ST. MARYS — Many thoughts have been parked in the mind of Joshua Chisholm since his 20-year-old son, Dane, was deployed this month to the Middle East with 3,500 other paratroopers of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
The emergency deployment happened quickly. The paratroopers were told to leave behind their cellphones, laptops, tablets and other personal electronic devices to ensure security. Then off they went. Just like that.
Dane was gone.
Joshua will never forget the tightening he had in his chest that day, a combination of pride and concern. All he could think about was the little boy who played in their back yard — the one who was always covered in dirt, scratched up, bruised and hungry for his mom’s cooking. That child was now a man on the other side of the world, trying to keep America safe.
It’s an emotion shared by many parents who have sons or daughters in military.
“Dane has always been a soldier. From the time he was mobile enough to throw himself to the ground and spring up swinging a stick as a sword, he has been battling bad guys,” Joshua said.
“I started teaching him basic marksmanship when he was old enough to hold up a BB gun. He was a good shot, not just for a kid, for anyone. He would sink soda cans that floated in the Miami and Erie canal during long walks on the towpath. All of the practice paid off when he earned the company “Top Shot” award at basic training graduation.”
Dane grew up with an appreciation for those in the military. He was in kindergarten when his uncle, Justin Chisholm, left Auglaize County 15 years ago for a trip to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne.
“He may not have understood the why and the how, but he knew his uncle was somewhere far away fighting bad guys,” Joshua said. “He knew that America was at war. He saw his uncle’s service and I believe probably knew then that he would like to do that. We don’t often think about the perspective of kids who grew up in the 9/11 era, but they have never totally known peacetime. Regardless of political and personal views, some just feel a calling to serve. My brother and my son are two of those guys.”
Dane graduated from St Marys Memorial High School in May of 2016 and was in boot camp a few days later.
“Dane always played rough and tumble. He was good at football and wrestling, not because he was a talented athlete, but because he was old-fashioned tough,” Joshua said. “He wasn’t the best student growing up, super smart, but bored in the classroom. He could definitely be ornery and wild at heart, but so often these are the guys who make excellent soldiers. They possess a certain daring and boldness that just isn’t common. Those traits that are not often appreciated in a classroom setting, are golden on the field of battle.”
Joshua admits he’s been a distant spectator of both his brother and son’s experiences.
“It’s hard to know what it must really be like for them. Of course there is always worry and fear, and sometimes regret. ‘Did I say the wrong thing or argue about something that could have been forgotten?’ But, if you have a loved one serving in a foreign war, you have to be strong and hold on to the knowledge that they volunteered their service and whatever happens, they walked the walk.”
Which brings up a pet-peeve — the social media “know-it-alls.”
“In an era of keyboard cowboys, complaining and commenting from the comfort of an easy chair, there are still men who will do what’s needed to protect this country. My brother and my son are two of those men.”
He hopes that people will remember those serving in the military are like anyone else. “They appreciate the ‘thank you for your service’ praise, but I suspect that they would like some patience while they re-adjust to civilian life, employers to hire them when they return, and leaders who will wield them with the utmost careful consideration.”
As the tensions between America and Iran continue to unfold, Joshua had one last message.
“To all service men and women from the past and into the future, like my brother and my son, we’re proud of you, and we thank you.”
ROSES AND THORNS: A man with boxes full of stickers takes a walk through the rose garden.
Rose: To Paul D. Hochstetler of Lima, whose idea was featured Thursday in the nationally syndicated comic strip “Pluggers.” Hochstetler said a Plugger recieves enough personalized address stickers from organizations to last several lifetimes.
Thorn: Friction in the Van Wert County treasurer’s office saw treasurer Nathan Vandenbroek and auditor Philip Baxter not speaking with each other, taxes not being collected and overdue bills not being paid. Vandenbroek ended up resigning last week and Baxter faces charges for breaking into the office.
Thorn: Area residents were giving, but they didn’t donate enough, as the Salvation Army fell $9,000 short of its $125,000 goal.
Thorn:Voluntary layoffs are being initiated at Crown Equipment.
PARTING SHOT: A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.