 1, 2016

From the Midway: When a hero falls

Thursday, December 27, 2007

(Photo)
There are times as a reporter that a story leads you in a different direction than what you intended to originally write. The story I am about to share with you I was going to do as a news story but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed a bit personal to me. A reporter has to distance him or herself from the story but sometimes I can't. That is why I going to tell you this story in a column rather than a news story.

Ever since I started here at the paper I have been lucky to be involved with Cherokee County Veterans Association, VFW and the American Legion. Over this time period, I've gotten to know many of our veterans personally. The guys who fought in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and watched how they have come together when one of them is in trouble.

It's amazing to see different generations coming together and treating each other as brothers, whether they're at a funeral giving their brothers an honored send off or when they come together when the Moving Wall came to town. They willingly give their time, money and labor to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Sometimes these soldiers die on the battlefield and sometimes it takes years for the battle to catch up to them.

One of the many area veterans I have gotten to know is Dave Lee, he is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the US Air Force and he is Post Commander for the Cherokee American Legion. Dave was recently diagnosed with Lung Cancer and has a mass in his abdomen. Doctors have given him nine to 12 months to live. He is a fighter and proudly proclaims that he is not given up and he'll take what's handed to him. In 1969 he was exposed to Agent Orange, which is the cause of his illness. He just went through his second round of chemotherapy and he takes things one day at a time.

He is not sitting around feeling sorry for himself and only wants to spend time with his eight-year daughter Karen Teré. In fact the only thing he would like to do with his remaining time is to take his daughter to Disney World.

When Dave's brothers at the American Legion heard about his diagnosis and his only request, they knew they had to do something. A while back the legion purchased a bingo machine to be used for fundraisers and they were trying to figure out what to do with the machine. So they realized that fundraiser for Dave is something that they could do for their brother. Currently they are going around the community collecting items to be auctioned off plus there is a fundraising jars for Dave at the Cherokee VA office and around the community.

The fundraiser will be held on Jan. 18, starting at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall located on the East Hill, next to Everlasting Memories. So please come join me at the auction/fundraiser and play some bingo and enjoy the many baked goods that will be available, courtesy of the American Legion Auxiliary.

You'll see first hand the special bond that our veterans have for each other and how one man's life has touched so many others. See you there Dave.