Inspiration So Magnificent It Needs to Be Shared
The first family to receive a gift from Once a Soldier to cover their funeral costs came to us in December of 2018. Helen Taylor is the mom of a suicide veteran. Helen and her family have been living with the pain for over 3 years before she commented on this post about PTSD and Veteran Suicide rates. Her comment stuck out to me because it held real gratitude under a immensely heaving burden of loss.
In the months that followed, she and I kept in touch. Parents who lose their children this way find themselves in a sad place. I worried about Helen when I didn’t hear from here, but she always popped up, like daisies in Spring. And that’s what she is, a resilient fountain of strength who deserves our appreciation. She’s also has a way with words that I’ve been able to enjoy by myself, until now. Now I feel her motivational appreciation might be needed elsewhere. So here are the her letters to me, and believe me, she gives me way more credit that I deserve, but that’s what makes her so special.
What follows are excerpted contents of some of her e-mails to me.
Wow, Dave I am so happy and so proud to know you. All that you have done is absolutely amazing. The understanding, knowledge, dedication you have for these soldiers and their families is absolutely amazing. Once A Soldier has done so so much for me. I hope you know that you are truly a special person and that Cedrick, his family and I love you forever!!!!
I came from a very, very bad place that you have taken me from. Knowing that Cedrick’s name is associated with Once A Soldier makes me so proud. He was a strong, brave and dynamic soldier. He was so proud of the uniform and loved his fellow comrades. Looking at your work helps me survive each day. It brings my heart joy to read and see what you have accomplished. You have built your castle in the sky for sure, and Cedrick has a special place for you right with all the soldiers. But take your time getting there my friend, as you are still needed right here.
I share your message with so many people. I hope to be able to join in and help in some small way. I’m working myself up to that point only by what you have done for me and so many others. No therapist, medication or MD has helped me like you have. Please know that you are a very blessed person and please keep up the work that you do for the soldiers. I wish we could stop Veteran Suicide all together and your work is saving lives I am sure. If not the veteran himself, you have definitely saved a few family members (including myself).
I just can’t thank you enough. Please know that I pray for you, our family and the ONCE A SOLDIER family every day. You have made a difference in this world to so many. GOD LOVE YA,
Good Morning Dave & Staff:
Just wanted to give you a sincere, grateful, heartfelt thank you for keeping Cedrick’s picture on your website. It makes me feel so proud and happy to know that someone still gets to know my son. What a great person he was. Maybe, from the clouds above us & with his Angel wings, he can help others in some small way.
Your organization has helped me in so many ways. Before I knew about Once A Soldier all I did was cry. I thought I was alone in my everyday suffering. I thought no one cared & that no one would ever know Cedrick. I have some peace in knowing that you have the strength to help families and keep our soldier’s memories alive.
Thank you & I hope God keeps you all strong, healthy and in the fight to help all soldiers with PTSD & families that suffer with such great loss. Blessings to you, your staff and their families.
Helen Taylor, Cedrick’s Proud Mom
Good Afternoon Dave:
Just wanted to wish your wife a Happy Mother’s Day. Hope your family is doing well and that you have new glasses now. LOL….
And to you, thank you, thank you, thank you. When I see Cedrick’s picture on OAS I am so proud of him and so thankful for him. You have truly helped me more than you will ever know. I don’t want my son and all the other soldiers forgotten.
My best to you and your family….
Wow, Dave you are the best. Just knowing that made my day today. You are truly amazing and I am so happy that things are going well with OAS. You should be very proud of yourself for your idea, brain storming, work, dedication and getting OAS up and running. You are building your castle in the sky right now! You and your team are loved. Thank you, again, for your kind words about Cedrick (wish you could have met him).
Don’t ever under estimate yourself or doubt yourself. You are a strong, dedicated loving soul who is doing good for so many. I often wonder what my legacy will be or how I will be remembered, I have done so little. But you, what a different story. Your accomplishments are just amazing. You will always be remembered and your legacy will live on in soldiers, their families, in government, the public, etc…… I truly believe you are a gift to so many. Please don’t ever forget that. Cedrick and I thank you with all our hearts and trust that you always keep in your heart & mind that you are truly a special person. I wish I was there to give you a big hug and let you know how much you mean to so many. But, all I can do is thank you over and over again. You have touched so many, you are truly a special person. J
Good Morning Dave:
Thinking of you, OAS and your family. Sending prayers for everyone’s safety during the storm. Be safe and hoping this storm goes quickly out to sea. Much Luv for everyone……
TWO DAY LATERS
Cool, glad everyone was safe. Hope the sun is shining brightly now! Have a good day.
My sincere apologies for not getting back to you. If you are mad at me, I truly understand. I lost it for awhile and was afraid to contact you. I’m back to work and just wanted to say I am sorry. All that you did and continue to do for soldiers is greatly appreciated. I wish you and your family well.
There are more e-mails, but this amount should get the point across. Helen Taylor, who lost her son, Sgt. Cedrick Allan Taylor, is as much a part of Once a Soldier as anyone else here. And for that, we thank her.
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Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.
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