Wednesday, August 03, 2005

American Heroes Wear Different Uniforms

In this case, it is not only different uniforms [costumes], but different vocations. This is the story of a hero known to wrestling fans as Mick Foley.

"Foley has visited troops at the hospitals or made other trips for the United Service Organization (USO) in and around Washington 20 times in a 20-month period. Last night, for example, Foley took 11 injured servicemen to the Washington Nationals' game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at RFK Stadium.

"It helps lift everyone's spirits when someone like Mick comes to visit," said Dale Bouck, a 31-year-old Army sergeant from Michigan who is recovering from a broken right leg. "For a guy like Mick Foley to come do this 20 times is impressive. Most of the time, we only see people once."

I admire him so much for doing this for these guys. So many times I have tried to convince myself to visit our men at BAMC, the hospital at Ft. Sam Houston here in San Antonio. I have not gone, because I would only blubber, and that's hardly the cheerful demeanor they need to see!

He's managed to work some "little" miracles, if there is such a thing as a "little" miracle;

"Mrs. Rogers recounts the story of Foley's impact on one soldier who was wounded in Iraq and recuperating at Walter Reed.

"He was 21 years old," Mrs. Rogers said. "He had been there for a couple of days, and since he had been there, he wasn't talking to anyone -- the nurses, the doctors or even his parents. As soon as he saw Mick Foley walk into his room, it was the first time his eyes opened the whole way and he started to communicate with us. I will never forget that."

Foley won't forget it, either. "

Mick, you are one of those folks who comes along in our lives, who serve to remind us, "Never judge a book by its cover."

"Foley had another occupation when he wasn't breaking chairs or body-slamming opponents -- best-selling author. He has written six books, including three for children, and has a seventh due to be published soon.

If he is a man of several talents, he also is a man of many personas: He wrestled as Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind, rising to the top of World Wrestling Entertainment by winning three championships and becoming one of the most popular wrestlers in history."

Ask the men how they feel?

"Airman Darrell Miller, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was ecstatic to come away with a photo of himself with his boyhood idol.

"He never gave up when he wrestled," he said. "When I was a little kid, I wanted to be like Mick."

My hat is off to you, Mick Foley.