Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Bunky's friends

I read your post about Barry being in Chicago for Memorial Day instead of at Arlington Cemetery, the Wall or the WWII Memorial or the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA for that matter, where, by the way, they are preparing to erect a bust or picture of Stalin so "people would know what he looked like." I'd rant about that for a little while, but I digress so back to Chicago.
And I promise to neatly tie everything together.

On May 21, 22 and 23, 2010, Bunky's family and friends came together to build him a house. Not a house, a home that would accommodate his 389 pound wheel chair. The three day event was called a build brigade. At any given time there were at least 30 construction workers measuring, sawing, hammering, etc. Then there were the rest of us, a good 10 or more, who manned the registration table, grilled, organized the food, etc.
No one complained. About anything.
There were 4 sets of fathers and sons working all three days. I helped with registration so I was fortunate to talk with a few of the folks, including Brigadier General Boozer from the Pentagon.
Another guy I spoke with was named Rick. He was filling out the paper work and asked, "What's this guy's name again?" His crew of two said they didn't know and looked to me for some help. I was surprised that they didn't have enough respect for Bunky to even remember his last name and got ready to chew them out a little, but said instead, "Where are you from?" They replied, "Harrisonburg" (90 minutes away). I told them Bunky's name and they went on. A little later Rick wonders up and starts asking me questions about Bunky, his injuries and the possibility of him walking again. I answer him and then ask him, "If you don't know Bunky, how did you hear about this?" He said the general contractor called and asked if they would help. Nosy person that I am, I then asked, "Are you volunteering?" He said, "Yes."
He left shortly after that and I thought about our conversation. His company donated 3 men, 2 trucks and that extremely big crane to help build Bunky's house. I am still in awe because here is a company who volunteered the men and equipment to help and they don't know who they are helping. They did it because it needed to be done. And if you had seen the size of that crane that was DRIVEN to the site and think about the amount of money that it would have taken if they hadn't volunteered, well, how can you not be impressed?
And during the opening ceremonies, the crane operator flew the largest American flag I've ever seen over the build site...so high that it cleared the tree tops as it rotated. Awesome. Simply awesome.
A guy from New Jersey loped to the table and announced he was installing the elevator. But get this. The elevator won't be installed until July. He drove 4 hours so he could help build. His company is very small and a family affair, but they raised $10,000 to go towards the elevator installation.
Three mothers from Fredericksburg, 90 minutes away, came to help because they each had at least one son serving.
On Sunday, two brothers, one from Culpeper (1 hour away), the other from Goochland (at least 2 hours away) came to help.
It was easily the best 3 days I've had in a very long time. Another teacher and I volunteered. I even took Friday off. We worked with Bunky's mother before she retired from teaching to take care of him. We were the only two teachers to show our support. How sad is that?

What's this got to do with Chicago? Well, this. The guy from HFOT told us that they had a build brigade for a disabled vet in Chicago. The companies and volunteers did not fulfill their promises and only 6 people showed up. Six. Out of millions of people in Chicago only six showed up. In my opinion, those 6 are the only ones worth a damn. And Barry was not one of the six.
And that, my friend, is my point.

-From my friend Karen