Raskys Salute To An All American Family
They Still Do Exist

By Chance
We Answered An Ad For Used Fencing And Fence Posts In Our Local Area

We Drove Out To The Home Of The Family That Would Impact Us More Than We Ever Thought
Rick, Being A Vietnam Veteran, Always Wears His Vietnam Veteran Ballcap
Something That He Couldn't Force Himself To Do For Many Years Because Of Ridicule

The Father, Whose Name Was Also Rick, Was Hard Working And Kind
Though It Was The End Of A Sunny Day, It Was Still Winter
The Ground Frozen And Snow Still Caked Deep Against The Fence Rails

We Were So Impressed By This Family, Words Are Hard To Express The Level Of Respect
Hard Work And Togetherness That We Saw
It Was Winter And Difficult To Get Some Of The Fence Posts Out Of The Frozen Ground
Yet This Family Worked Together To Meet The Same Goal

Their Youngest Son Joey, Was Working So Hard That We Gave Him 20 Dollars
To Our Amazement, He Refused The 20 Dollars
I Put It In His Coat Pocket Anyway
After I Left The Area He Gave It Back To Rick
He Said To Rick
"You Have Already Paid Me"
Rick Asked Him, How Have I Paid You?
Joey Replied, " You Have Paid Me Through Your Service To Our Country"
Then He Thanked Him For That Service
This Reduced My 6'4" Man To A Puddle Of Emotion
He Was Shocked, And Amazed By What This Young Man Said To Him
He Doesn't Get Thanked Often, Especially From One So Young Or So Sincere

Their Daughter Leanna Came Home Next And Began Helping Us
She Noticed Too Rick's Hat And She Thanked Him For His Service
She Told Us About Their Strong Military Influence From Their Mother's Family
She Was So Proud To Tell Us About Her Grandfather And Uncle Both Deceased And Their Service
She Also Told Us Of The Hard Work Her Mother Did In Appreciation For Our Men And Women In The Military
Leanna Then Recited A Poem Their Mother Had Written
It Was So Moving And Befitting To All Who Have Served This Great Nation
We Met Their Oldest Son Adam When He Came Home
Big Tall Hard Working Young Man
He Too Worked Hard To Get The Fencing Down And Loaded Into Our Truck
We Met Their Dogs, As Leanna And I Were Talking About Their Animals
We Have A Small Female Dog We Wanted To Breed
She Showed Me Their Little Dog Peanut Who Would Be Perfect For Her
This Is One Incredible Family
Not One Of Them Complained Or Had A Bad Attitude
They Were Truly Amazing
It Was Well Past Dark When We Finished
This Experience Moved Us
Their Actions Will Stay With Us Always

About A Month Later We Arranged To Take Her Over And Breed Her
During That Visit We Met Sharon, The Mother
She Was Just As Gracious As The Rest Of Her Family
She Gave Us Permission To Put Her Poem On A Web Page
Their Son Adam And His Friends Had Formed Their Own Band
They Invited Us To Listen To Their Music
What We Heard Surprised Us Both
Not Only Were They Good, They Were Very Good
They Were Practicing For The Owen Valley Battle Of The Bands 2009
We Decided To Make a Web Page Dedicated To Them
Sharon Also Shared In A Speech She Gave Honoring The Men And Women Of The Military
She Gave Us A Copy Of The Speech To Read Later And Permission To Use It
Rick Was Moved To Tears When He Read It
He Is Not A Man That Cries Very Often

That Day In The Field We Impacted Their Family Too
We Didn't Just Meet A Family That Day
We Met And Made New Friends

We Went To Meet Strangers

We Met An All American Family

Speech By Sharon Masters

Good Evening Heroes, Ladies and Gentlemen

I Would Like To Say Thank You Heroes For Serving Our Country And Welcome You Home

My Name Is Sharon Masters
I Am Truly Honored To Be Here In Your Presence At The Request Of Mrs. Coons
I Would Like To Tell You A Little Bit About Myself And Why I Am Here

I Come From A Very Long Line Of Military In My Family Who Served In All The Services
I Hold The Military Very Dear To My Heart And With Great Pride
There Are 2 However I Hold Most Dearly
United States Army SP-4 Specialist Bernard Hart-My Dad
And United States Marine Private First Class Sean Hart, My Brother, Whom Are Both Deceased

I've Instilled In My 3 Kids, Adam, Leanna And Joey The Importance Of Honoring Our Military
At Times, Whenever I See Anyone Of The Military, I Personally Thank Them
Five Years Ago, When I Moved Here To Greencastle My Daughter Entered A Pageant
They Had To Recite Something About America
I Wrote A Poem Called "I Am An American Kid"
Several Years Later I Took A Picture And Added It To The Poem
I Would Like To Read That Poem Now

I Am An American Kid

For Those Who Fought For My Freedom
On This Ground For Which I Stand
I Am An American Kid
Yes, I Am! Yes, I Am!

I Am Free To Live My Dreams For Me
To Be The Kid I Want To Be

It Is Because Of Men And Women Who Did What Was Right
So Kids Like Me Can Have Sweet Dreams At Night

As I Thank The One Above
For My Country To Which I Love

May God Bless You And
I Thank You For The Ground On Which I Stand
For I Am An American Kid
Yes, I Am! Yes, I Am!

Sharon Masters
Used With Permission

Whenever I Thank People Of The Military, I Recite My Poem Or Show It To Them
I Was Surprised By The Response I Got From Smiles To Tears,
Handshakes And Hugs Then The Request Of Me To Write It Down
On Anything We Had Available Including Napkins And Receipts
Since Then I Have Written The Poem Down Hundreds Of Times
And Have Had The Poem And Picture Take First Place In Our County Fair
And Also Have Had Former President Bill Clinton Comment On It And Sign It

Well, I work At Sears And I Am Also An Instructional Assistant At Greencastle Middle School
For Special Needs Students In Grades 6th To 8th
On Behalf Of Sears, The Owner Mike Hausman And I Came Up With The Idea
Of Having All The Schools In Putnam County Write Thank You Letters
To Our Military Men And Women Abroad
Letting Them Know How Much We Appreciate All That They Have Done For Us
We Collected 2,367 Letters From Kindergarteners To High School Students
The Ones That Couldn't Write Drew Pictures

I Must Say Never In My Life Have I Ever Been So Touched
And Brought To Tears As I Have Reading Each And Every One Of These Letters

I Want You To Know That In Today's Society We May Not Think Kids Care Or Respect The Military
In The Letters I Have Read, That Is Totally Untrue
These Kids Are Concerned For Your Welfare
They Pray For You, Call You Hero And Super Heroes
They Are Concerned About You And Your Families
They Even Enclosed A Penny For Good Luck
So Many Of Them Want To Know More About What You Do And Want To Be Pen Pals With You
Most Of All Though They Thank You, Love You And Consider You The Bravest Of Them All
As hard as these kids tried to thank you in their own ways, many found words not to be enough
So, On Behalf Of Them
I Would Like To Thank You For All You Have Done And The Sacrifices You Have Made

I Want To Tell You 2 Stories

An 11 Year Old 5th Grade Boy Was Helping A Veteran
Take Down Some Farm Fence That The Veteran Was Wanting To Have
When They Got Done The Veteran Insisted The Boy Take $20.00 For His Hard Work
The Boy Replied No Thank-You
The Veteran Insisted Again The Boy Take The $20 As He Had Worked Very Hard
The boys reply was "No Sir, you've already paid me"
The Veteran Looked Puzzled And Questioned, What Do You Mean?
The Boy Said "You Already Paid Me By Serving Your Country"
That 11 Year Old Boy Was My Son Joey

A 5 Year Old Boy Is Riding The Bus To His Day Care For The First Time Where His Mom Works
He Is All Excited About The ExperienceAnd Is Sitting Close To The Window
To Leave A Seat For The Junior/Senior High Student To Sit Next To Him
The High School Students Get On The Bus But No One Sits Next To Him
The Disappointed Boy Turns To A Senior Named Will Bartlett Sitting Behind Him
Who He Never Saw Before And Asks Why No One Would Sit With Him
Will Explains Sometimes High School Kids Can Be Like That But I Will Sit With You
So He Did Each And Every Day That Year
They Shared Stories And Snacks On Their Way To Area 30
The 2 Became Very Good Friends

Will Ended Up The End Of That Senior Year Joining The National Guard
And Was Sent Over To Iraq Where He Was In Charge Of Finding And Dismantling Roadside Bombs
To The Boys Sadness And Tears He Prayed For Will's Safe Return Each And Every Night
And Kept In Contact With Him
Will Returned From His Duty In Iraq And Had Easter Dinner At The Boy's House
They Were So Honored And Thankful For His Safe Return
It Was The Best Easter Anyone Could Ask For
The Family Spent All Day Listening And Questioning As Will Spoke Of His Experience To The Kids In The Family
This was 5 years ago and they still keep in contact to this day
Will Is Now A Marine And Returning To Iraq In May For His 2nd Tour Of Duty
The Boy Is So Proud Of Will's Service To Our Country

I Tell You This Story As The Boy Again Is My Son
But It Made Me Think Of The Day When Joey Was Alone On The Bus
And Was Sad And Thought No One Cared As He Sat There All Alone Until He Met Will
Will Brightened Joey's Days And Joey Brightened His Days, Even The Days Will Spent In Iraq

I Don't Want Any Military Person To Feel No One Cares
I Want Them To Have Bright Days Too Just Like Will And Joey
Even When 1,000's Of Miles They Are Apart
The Kids That Have Written These Letters Want That Too For All Of You
They Want To Brighten Your Days And Show They Care And You Are Never Alone

I Hope That These Letters And Poem Will Let You Know That Even Though We May Be Strangers
We Do Care
And That You Play A Huge Part In A Kid's Life Whether You Realize It Or Not
The Kid's Do Appreciate All That You Do, Even If The Words Are Not Spoken

In Closing, Spoken From The Heart Of Putnam County Students

You Are My Hero
I Pray For You
And No Words Can Ever Express Thank You Enough For All You Have Done And Sacrificed
May God Bless You
I Love You And Love The United States Of America
For If It Wasn't For You I Would Not Be Free To Be The Kid I Want To Be
Thank You For The Hero You Are To Me
On Behalf Of Putnam County Students, Sears, Mike Hausman And Myself
I Present To The National Guard Armory Of Greencastle
These Binders With Copies Of All The Letters
Pictures, Words And Poem As A Thank You To All You Have Done For Us

As These Truly Come Spoken From The Heart

Thank You And God Bless You

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