Chance Encounter – Mission Moment

By Tom Peno, Fund Development Officer, American Red Cross Gold Country Region

Sometimes, it’s the chance encounters that create the most memorable moments….

So here is my poinsettia delivery moment from this past week.  While I was delivering the pointto a Dr’s office at Sutter Roseville, I noticed an elderly couple prepping to get in their minivan.  I estimated late-seventies or early eighties.  She was securing his wheelchair on the back of the car and he was moving toward the front of the car.  I noticed his Vietnam Veteran hat on his head and thought, “I bet they would like a poinsettia!”  I told them I was with the Red Cross and wanted to give them one of my extra poinsettia’s and to thank her husband for serving our country.  She was delighted to receive her plant and went to shake his hand.  At that point he began playing with something in the back seat.  He handed me a piece of paper with a poem he wrote titled “My Christmas Wish for You.”  (I will have copies for everyone next week).

I thanked him for serving our country and he then produced a very large three ring binder from the back seat of the car, which was probably as old as I was and pointed to the picture on the front and said “that’s my picture!”  The picture was somewhat faded and of a young solider in OD green BDU’s in what appeared to be a forward operating base.  He proceeded to flip through the book and explain to me that he was in “the smell zone.”  Picture after picture of men in various situations, places and conditions flashed before my eyes.  Magazine covers, black-n-white and color pictures, faded and tattered…they just kept coming.  I asked if these were all his and he said “yes, I was a photojournalist during the war” and at that point it occurred to me that these were “his pictures.”

His name, SSgt Lyle V. Boggess Jr.  He serve in Vietnam  and I was honored to have met him. 

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Gold Country Crosswords

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region serves the Sierra-Delta Chapter as well as the Northeastern California Chapter, a total of 24 Counties from Stanislaus to Siskiyou. We are happy to serve the 4.4 million residents in the state.

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