Gig Line: A very special day indeed!
Published 6:54 am Thursday, September 29, 2022
All veterans are worthy of celebration – every man and woman who has donned the uniform of our United States military, who served honorably sacrificing his/her time away from family, their own safety and their very life deserve our respect and our heartfelt appreciation. We are and will forever be in their debt.
One veteran that I wish to bring to your attention in this Gig Line is Mr. Charles L. Wescott, a very loved and respected resident of Wanchese, N.C. who celebrated his 104th birthday this Tuesday, September 27!
“Mr. Charles,” as I and many Outer Bankers call him, was born in 1918 and he is a WWII Veteran of the U. S. Coast Guard. His devoted daughter, whom I graduated high school with, is Mary Wescott and she is and has always been his number one fan. And much like the whole family for that matter, she’s extremely proud of her “Daddy” and his service to our country.
Before this writing last week, we talked on the phone about her daddy’s approaching “big day.” Can you imagine reaching a milestone in life that most of us may never see? Through her and others’ efforts, a search has been underway to determine if he is the longest living WWII veteran in Dare County. However, the names and personal info about veterans is confidential so while we aren’t absolutely positive at this point, we are not aware of another Dare County WWII veteran at or beyond the age of 104. If you know of anyone, please contact me so that I can also acknowledge him/her as well!
It was since the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council was established and created the Dare County Veteran Discount Card that Mary and I re-connected, and it has been my pleasure and joy to have talked with her often over these last years. She had initially contacted me to inquire about obtaining the card for her daddy, which did come to pass shortly after. Then later, I talked with Mr. Charles about riding on the council float in the parades to honor our veterans and their families. My request of him as secretary of the council tickled me because I love all our veterans and at that point in time, he was not too far from his 100th birthday – isn’t that something?
And while Mary is not an attention seeker and she expects no pats on the back, she sure deserves a salute herself. Why? Because she loves her daddy with all her heart, because she takes excellent care of him and sees that all his needs are met or exceeded. Having been his primary caregiver for years, she has assisted him with anything he has needed help with.
The first time I met and talked with Mr. Charles, I found him to be as sharp as a tack, sweet natured and proud of the opportunity he had to serve our nation. He had enlisted before WWII even began and served from 1940 – 1946. During that period, he had also met and had fallen in love with his “war bride” – Miss Aileen, a Texas native – and they married in Galveston, Texas in 1944. Sadly, Mr. Charles’ beloved wife passed away after nearly 65 years together, but Mary is great company to her daddy and she does her best to keep his spirits up, converse with the V.A. on his behalf and makes sure his medical care is at the forefront – and it shows.
Mr. Charles was an engineer in the Coast Guard and typically down below, dropping depth chargers on German submarines, however, at times when some of the crew became seasick, he was asked to take their place and was called up.
His memories are full. Images, sights and sounds of things he and his shipmates witnessed on a sub chaser, unfortunately, like so many war veterans, much was horrific and not easy to forget. He was there through it all from the beginning right through to the end of WWII, but no matter what, Mr. Charles always carried out his duties to the very best of his ability.
One of his memories while on his ship was an especially good one. It was when they could barely see anything at all until he noticed a blinking light in the distance and realized with its blink rotation it was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and what a sight to see! That was one of his happy memories in addition to having a wife he adored, children and grandchildren and family he loved so much and countless friends.
At the time of his 100th birthday, I was privileged to be invited to attend the beautiful luncheon and festivity about his life, his love of family and friends, his faithful military service and his complete love of the Lord. It was a beautiful day that day and virtually everybody I saw or talked to had smiles from ear to ear. The young folks, seniors and everyone in between expressed their love for Mr. Charles and his great contribution to the lives of those around him – in his home with family, during his tenure with the Coast Guard and in his beloved Wanchese community and beyond.
What an honor having been there, what a blessing to see his joy in the hugs and kisses on the cheek from everyone around him. He’s a sweetheart and I was very proud of his daughter; every father and veteran especially should know the love and support that Mary has shown to Mr. Charles.
Parades are not always as easy to participate in as we get a little older and of course that darned COVID-19 curtailed parades for a couple of years, but weather and mobility sometimes interrupts things we like to do too. I will never forget how much this handsome and spiffy precious Wanchese gentleman and patriotic veteran has touched my heart.
If you would like to wish him a very Happy 104th Birthday and/or thank him for his service and his love of country, you are welcome to send him a card or write him a note and mail it to: Mr. Charles L. Wescott, P.O. Box 311, Wanchese, N.C. 27981. There’s no doubt it would mean a lot to him!
Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy. Veterans are our heroes and I thank you veterans, active duty and reserves who have protected us throughout our lives! I thank the good Lord for you and your families every day and I pray for blessings for you all. If you wish to call me or chat, my cell is 252-202-2058 and my email is email@example.com. To talk with our veteran service officer, please contact Patty O’Sullivan, on her work cell: 252-473-7749, her office line: 252-475-5604 or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care, love like you mean it every day! God bless you all – stay tuned!