Bryce Angell – The outdoors has always been a large part of my life. My father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years and I was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. We took many great trips into the Yellowstone area. Even now that I’m older, we still ride into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. My poems are mostly of personal experience. I am now retired and enjoying life to the fullest. I plan to do more riding and writing.

Being retired is worth the wait. I highly recommend it. And being retired allows you the possibility of working part-time if you desire. I work part-time at The Living Center where the residents come to recuperate from a life’s challenge or to spend the rest of their days being assisted and cared for with their daily needs.

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are there to assist the residents or give 100% care, depending on the resident. They are very busy, sometimes to the point of frustration.

Jack, a retired Idaho farmer, was one of the residents. His son now runs the family farm. Jack was also a veteran of the Korean War. He had mentioned to me, on more than one occasion, being a farm boy had toughened him up and made the nightmare of war a little more tolerable.

Jack had fallen at home and broken his hip. Because he was a large man, it was impossible for family to care for him at home — hence, The Living Center.

Jack had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.

One evening after dinner, Jack was a little louder than normal. One of the tired CNAs berated him in front of his friends and staff. Jack looked devastated. I wanted to yell at her but realized that would be the same thing she did to Jack.

So, I asked all four of the CNAs to come to the front desk for a short meeting. That was the last thing they wanted to do, as it would put them further behind. They stood there, arms folded, and gave me a cold stare. I got right to the point and made my comments short.

I told them that, no matter what, we would be respectful to the residents and not raise our voices to them. Because of veterans like Jack, we now enjoy the freedoms we have. We owe him our deepest respect.

I then told of Jack’s time in the Korean War and how he and his buddies adopted an orphan boy who came to their base, saying, “No mama, no papa, no food.” They sewed together a uniform for the boy and made him part of their company. When the Americans left the area, Jack and his buddies found a home for their little soldier. Jack said it broke his heart to leave the little boy.

I’m not sure I got through to anyone that night. Maybe the reminder was good for me.

But one thing is for certain. Jack and all veterans need to know our appreciation for what they did for us. November 11 is just around the corner. Find someone who served our country and give them a heartfelt thank you and a firm handshake. That gesture alone might just make a veteran’s day. And if given right, it will make your day as well.

  – Bryce Angell

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