Gig Line: Thinking of and thanking others

Published 2:03 pm Thursday, October 13, 2022

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As a native of Key West, Florida, and out of respect for all the families who have suffered so much loss, my heart goes out to them and to everyone everywhere.

We Outer Bankers are island folks; we understand and have been through enough storms and weather-related hardships over time that our hearts are broken for all Floridians having been through so much. When Daddy retired U.S. Coast Guard 1959 after 22 years of service, he moved our family back to his home and first love, Manteo/Dare County and island living is all I have known.

We still have family and friends who reside in West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, St. Petersburg and the Keys, so like many of you, our prayers are steady going for their safety and all the residents in Ian’s path. God bless everyone subject to its devastating aftermath. And too, the first responders, be it police officers, E.M.T./paramedics, fire, search and rescue and the weather folks who are out there in it to show us the issues storms create, I pray for their safety and the safety of their families who are at home without them and for their sacrifice.

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At times like this I miss my Billy so much, I always felt so safe when storms came up with potential landfall in or off our coast. Billy was a solid force of protection and care and like in every aspect of life, his absence is felt every day. As in the case of all widows and widowers, our other half is missing and very strongly felt – in my case, Billy was my rock and life just isn’t the same without him.

Speaking on a note of gratitude, before I go further, I want to thank the sweet soul that did something nice for me in the past week. I don’t know who they are because they wished to remain anonymous, however, their act of kindness touched my heart deeply and I hope they are reading this column (especially) to know that I am grateful. I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. You know who you are and you know what you did, and it was a sweet, thoughtful and very kind thing you did for me. God bless you.

And another shout out is due to our local Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950. This awesome group of Veterans have meant so much to so many across Dare County and well beyond that I must give them overdue and much deserved attention.

I recently spoke to Mr. Fred Lamm who with his sweet wife, Mary, moved some time ago from Dare County to the Charlotte area close to their daughter and family. Fred is a very active member of the V.F.W. as is Mary with the V.F.W. Auxiliary and they, like so many who are involved with the V.F.W., have shown their love for all who have served this great nation. Between the email I received from him and my follow up phone call to Fred, it was clear that our Post 10950 is, as usual, eager to see their membership grow and to offer that special comradery to our veterans and their families.

There is so much the V.F.W. does to help our veterans, although not everyone realizes the extent. As Fred explained it, “While some of our activities are in the public eye, such as participation in civic ceremonies, most of our favorite actions are behind the scenes and in direct support of Veterans and their families. For example, for the past four years, we have paid for the cell phone expenses of a disabled Veteran so that he can speak daily to his father and keep his spirits up. With the assistance of our V.F.W. Auxiliary, we provide comfort and support to Veterans at Spring Arbor and Peak Resources. In cooperation with Interfaith Community Outreach (I.C.O.), we provide financial assistance to Veterans facing critical needs for housing, food, and services. V.F.W. Post 10950 covers the cost of transportation for Veterans using Dare Transportation Services (see July 5th post on 10950). To achieve our mission, we contribute to and coordinate with the American Legion, Blue Star Mothers, Mutts With A Mission, Public Safety organizations and numerous State agencies.”

He went on to say, “Our penultimate activity is the Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Contest for high school students that is currently in progress. Each year we award three scholarships from the Billy Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund that we capitalize (see April 14th post on” Fred invited everyone interested in joining the V.F.W., to “go to WWW.OBXVFW.ORG and select the JOIN US tab.”

Also, I wish to interject that if you are currently a V.F.W. member in another area but you have moved to the Outer Banks, you might want to consider transferring your membership to Post 10950. I have seen the steadfast and committed good workings of our local post and I think, like my Billy, you would value the comradery of the outstanding men and women who show their love for their brothers and sisters every day right here at home.

A direct contact and phone number to call is: Jim Norrell, Quarter Master, cell: 252-489-9421. Typically, Post 10950 meets on the first Monday each month at 7 p.m. at the Colington Volunteer Fire Department, 108 Schoolhouse Rd. in Kill Devil Hills (Colington Harbor). Before my Billy passed into Heaven in 2016, he was an active member with the post and I can attest that the members truly surrounded him (and our family) with incredible support before, during and after his passing and I will never, ever be able to thank them enough.

Please, please take it from a widow and V.F.W. Post 10950 Auxiliary member that being in the midst of and having a relationship with this group of genuine people will behoove you. I cannot praise them enough; no words can come close to their dedication to serving our local veterans, their families and beyond. They honestly exemplify what it means to be a “brother” long after the war and their service to our country. Give Jim a call. Attend a meeting and you’ll quickly see what I mean. To know the men and women members of Post 10950 is to love them.

If you wish to contact me or if you know a veteran who could use some help, contact Jim, Patty O’Sullivan (Dare County veteran service officer, 252-473-7749) or myself (call or text 252-202-2058). For previous Gig Line columns, please see I love each and every one of you whether I know you or not; you are all heroes to me and on behalf of my deceased Vietnam veteran husband of 40 years plus, God bless you and everyone you love.

Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy. Love like you’ve never loved before and please be proud of who you are and what you have done for our great nation and consider the extraordinary blessing you are to all who know and love you – most of all love yourself. Stay tuned.