I am an outgoing person and try to stay in touch with the friends I make so it isn’t surprising that I will run into acquaintances as our family travels. Since my son graduated from The Citadel I now find the connections I made through his time at the school adds an additional layer to these small world meetings. A chance meeting this past weekend brought this to mind.
A little background. . . . During my son’s deployment a friend in my church, who is a graduate of The Citadel, sent an email of introduction to his former classmate, a 1972 graduate. This gentleman has been a tremendous source of support and encouragement to me while my son was deployed. He keeps track of the graduates, cadets and some parents of cadets who are in Afghanistan serving our country.
On occasion I will ask my contact for names of deployed soldiers who would like a care package. My contact then sends a note to his list asking for the soldiers to respond to me with their requests.
In response to one of these emails I received a surprise note from a Captain asking for something I never thought about. He asked for American flags. He and his Apache crew fly the flags then send them to people as a thank you for their support. He and his crew were buying them out of their own pockets. He asked if we could find people who would send them a dozen. Together with another Citadel mom we quickly asked the moms of Citadel Cadets to contact us if they would like to contribute to the cause. Within a day or so we had enough money to purchase more than the amount requested. After calling a few flag makers I found one who gave us a good discount which enabled us to factor the postage in as well.
When I saw the Captain’s name I knew it sounded familiar. Sure enough, he is the same Timothy Devine who is from our home town, who graduated from the same high school as my son, then went on to The Citadel and his senior year, Class of 2007, was the Regimental Commander. I had heard his mother worked for a local school, so I called her.
As both an Army mom and the mom of a Citadel graduate I would want to know if someone reached out to my son, so I called Captain Devine’s mom, Karen, to tell her about the flags. We talked and shared some emotional deployment stories. It was nice to know that there was another mom near by who I share quite a bit with even though we had never met.
Last week a box arrived in the mail from deployed the Captain! He sent a nice certificate and one of the 3′ x 5′ flags that had flown aboard an AH – 64D Apache Helicopter over the provinces of Afghanistan on a combat mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I had offered to send the flags to a few individuals for the Captain. He included a flag for me, one for my friend, Sarah Lancaster. I was able to deliver one directly to a Citadel mom who is a teacher. Her class sent drawings and notes to soldiers. I asked the recipients to take a photos with their flag so Captain Devine would see them.
With the flags off to their recipients I thought the chapter on flags was shut. Until I went to the garden nursery this weekend.
As I walked to my car another vehicle pulled in. On the back of the car was a Blue Star sticker and a sticker for The Citadel. When the driver got out I asked if he is a graduate. Just as I gave my name his wife came around the car and said, “I am Karen Devine!” What a wonderful surprise.
We hugged and, of course, I asked if we could get a photo taken of the two of us. We both happened to be wearing Citadel blue too!