Gig Line: As Gomer used to say: ‘Shazam!’

Published 8:50 am Monday, November 7, 2022

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Good and happy things happen in life when we least expect it, a recent incident being a prime example.

If you read the recent Gig Line “Mama’s Daffodils Amongst the Ashes,” guess what? I typically email my stories for the weekly Sunday edition of The Coastland Times a couple of days before it is out on the newsstands (Saturday) or in your mailbox. So, nobody but the good Lord and I knew that story’s subject matter at the time. But that Friday morning, I missed two cell phone calls, being in the middle of something else.

I had written my column, sent it in to be published then received two cell phone calls from a number I didn’t recognize that I intended to call back, then another call came from a number I had seen or used before. Then, I got another call and when I answered it, it was a friend of mine Julie Tolson with a surprise!

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Being so active in veteran support and outreach, I thought it might be a vet trying to reach me, so I answered it and it was my very dear friend Julie Tolson who called to tell me her brother Stan Newman was trying to reach me. As it turned out, he had found something important that he was trying to tell me about and he wanted to give it to me.

You’ll never guess what it was – my Daddy’s dog tags! WHAT? Are you serious? What in the world? Where did he find them? Remember, the Gig Line I had just written (once it was published two days later that was not yet in print or online) was about the tragic loss of our home in Manteo due to a fire in 1988. The salvaged remains were few as we had lost nearly everything in it.

Well, because I would not be able to see her brother that day as he was as “busy as a bee in a bucket,” he kindly made arrangements to meet Julie with Daddy’s dog tags so I could retrieve them from her. I was so tickled! I couldn’t wait!

My BFF Bibber and I drove to Wanchese for an errand and on the way, we saw and talked to Stan’s sweet wife Missy, who was also busy with a big project. She knew, of course, he was trying to get them to me when I missed his calls earlier that morning. Shortly after, l came to realize he had delivered them to his sister Julie so I could retrieve them from her, so we decided to meet in Manteo at Island Pharmacy when she came to also run some errands 30 minutes later.

Well, sure enough she was there and meeting driver’s side to driver’s side, she reached out of her window to pass me the precious goods. It was indeed Daddy’s U.S. Coast Guard dog tags. Oh, my goodness! Can you imagine? They weren’t shiny of course, the chain was dull and very worn, but all intact! No part of it was shiny or glistening in the sun but when I tell you they were as beautiful as diamonds, I mean it! I clasped them in my hands tightly and kissed them.

Daddy was a 22-year retiree of the U.S. Coast Guard and he was the first hero I had known in my life. To receive something that he wore around his neck for 22 years meant more to me than I can explain. I so appreciate Stan (he be da’ man!). Thank you, thank you and thank you Stan Newman!

Daddy’s dog tags were a true keepsake – a treasure – and I’m more than grateful to Stan, Missy and Julie for taking the time and effort to get them into my hands. You three are like little angels to me and I will always be grateful for that unexpected and priceless gift. I love you guys!

For those of you who have not yet but would like to donate your old, broken, cracked, damaged cell phones or tablets, please do so for our campaign. The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council adopted this project to enable the non-profit company in Georgia which collects, restores, repairs and/or distributes damaged cell phones and restores them or uses their parts to benefit our soldiers and veterans. The clearly marked collection boxes are located at the following sites: Thomas A. Baum Senior Center, KDH; Dare County Parks & Rec Center, KDH; Fessenden Center, Buxton; Virginia S. Tillett Community Center, Manteo and we just put a box back at the Dare County Administration Building in the Dare County Justice Center complex, Manteo (the middle building where you go to vote). Yippee! So, being that voting takes place Tuesday, November 8 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., perhaps you could bring your old phones to donate at that time (or during early voting sooner than that). The box will be in the lobby easily accessible to you. In advance, thank you all! It’s a good thing to do for our military servicemembers. And by the way, we have already packaged and sent over one hundred phone/tablets to their destination in Georgia. Thank you everybody! You are welcome to check out their website at

For those of you who had an opportunity to visit our Dare County Veterans Advisory Council booth during the recent Outer Banks Seafood Festival, we thank you! I couldn’t attend, but the fine council members and Dare County veterans’ service officer (V.S.O.) Patty O’Sullivan, her husband Tony Imperiale (veteran); Rick Probst (former council chairman and veteran); Ellen Aidoock (former council vice chairman and veteran) and her husband Cliff (veteran). These folks are super stars in my book! They set up and attended the booth, greeted veterans and their families and others who stopped by. What an awesome group of good people and heroes! Thank you, folks, for your dedication to the council and especially to your brothers and sisters across Dare County and beyond.

Okeydokey, until next time, y’all be healthy, safe and happy! Love yourselves as much as you love your dearest and just know how much we (all of us) love you, appreciate you and are in your debt forever and always for your loyalty and sacrifice to our country.

For questions about a potential V.A. claim or benefits, please call Patty at her office at 252-475-5604 or on her work cell at 252-473-7749. She’s a good girl and dedicated to all our veterans and their families. If you want to chat with me, my cell is 252-202-2058 or email me at Also, check out, where you’ll find a bunch of previous stories and where you can link up to more. Take care, all you wonderful people, God bless you and stay tuned!