I’m Greg McIntyre and this is the elder law report. Our topic today is things we forgot. What’s ironic about today’s show is we forgot all our show notes so what we’ll do first is go to Hayden for an interesting story.
HS: My granddaughter is going to her first prom and I was up until midnight last night sewing on little pink, silver and turquoise beads.
She was very smart, she did a lot of study and found one of the gowns from a friend of hers who is older, and she found another one online, a gorgeous dress for a great price, and it made me wonder what the average prom dress costs? Well, I could not find the exact figure, but I found the average cost of the prom is from $175 to $2100, the average being $1139 which includes a limo and dinner out. It was simpler at my prom. My two best friends and I went to the prom in a bread truck, so we could stand up and not wrinkle our dresses. The after parties were at people’s houses with parents supervising and I know it sounds nerdy but at one of the parties we played board games, and we had a ball. I do Christmas at my house, and I build it up and up and suddenly in an hour and thirty minutes the meal is gone, the presents are open and everyone has left, and I think the prom happens the same way, build up, build up, build up and boom it’s gone. They have such great expectations.
GM: It does go quickly, you have to live in the moment. So, moving on, the things we forgot, I have forgotten a ton of things in my life, usually when I’m giving a big speech or another big event like that when I’ve forgotten something I really needed. The whole point of the forgetting is, I have met with families or couples who want to protect their house or farmland that has been in the family for two hundred years but the dad is now incompetent, or he had an accident and can’t sign and they haven’t done a general durable power of attorney to allow the kids to protect it.
I know of one instance where a husband wanted to sign a protective deed while his wife was deemed incompetent, and I’m stuck, I can’t do anything, I can’t help.
HS: We’re talking about a whole new area of forgot when we’re talking of things like this. These are life changing, life affecting, not just the little things.
GM: That house, that money, those things that could be protected and passed to the grandkids, I forgot to do it, and I know you hate this but I’m going to say it anyway, it’s basically saying, I forgot to send my grandkids to college. It can change the whole trajectory of a family if you protect those assets and use them wisely. My plea is, call me and I will figure out how you can hold on to your assets so you can pass them on.
HS: We get so many calls from people who say, I’ve been meaning to call you and do this but they leave it a bit longer and sometimes it can get too late.
GM: You don’t want to get into guardianship situations where you have no choice.
HS: You are at the mercy of the court in a guardianship situation.
GM: That’s right, anytime you want to spend some money for a family member you have to ask the court if you can do it. There are much easier ways to operate those things and it is less of a headache for the court system. How many tax payer dollars are jammed up in the court system all the time? Then there is your time and your families time. These things can be avoided by simply putting certain documents in place.
If you have questions about that, call us, let us take care of the things you have so you don’t forget, then you can forget about it. It’s a good feeling when you’ve taken care of things, then you have peace of mind.
HS: In the office right now we are having our awards because we actually have clients who come in and just want to shake our hands.
GM: Yes, we have awards day scheduled for our office. We have the ‘best unsolicited handshake’ award, and the ‘the above and beyond’ award which is where you go out of your way to go to a client’s house to get a signature or whatever so we can please our clients and create raving fans.
HS: Things like that are not unusual.
GM: I listened to a speech by a guy named Andy Frisella who is huge on customer satisfaction and performance and going above and beyond. That’s where I got the idea for the awards in our firm. He made large revenues with his company before he spent one dollar on marketing. The way you do it is to go above and beyond to please your clients. That’s what we do. That is something no company should forget.
Let me ask you this, what is the one thing you can do to protect your assets?
HS: A ladybird deed.
GM: Okay, that’s a good one, a ladybird deed would ensure your house was protected no matter if Medicaid had to come in and provide for your care. You’ve got to make time to plan ahead.
HS: An example of that happened to me this morning, when I was walking along and I tripped and slide. I was cartwheeling, I thought I was going to hit the ground but I recovered. I could have had a head injury and brain damage right there and not be able to make any decisions. Just a fall like that could have put me in a nursing home. Something as simple as that could happen to anyone, not just seniors.
GM: For the Shelby/Charlotte region call us at 704-343-6933 and for the Hendersonville/Asheville area call us at 828-398-0181.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
I’m Greg McIntyre and this is lunch with a veteran. Today’s guest is Dr Frank Sincox who is a physician and a Flight Surgeon for years in the US Navy.
He already has a warm spot in my heart because he was in the Navy and spent time on aircraft carriers. I like to say there is no better uniform out there than dress blues.
FS: I like dress whites.
GM: You like the dress whites better?
GM: You were on the CVS15 USS Randolph, that was a big carrier. I was on the Nimitz and the Constellation. I want to say the Constellation was CVN64 and I think the Nimitz was CVN68. The difference was the Constellation was a diesel and the Nimitz was a nuclear carrier. The Randolph I’ll bet was a conventional diesel.
FS: It is. It’s basically Essex class left over from world war two.
GM: On the picture of the Randolph you can see more advanced aircraft.
FS: They had hydraulic catapults and they can’t handle the weight of new aircraft. They require steam catapults. There’s more energy in steam.
GM: Now there is a new catapult system?
FS: Yes, there is electromagnetic.
GM: Like a rail gun kind of thing in the new, is it the Reagan class?
FS: I’m not sure.
GM: I think they are going to shift to those. I remember sleeping in a ninety man berthing on the Constellation and the Nimitz right below the flight deck essentially. In that front area of the carrier on the hangar deck level up in the front they had the steam catapults going off and you just learned to sleep through it.
FS: My sleeping area or berthing compartment had the same thing, it was on the 02 level and all night long you could hear that catapult, CABOOM, and the whole ship shakes. Tremendous amount of energy.
GM: I don’t ever remember not sleeping because of it though. I just got used to it.
FS: Yeah, it’s like living in a town close to the railroad tracks, you get used to it.
GM: And it is like living in a town. You’ve got a ship full of five thousand men, or men and women now, it’s like living in a town.
FS: It is.
GM: So, you live in Kings Mountain and practiced your career there?
FS: Since leaving the Navy.
GM: You were born in Michigan and moved around with your parents, and you have gone through experiences with different levels of service. I think this show is a great example of how the military can assist you, although you may have been a physician without being in the military but it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you are doing, the military can assist you as long as you have the drive and the intelligence to do it. You were closely affiliated with the military from a very young age?
FS: I was, my dad was in the Navy, he was in the Navy in world war one. He sure did a couple of different ships, and I think, what the veterans have given this country and the people of this country is not fully appreciated by the young people today. They take it for granted that all these freedoms were somehow descended from heaven and weren’t earned. There are people like me who served and came back and there are people who served and didn’t come back. We talk about the national debt but there is a debt that everyone is this country owes to veterans as a group. Those who served in combat and those who didn’t serve in combat but at any time could have, it’s not like I respect them any less. Anyone who was a store keeper or worked in a warehouse could have been pulled and sent to the front lines at any time, so I don’t think there should be a distinction between combat veterans and non-combat veterans. I think organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and many others as they try and tell people what veterans do for them, they need our support.
GM: I agree, when you sign a contract to enlist or be commissioned into our armed services, you are basically signing your life away saying, do with me what you will and I’m willing to sacrifice my life, and in exchange the military gives me certain benefits. Sometimes this includes healthcare and paying for college.
FS: I think one of the biggest benefits, there are so many young people growing up who maybe don’t have a good role model, or have no goal orientation, they are just sort of drifting around and the military is not for everyone but the biggest benefit is, you learn some self-discipline, goal orientation and you learn the satisfaction of a job performed well.
GM: I think another big thing for me is when you’re a kid going in, we don’t like dealing with things, people don’t, but you learn to, and I learned to operate in their system and accomplish my goals was a big part of it.
FS: Some of the things in the military system such as taking orders, if you don’t like it you get out and get a job, and guess what, you have to take orders there too.
GM: I have my own business and I have a ton of bosses to contend with. First my wife, my employees, judges, clerks, so I have a ton of bosses and systems that I may not always agree with but I need to learn to operate within it to be successful.
FS: And that is one of the advantages of military service is you learn there are some great bosses and great leaders and there are some that aren’t so great. You learn how to get along with them and do your job. Another benefit of being in the service is goal orientation.
GM: And it’s the same in civilian life as well, people conduct their lives with their habits and how they take care of themselves.
FS: Self-discipline is another thing. I had junior ROTC and ROTC.
GM: So, you started off in high school in junior ROTC when the Korean war was going on.
FS: You march and you drill and you say why is this important? You learn how to do something with a group of people. I really didn’t like the marching and drilling until I had done it a while, and then it was like, this is how you work as a unit. Yes, in the military you have to work as a unit but in civilian life you also have to.
GM: You have to work with people. Some people will say, I just couldn’t go into the military and I just chuckle because I wonder how you conduct yourself with your regular job. Can you perform well for your clients, or employees or your boss?
FS: In the Navy, you stood watches and showed up on your watch ten minutes before duty time. If you’re not on time, you’re in trouble. If you don’t like that, go into civilian life and you show up to your job not on time, pretty soon you won’t have a job. There’s not a lot of difference.
GM: After the junior ROTC you were in the US Navy reserves inactive during your first two years of medical school. You said you went to medical school from 1954 to 1956 at Emory University in Atlanta. In 1956 to 1957 the rules changes and you were allowed to join the US Naval Reserve.
FS: One weekend a month and two weeks in summer.
GM: And 1957 to 1958 you were active duty.
FS: You had a chance to go on active duty, get Ensigns pay and that helped with my medical school expenses. It also incurred another one year obligation.
GM: You had to pay back the military?
GM: So the military paid for your medical school?
FS: No. Now they pay for it all but then they didn’t pay for med school, I got a monthly check.
GM: The military paid for my undergrad and when I got out I went through the GI. Bill and I got about a thousand a month which paid for my mortgage and some groceries. It allowed me to complete my education.
FS: The GI. Bill has helped a lot of people. None of what I was on was GI Bill. The military is a great opportunity for our young people, whether you stay in it or not for a two year reserve or a four year active duty, it can help in civilian life. Sometimes you go in and have a job that has a close connection to a civilian job and other times there is no connection. If you were on a carrier and you’re loading bombs, well there’s no civilian job like that. There are hazardous material jobs so it can be useful.
GM: It would be like the AO’s, or red shirts. I would walk past the AO stations on my way to breakfast or wherever, and there were the bombs, right beneath where we slept. I never thought a thing about it then but if one of those had gone up, the whole thing would have.
FS: You wind up having so much trust in your fellow shipmate. You feel safe because this guy took fire training and knows how to put out a fire. It is said that in actual combat, the usual fear is not of getting injured or dying, the average guy in combat, his biggest fear is that he will let his buddy down. There is such a bond in combat and even in practice for combat. There is a pride and a bond that makes you proud that you’ve done that.
GM: You have had a distinguished career. During the cold war you were on the USS Randolph aircraft carrier which was a sub hunting aircraft carrier and you were patrolling the Atlantic and between Cuba and the North Sea ports of Russia.
FS: The Russian subs we were concerned about were the guided missile subs. They had sixteen nuclear weapons, that’s sixteen American cities. Each sub could destroy that. We knew we couldn’t get all of them but one we got would save sixteen cities. The submarines would come out of the North Sea ports and transect the Atlantic to be near our coast and go down to Cuba to refuel. We could destroy them but we sure wanted to keep track of them. We also kept track of the ships going to Cuba. We would take pictures of them. One time we took a picture of one of them and right on the deck was a missile, and then we knew Russia was sending missiles to Cuba and that was when President Kennedy came in.
GM: The Cuban Missile Crisis.
FS: Yes. From your time at sea, that ocean is big. You get on a ship and you figure it’s going twenty knots, that’s twenty two miles an hour, and you go for a day, that’s four hundred miles, two days that’s eight hundred miles and you don’t see another ship, you don’t see anything, just the sea. That’s a big ocean.
GM: They’re a lot faster now. I would think the fastest ship would be a carrier, that’s my guess.
FS: Well, some of those new subs are pretty fast too.
GM: I don’t consider those ships though, they sink. Who would get on a ship that sinks. I’ll have to interview some bubble heads.
FS: For us, subs weren’t ships they were targets but to them we were targets. The submariners that’s what they say, there are two kinds of ships, submarines and targets.
GM: I met some of our submariners at the Military extravaganza recently, they had a booth there.
FS: I saw them too, I talked to them.
GM: They told me they were called bubble heads. I didn’t realize that was the nickname. They affectionately call themselves bubble heads.
We were like the geeks who worked on the electronic circuitry. It was very good experience in trouble shooting problems.
FS: When you trouble shoot a radar set, there are certain steps you go through like a logarithm, I’m sure how you trouble shoot a problem has helped you through school and in your job.
GM: It helped my trouble shooting skills as well as discipline, and I imagine trouble shooting a human being isn’t too far off.
FS: Same thing, you say these are the possibilities and how am I going to separate which is which. Problem solving is the same whether it’s legal or medical.
GM: It’s just simply problem solving, and you can get really creative, even within the discipline of that.
Now, you were a Flight Surgeon in the Navy and you were involved in some of the NASA pick ups, such as John Glenn?
FS: Well, he came back to the carrier but I wasn’t directly involved, I was aboard the ship.
GM: If you were aboard the ship you were involved.
FS: Well, actually what happened is, the NASA physicians came up and they sort of took over our sick bay area, our medical area, and so when John Glenn came aboard I was all excited and wanted to offer my help as a Navy Flight Surgeon, and I said, what can I do, and they said you can get out of here and leave us alone. They chased me away, didn’t want anything to do with me.
GM: The only time I remember going to sick bay on the aircraft carrier was when I was walking through the hangar bay one evening, it had been a long day, we worked twelve hour shifts and there was an F18 Hornet rear wing that I didn’t see and I walked right into it and it split my head right open. I have a scar on my head from it. I had to go get a shave and get stitched up.
FS: Like you said, an aircraft carrier is like a city, and just like in any city there are accidents. If you cut your head, I would be the one who stitches you up.
GM: I might have had some dental work also.
FS: The sick bay aboard ship is just a couple of rooms where you could examine people, there’s an operating room and about twenty beds for sick people, but there is another area of about a hundred beds. We talk about a carrier fighting wars but if there is volcanic activity, or a hurricane, or typhoon in one of the Pacific islands, you send a carrier down there, they can distill and produce enough fresh water for a town of ten thousand people. They can serve ten thousand meals a day to people and provide hospitalization and care for several hundred people. It’s a war machine but it can be used as an instrument of peace too, so when there is a natural disaster just send your carriers there. How many other countries do that?
GM: Not a lot. There’s not many with that type of capability.
FS: Other countries would to but don’t have aircraft carriers.
GM: The US, Britain, Russia, France and now China.
FS: It can be used as an instrument of war and has a tremendous destructive capability but can be used as an instrument of peace too.
GM: And political capabilities. You can park a carrier in Hong Kong Bay and you are there to protect and intimidate.
FS: The one that first came out with that, a great president Teddy Roosevelt came out with what he called the great white fleet. He painted his ships white so they would stand out. He would send them to foreign ports to say, hey, this is the United States Navy, don’t mess with us. Speak softly and carry a big stick. The white fleet was his big stick, and today our carriers are our big stick for war but also for peace.
GM: You guys also picked up Gus Grissom right?
FS: Yes. John Glenn was supposed to land close to the carrier, he actually landed near a destroyer, the USS Noah which picked him up and brought him to us because that was where the media was, Walter Cronkite, and the NASA physicians. Gus Grissom we picked up directly. That was an exciting thing to be a part of.
You know how crowded it is aboard ship but imagine you bring your whole group with you. There’s about five or six thousand men and then you bring in five hundred media and press and NASA and everybody else. Everyone gets sandwiched in like sardines in a can.
GM: They would bring people on ship from time to time, movie stars and such people and the press, and it was crowded. I never felt too crowded when aboard even though we had two or three berthing but I always managed to get top bunk.
FS: Let me tell you another story of peace time. One time I was aboard the carrier in the sickbay and we had to do an inventory of all our surgical instruments. We had a bunch of surgical instruments, but way down in the hold of the ship we had tons more of them and we had to do an inventory.
FS: You had to do it periodically. So I went down there.
GM: Into the bowels of the ship?
GM: That always made me nervous the lower I went.
FS: There was all these surgical instruments ready to be sterilized, there was forceps used to deliver babies in there. We didn’t have women aboard ship then. I said, what in the world is someone thinking putting all these things aboard ship. There were boxes there and I’m thinking they don’t know what they’re doing, why would they do this? Well, a couple of months later we were cruising around and the dictator of the Dominican Republic got shot and they thought there would be a civil war, so we went full speed towards the port. Our job was to evacuate American citizens and I said, you know, some of them might be pregnant women, and so the people who provided those instruments weren’t so dumb after all. I was the dumb one, I didn’t think. I thought it was a fighting ship, I never thought it might have a mission of evacuating civilians from a civil war possibility in a foreign country. Things that look like they don’t make sense may make sense after all.
I’m sure during your career you got an order and you thought that doesn’t make sense, they don’t know what they’re doing, and later you found out that the one who didn’t know was you.
GM: You were called back up for service in the Gulf War as well. Did you go to Iraq?
FS: I was. We went over and were about twenty miles from the Iraq border because we were in Saudi Arabia which was friendly to us. We flew Cobra helicopters over there which were basically tank killers, and Saddam had tanks but someone had got there before us and most of the tanks were smoldering ruins. That was a war that was over almost before it started. We faced the possibility of doing an amphibious invasion on the beaches of Kuwait to push Saddam out. We knew the beaches were mined and from a medical side we were looking at five to ten thousand casualties first day from mines but it never happened, we didn’t have to invade so we didn’t get the casualties but you had to prepare for it. Things like the cold war and the military in peace time, it seems after every war we just tear down our military and then something happens and we are caught unprepared. We need to keep ready, not just stand down.
GM: I agree, we need to be ready. Thank you so much for talking with me and for your years of service to our country.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
I’m Greg McIntyre and this is the elder law report. I’m here with Hayden Solloway and our special guest Jessica Bridges. Jessica is a coordinator at the YMCA, what is your official title?
JB: I am the senior director of healthy living.
GM: So, today we are going to talk about healthy living. Why does it matter?
HS: Almost everything relates to your health. Health relates to your attitude, how you feel, whether you get out and about, how you function, how long you live.
GM: I have read that exercise can slow the aging process. I don’t feel right if I don’t get my workout in. A good workout is the best preventative medicine you will ever take and the cheapest insurance you will ever buy. Combine that with good nutrition and you have a good recipe for life. I like to say, so goes the body goes the mind. I told that to someone the other day and they said, no, so goes the mind goes the body, because it all happens up there. The point is to keep a healthy body and healthy mind.
We are going to talk about how you can do that economically in your community in just a minute but first, Hayden, what are you happy about today?
HS: I like to research things and I found much too much information but I did find an interesting event that is related to our topic. April 18th 1967 was the date a woman first entered the Boston Marathon. She was pushed and shoved by the male competitors in that race, and the caption in the newspaper was, You’ve come a long way baby, talking about her how far she had come by entering the race. Fifty years later on April 18th 2017 she finished the Boston Marathon again. That shows what good exercise and good nutrition can do for you.
JB: I think her commitment to life-long healthy habits is such a testimony to all ages. I believe she entered the marathon under her own initials so she definitely thought it through. She had friends there with her, her boyfriend helped protect her a bit. That’s an interesting story and very inspiring.
HS: Another story I came across was titled, How Robins prove loved ones are still with us after death. It sounds sad but the story was told about a woman called Marie Robinson from Waterlooville, Hampshire who lost her fourteen year old son Jack to cancer in 2014. She visited his grave just a few weeks ago and asked him, show mommy a sign. Moments later a Robin jumped down on her shoe and then flew over to her hand and sat on her index finger. She posted pictures of this. Following the article, stories came in from other people who had instances of Robin’s indicating that a loved one is communicating. There is a lot to think about and it made me so happy to think that this woman finally felt that her son was okay.
GM: Thank you for sharing that. You can check out the video and pictures of the Robin story on our Facebook page. I was thinking when you were talking about the first female runner of the Boston marathon fifty years ago, my grandmother Margie Horne who has been deceased a couple of years now, I never thought of her as this athlete because she was my grandmother, but I pulled out old pictures and there she was playing high school basketball. I never had that connection with her. Grandparents should share with their grandkids all those cool things they did when they were younger.
HS: My grandmother would play tennis with the guys and when I was a baby she would put me on a blanket at the tennis court while she played tennis. There are a lot of instances pre-women’s lib where women did favor with men athletically, it just wasn’t always acceptable.
GM: So, let’s talk about getting and staying fit and healthy. Jessica, what can you tell us about staying healthy as we age?
JB: Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. I work for the Cleveland County family YMCA and the mission of the YMCA is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. That three letter word, all, is very important to us. We focus on helping all people reach their God given potential and seniors are a special part of the YMCA. At the Dover Foundation YMCA in Shelby North Carolina, we employ an active older adult coordinator, and other YMCA’s may have a similar position or volunteers who work specifically with the active older adult, the senior population. What we provide at a basic level is a safe place for social connection, especially for seniors who may live alone. The ‘Y’ is a wonderful place to come and meet with friends, drink coffee, read the paper, catch up on current events, we welcome that. Our lobby area is usually full of seniors sharing stories in life and getting together. That is heartwarming to see. We have potluck lunches and seminars, and group exercise classes are available specifically for active older adults. When I left our facility today there was a large group of seniors in the water. Water is a little easier on the joints for those who suffer from arthritis or disability or balance issues. They were having a fabulous time. Any group class can be modified so we really meet seniors where they are, so any exercise can be modified and the instructor would work with the senior to do that.
GM: What if you have never worked out in your life, you might be intimidated going to a gym or working out as a senior? If I was that person I might just want to show up and hang out, have some coffee and get to know some people first.
HS: One of the things I started but never completed was in the gym. They would take you through a series of machines and get you started and you could track your own progress. Suppose you wanted to partake in activities like that but didn’t know where to start. Do you have an indoctrination program?
JB: Come in to our facility, we have a welcome center where you can ask questions. What we like to do is connect a health seeker with a wellness coach, set up wellness appointments and a tour of the facility to make sure people are comfortable with the facility. There are so many questions at the beginning, so we have on-boarding procedures for new members where we will stay in close connection for ninety days and beyond. We offer a wellness orientation.
HS: What does it cost for someone to do this?
JB: All the orientation is included with the cost of membership and we do offer a senior membership or senior couple price point, but it’s best to check with your local YMCA. Those services would be included with the membership fee, and financial assistance is also available upon application process.
GM: In my experience, it is affordable. For those who are intimidated by the whole workout process, you can just show up and get to know people, they will hold your hand. The longer you can stay healthy and active, there is a direct connection between that and your longevity and having a better quality of life. You have to put time into relationships with friends to maintain those relationships, it’s the same with the body. You’ve done research on this, how does that affect your longevity and health?
HS: I remember they were comparing couples who moved to be nearer to their children and left their homes, their neighborhoods and friends but their children and grandchildren have their own lives. The study showed that those who stayed active with their friends rather than moved to where their children were had longer lives.
JB: We also have evidence based programs. The ‘Y’ has a vested interest in community health so we are reaching out to our community to provide some of the services that historically seniors may have received elsewhere. Enhanced Fitness is a program for those who suffer from arthritis. It is an arthritis management program but it can also help with other chronic disease and strength. Moving for Better Balance is a program that is coming here locally at the end of May. It is a falls prevention program. It’s a tai chi program so that is something we are really excited about.
GM: Tai chi in the movies is always in a park in San Francisco.
JB: It is always so peaceful. So, we have programs specifically designed towards senior adults that have been proven. Any of the evidence based programs just means there is a study behind the program to prove the efficacy. The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is something we have had locally since 2012. This is for those at risk of developing type two diabetes. So, those who have pre-diabetes or have risk factors. Actually, on our risk assessment anyone over the age of sixty five automatically qualifies. And finally, we have Live Strong for those who are going through cancer treatment or who are cancer survivors. Check with your local ‘Y’ to see if they have these programs. Also, we provide support to your caregivers and family members. The ‘Y’ is more than a gym and swim. The evidence programs meet our strategic plan to reach out to those in the community.
HS: One more thing about the affordability, I do know that my insurance was paying for all but fifty dollars of my membership at the YMCA. That’s fifty dollars a year which is affordable to everyone. And there may be scholarship programs that are available.
JB: Absolutely, for senior adults check your insurance provider and we can help you walk through that process as well. Some of the names you may recognize are Silver Sneakers, Silver and Fit, Blue 365, so, many insurance providers will cover membership to the YMCA.
GM: There is a case to be made that by pulling people inside a gym they think that is all they have to do, and it can hamper their growth because when you get outside you feel better, walks through the woods, walks through the park, running, outdoors Tai Chi. I’d like to start my morning with some Tai Chi.
JB: The mindset really should be, this is a lifestyle change. I’m not on a diet, it’s not about that, it’s not about quick fixes, it’s about integrating healthy living principles in to your life.
GM: Thank you for talking with us today.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
I’m Greg McIntyre and today I am talking with Roger Wuest who was a forward observer, field artillery Officer and Vietnam veteran.
So, how did you get involved with the military?
RW: Well, when I went to college at Hardin Simmons University I decided to join the ROTC and went through four years of ROTC but I did not have my degree. Things were getting tough at school and Vietnam was going heavy. I had the equivalent of a degree and the Army said, we’ll give you your commission if you choose three combat arms choices, so I did and went on active duty in 1967.
GM: So, in 1967 you went in and were commissioned as an Army Field Artillery officer?
RW: Yes, I was commissioned at school and then went to Fort Sill for my officer basic. Then I went to Fort Lewis for nine months and I found out I wasn’t bound for Vietnam. I wasn’t married so I volunteered and went to Vietnam. I have an interesting story from there.
GM: Where are you from originally?
RW: Billings, Montana.
GM: Were you commissioned from Billings Montana?
RW: No, from Abilene, Texas from Hardin Simmons University.
GM: So, you went to Vietnam and what was your story?
RW: I went out as a forward observer. I was supposed to be out six months.
GM: Don’t forward observers have a short life span?
RW: Well, yes and no. It depends upon if you get totally run over by the enemy or not. We didn’t but a year before some of them did. I was supposed to be out for six months, well, three months in we came in under this hospital, it wasn’t being used at the time but it could be used again. The infantry Captain wanted to take it out, so I said, sir there’s a problem, he said, what is it? We would have to fire at high angle, and he said, call it in Lieutenant, so I said, yes sir. I called it in. Five minutes later a call comes back and he says, Lieutenant, you want to do what? I would have to call it in. Are you wanting to risk your bars on it? Without a moment’s hesitation I said, yes sir, and he said, I’ll get back to you. He came back about ten minutes later and said, are you still willing to risk your bars on it? I said, yes sir, and we fired it and it worked. Two weeks later I get orders to go back to the battery as the Executive Officer, not as a Fire Direction Officer but as an Executive Officer. The Captain didn’t even know why I’d come back. The Major rewarded me because I was willing to risk my bars for what worked.
GM: Because you were willing to make a decision.
RW: Make a tough decision, so he rewarded me. Some of the other Lieutenants were not happy because they should have come in before me.
GM: They were thinking this guy can make tough decisions for us.
RW: But then we got fired on more back at the battery every day because if they knocked us out they could just walk over. Then the Division Commander decided we were going to have a competition between the batteries because during day time you weren’t doing much. We would do some dry firing but whichever battery won that month, the General and the colonel would come out and share a bottle of wine with them. Well, the first month my gun crew wins, the second month my gun crew wins and these are two different gun crews. The third month my gun crew wins, and they said, somethings wrong here, so, they had a retest and my crew won again. The fourth time they won I went home but I heard they won the fifth competition too and so the competition was finally stopped. It was just about how well your crews worked together.
When I came back I didn’t want to go back to field artillery school because they’d sign me out and I wanted to go to Germany so I extended. That’s where I got married in Germany. I flew my girl over there and we got married. My marriage license is actually in Germany.
GM: It sounds like you were a pretty good manager. Management requires taking responsibility and making tough decisions. I saw something the other day that made a lot of sense to me. The difference between where your business and is now and where it needs to be is ten minutes of guts a day. In those ten minutes, you move the big rocks not the sand. How old were you when you were making those tough decisions in Vietnam?
RW: I was twenty two, twenty three.
GM: You really had people’s lives in your hands.
GM: So, what did you do in civilian life when you came back?
RW: I hoped when I got out I would go back to college and get my degree in biology with a minor in chemistry but I didn’t do that. I went to work for Robert Hall clothes for about two years until they closed. Then I went to work for a small company which was also clothing and from there after about a year and a half I went to Red Arrow Freight lines in San Antonio, Texas and I worked for them for nine and a half years. The first two years I was a counter claims investigator, then I got promoted to assistant manager of claims and customer service. I was still doing the large cargo claims but I was also managing people. For those seven years I wound up managing twelve ladies and two men and the second one was in the work house a mile away, needless to say it was interesting.
GM: Sounds like you were out-numbered? Would you say the things you learned in the military helped you in civilian life?
RW: Definitely, yes. You stick with something, if you take it on you better finish it.
GM: And the military is not for everyone of course. You may not have had a choice of going in the military with Vietnam bearing down.
RW: As long as my grades were okay I was okay in school.
GM: But you choose to volunteer and go?
RW: Yes, I choose to volunteer and go.
GM: Why did you do that?
RW: Like I said, I was paying for my own schooling and it was getting very tough. I was working in the cafeteria and I worked my way up to cooking, and if they said Roger we need you to go cook, I had to go cook.
GM: It was difficult to do both?
RW: Yeah, it was getting that way.
GM: Did the military help pay for your college when you got out?
RW: Yes, they did, they helped me pay for the rest of it.
GM: Aren’t you a VA liaison?
RW: What I do is I volunteer at the clinic in Rutherfordton but I started out volunteering as a driver taking people up to the hospital.
GM: Yes, there’s a van that goes up there.
RW: It goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from the DAV, the county office building across from the court house on Marion Street at 7:00am. We take people up there who don’t have a way to go. They must have an appointment at the hospital to ride the van. I had to stop doing that when I got my pace maker
GM: Well, thank you for your service in the military and for what you give to the community with the VA.
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I’m Greg McIntyre and this is lunch with a veteran. One of the reasons we do this is to document a veteran’s experiences and where they have gone since leaving the military. My special guest today is Jim Quinlan. He is a resident of Cleveland County, a Marine and a member of Post 82 American Legion and has been extremely involved in American Legion baseball.
JQ: Yeah, I literally got out of the Marine Corp, got my degree under the G.I bill and ended up working for the American Legion back in Iowa where we did baseball, boys state, oratorical, all the youth programs. In 1986, I got hired into the national headquarters and ran the American Legion Baseball program. We had fifty five hundred teams nationwide, and did the world series in twenty six cities over that career time, so I got a lot of work into the American Legion.
GM: When did you go into the Marines?
JQ: I went in, in October 1971 and was put into personnel.
GM: I was born in January 1975.
JQ: So I was in and out before you were even born. I was a personnel chief, my job started off as a mail clerk. The mail comes into the troops, you sort it out by the different sections, S1, supply, operations whatever it was. We had to type up a lot of orders, so whenever someone flew, they had to go on flight pay because flying is hazardous, so every month if you have two thousand people you had to put on flight pay, at the end of the month you had to take them off, and then you have to put them back on. Whenever someone got transferred, or got promoted all that stuff had to be paper worked.
GM: I didn’t have flight pay but I had sea pay, and then we had hazardous duty pay when we went into a war zone, tax free, and I imagine someone in the payroll department had to make those changes every time there was a change.
JQ: Somebody in administration had to say, here’s a list of people who are now qualified for combat pay, or the hazardous duty pay, or the flight pay. Even if the troop wanted to get sunglasses which were authorized for troops who were flying, again you had to cut a special paragraph one order, he had to take it up to the base PX and they would order out his sunglasses, especially if he had prescription sunglasses.
GM: I think most people out there think of the military as being on the front lines but that’s not true. I say it all the time, any job you find in the civilian world, you find in the military.
JQ: Exactly, people have to fix and run computers, people have to do the payroll. Back then you didn’t get a check in the military, you got cash, so every month you had a dispersing officer come down and count out your pay. Then we had to have all that stuff typed up, and you had to sign to get your cash. When you were on deployment you got extra pay and again you had to go to the dispersing office and someone had to type it up, and they didn’t have computers or even have electric typewriters back then, it was all done with a manual typewriter.
GM: What did you say, a Remington Raider?
JQ: That’s right, I used a Remington Raider, I could type. Electric typewriters were just coming in but again, because our squadron was deployable, you may be going overseas, you may be going somewhere where there’s no electricity and you can’t plug in so everything was done with the old manual, hit the carriage return, type away, hit the carriage return.
GM: What if you made a mistake?
JQ: Then you had to retype everything over. We would handle CO office orders so we had to go through and type a perfect document, except we would deliberately make three mistakes. One was in the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end. The defendant who was being charged with these usually minor infractions would have to go through and find that mistake, fix it, and initial it, that way for legal documentation later, it proved that he read it because here are his initials on every page that had those three mistakes. So if you made a mistake, you had to start all over, you couldn’t use white out because everything was done with carbon paper. We had carbonless forms on paper back behind on everything so if you made a mistake it appeared back behind too. It was a slow process.
Now the stuff is computerized so you enter it in and it immediately goes to stores or to supply.
The advantage then was you worked with the First Sergeant, you got to work with the commanding officer and the XO. I was fortunate enough to get to know those people and those were the people who could recommend you for a promotion.
GM: And I guess that would help you develop people skills also?
JQ: It did. When the First Sergeant chewed somebody out you could learn an awful lot about how diplomatically he did it so they didn’t make that mistake again.
GM: Right, do it without breaking them. There are always different ways of doing that.
JQ: Bring them into line.
GM: That is something that is hard to learn. When you are trying to discipline someone so they know they did wrong but make them want to do better without just yelling, that’s a skill.
JQ: Anybody can yell.
GM: Yeah, how do I get them to buy in?
JQ: And this is not going to be tolerated anymore, you’re going to do a better job because you are capable of doing a better job.
GM: One thing that comes up that always amazes me is the military will give a ridiculous amount of responsibility to an eighteen or nineteen year old without thinking twice about it.
JQ: Once upon a time we had an American Legion conference and we had the Captain of the USS Iowa there. He’s got twenty two hundred people on board, it’s a small city, and he says, three fourths of them are teenagers. They fire the sixteen inch shell, they’ve got the radar going, they’ve got all these things going on and they’re eighteen or nineteen years old.
GM: That’s the big difference between the private world and the military world. Most businesses or people wouldn’t think about hiring a teenager and giving them much responsibility at all.
JQ: In the military one of the things you learn is that you’re going to be on time. The First Sergeant didn’t let you sleep in because you wanted to sleep in. If you were supposed to report for muster at 0700, you do it or you’re in trouble. There are consequences. The military regiments cut into real life every day. Working with American Legion baseball teams, there’s these teenagers and you say, hey, you’ve got curfew at midnight, well, they’re not used to going to bed. We’ll say, you have an option, you can either go to bed or we’ll take you to the airport for your airline tickets in the morning. They get your message real quick.
When the team is working hard together, we rarely had problems but every once in a while they’d say, what are you going to do, send us home? and we’d go, yeah. You can sleep in your beds tonight or you can sleep at the airport, they got the message. With the military, those skills of being organized, being on time, getting things going, they work. We would have an American Legion tournament, and one of the things the American Legion does like other youth programs, when a team wins that state tournament, the American Legion steps in and takes care of all those expenses, air-fares, hotels, meals, baseball, umpires all were pre-arranged. Like with the team from Alaska, we know they fly out of Anchorage but you don’t know who’s coming until forty eight hours ahead of time, so you have to have twenty airline tickets waiting up in Alaska for the team who wins and flies down to maybe Portland Oregon, or it might be the corner of Washington, or it could be in Shelby. All that stuff needed to be pre-arranged. We would end up flying or busing around fourteen hundred kids all in one day, and checking into hotels. That was always the pat on the back we gave ourselves, that was our success getting all that coordinated.
GM: You were the national director of the American Legion Baseball operations from 1986 to when?
JQ: 1986 to 2012 when I retired. Twenty eight years there, and seven back in Iowa doing similar type stuff but on a state level.
GM: And now Shelby is the home of the American Legion World Series.
JQ: Again, totally changed the impact of American Legion Baseball World Series. We went to some great cities, Fargo, North Dakota, nicest people in the world, went to Rapid City South Dakota, Spokane Washington, went all over the place, Middletown Connecticut, great people who worked their hearts out for a year, but after a year we had to start all over. So, you end up at Middletown Connecticut in 1988 and you’re going to Millington Tennessee in 1989, a whole new committee had to start over, educate them and say, this is what has to happen. Back then, those teams worked their fanny off and if there was any money left over that money would go into the team coffers to help next year’s team. Here in Shelby, we can build on the success year after year. Quite frankly the world series barely breaks even, if it wasn’t for our sponsors we probably wouldn’t be able to pay all the bills. It gives us a chance to build on the success. We never had a concert down town in Shelby five years ago, and now we do. It keeps on growing, the attendance has been outstanding and it continues to grow every year.
Fargo North Dakota, their team actually got into the world series and they averaged almost two thousand people a game, while Shelby averages almost seven thousand people a game, and they don’t have a team in it yet.
GM: We have some good teams, we just need to win that championship.
JQ: Well, it’s tough. In ninety years, I think there are seven teams who have hosted a tournament and won. Back in the thirties and forties there used to be just two teams in there. You have one year it’s in the east, the next it’s in the west, a best of three. Starting in 1944, that’s when they started the double elimination tournament and it was rare for a team to win the state tournament, then go regional and go on to host a world series and be there in the tournament. It is extremely tough.
GM: So, you think the organization skills and discipline you learned in the military translated to your career?
GM: You got the G.I bill, right?
JQ: I was hurt when I went in the Marines, I hurt my knee real bad and so I went to school under what we called VOC Rehab, where I probably got fifty dollars less a month than the G.I bill guy but it paid for books and tuition, so that money could be used for grant, food, electricity and everything.
GM: That’s what the G.I bill paid for me was rent and groceries but that allowed me to step out of the job I was doing and get my education.
JQ: All those skills, and I came from before computers were used, and I’m not intimidated by computers so I hopped right in because it was so much nicer than doing it with the old carbon forms. You had to make six copies and if you made a mistake you had to start all over again. The commanding Officer doesn’t like typos on their paperwork. And in the military, you would have the inspector general come around every year and so your paperwork was in fact judged. They came through and they would be looking for mistakes and in the end those mistakes would count against your squadrons. It made a big difference.
GM: Well, I want to thank you for your service and your contributions to the American Legion and Post 82. I am honored to be a member of Post 82.
JQ: Post 82 does a much better job. They had a kid who was a champion at the oratorical last year, and five kids are going on to boy’s state, and they’re sending a young man off to the student trooper which is like highway patrol class for a week. They’re doing a lot of good over there.
GM: And they’re starting a biker club.
JQ: Yes, American Legion Riders.
GM: They do a ton of fund raising.
JQ: They raised, I want to say, one point seven million dollars which goes into a scholarship trust, and that money goes to kids whose parents were killed on active duty since 911, or if you’re a fifty percent or more disabled veteran you can draw scholarship money. It’s all put in a trust so the interest is earned and again goes to those kids or veterans.
GM: American Legion does a ton, and in our last meeting it was the Legions ninety eighth birthday and we talked about how it began and the monumental things it’s done. I think it was the first million plus donor to the Heart Association.
JQ: The Cancer Society also, and they are a big contributor each year to the Ronald McDonald houses.
GM: Most people out there probably think only of American Legion Baseball but the Legion does a ton of stuff. If you are a veteran, we need younger veterans in there. I know there are a lot of younger veterans who could benefit from the camaraderie and fellowship of the Post 82 members and their support. The ridiculous number of young veterans coming back with real problems for real reasons, I think these things can be somewhat offset by a support group. The members have been through similar things. When I sit down and talk to Vietnam vets, I realize my service was not dangerous or hard at all. The veterans of today are going through some very dangerous and tough situations with injuries and trauma but that support can help, it certainly can’t hurt.
JQ: There was a chaplain in the National Guard who came and talked at the American Legion and he said, you need to get these young guys in because when the world war one and world war two boys came back, they called it combat fatigue but it was post traumatic stress, and get them in with other veterans. If old Joe talked about when he was in Korea or Vietnam and he related some of that combat, that can help younger guys to think, he can talk about it, so I can talk about it, it does relieve stress.
You talked about the G.I bill, it was a Legionnaire called Harry Colmery, a past national commander, and member of congress who wrote the G.I bill and the American Legion got that passed by one vote. It was opposed by some other organizations who wanted the money to go strictly into hospitals.
GM: I believe the American Legion is the only non-profit who can lobby congress?
JQ: For the most part but the other organizations can too, there is the DVA, and the VFW, I’m not sure how it works but they have a political action arm. With the American Legion, we don’t care if they’re republican or democrat, the issue is the issue and that’s what we are going to argue about.
The American Legion is a non-profit charter organization, any veteran who needs to put in a claim, we will do that at no charge to them, put in the paperwork and send it on up through our chain of command.
GM: I urge any veteran out there to look to their American Legion Post and get involved. Any time you go into a room full of veterans and you are a veteran, there is an instant connection and you feel at home.
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