Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

May 28, 2009

A PASSING

Filed under: Essay,Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 4:52 pm
Over my long career as a military chaplain, I have run across many “line” officers. In military parlance, this means front line leaders who are expected to be there in the battle, in the line, if you will. The absolute best leader that I’ve ever known is retired Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Rush. This may sound a little disingenuous when you think of generals and colonels that I could have known. No, not really. I think that real leadership, ends or is maxed out at the Lieutenant Colonel level if not before. However, this isn’t really what I’m talking about either. Wayne is simply the best military leader that I’ve known at any level. I served with him with we were both instructors at the Army Air Defense School in Fort Bliss, Texas and we were students together at the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth Kansas. Although I have not observed him in combat, where he served as a “line” officer and also in what I consider probably the most difficult job in Vietnam, that of adviser to Vietnamese troops or officially the ARVN. In fact, I went to a wonderful memorial service on Saturday and couldn’t help but compare. My good friend from Alaska, his sister just died from pancreatic cancer. She was incredibly brave and literally made a decision not to undergo treatment as it would take away from her what time she had left for enjoying family and friends. Earlier, like, not even a year, my friend’s Mom died. She was like 92 and this amazingly remarkable teacher whose life had been filled with raising three children by herself after her husband died unexpectedly and at an early age. The service was just amazing, in terms of the testimony to the Mom and Daughter.
Both had been teachers and their impact upon people, who were at the service was remarkable. I was moved. Melva, the daughter, Wayne’s sister had transitioned from teaching to being a principal. Not as part of the Memorial service, but was mentioned, a Middle School Library had been named as the Melva Rush Literacy Center.
In light of Rose’s anticipated service, I have thought lots about this. I am so hoping that Rose’s service will be one of celebration. My friend’s was but in a kind of different way. I can’t quite get my thoughts together on what I mean or how. I do know this, every single person at Rose’s service will have a Rose story. I’ve yet to meet any of them who didn’t.
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