Memorial Day Post Script… Remembering The Heroes Who Served Communities They Loved…

Byron Lewis, a great one, indeed…

Byron Lewis, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Byron and Marcia Lewis became our dear neighbors in 2005. We moved into a small community by the sea, called Little Whale Cove, a tad south of Depoe Bay, Oregon. Marcia, a dear and loving friend, now lives in the valley near Portland following Byron’s passing…

Byron passed away after a long battle with cancer. He and I served on the Board of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay for 6 years and more…

This was the beginning of the next chapter of my own journey of healing. It was Byron Lewis who moved my soul to write my story.

It was Byron who convinced me to build Children and Families in Life After Trauma as a technology platform to sell books. Judy and Marcia supported us always, even when it was painful, with heads shaking, boots kicking asses, no doubt…

Byron kept telling me, “Duuude,” You have to write a “Blog!” I looked at him, thought he was jokin’ and said, “what’s that shit, Duuude?!”

It was Byron, who pointed to Neighbors for Kids new building next to the friendly Shell station next door. NFK was gifted a temporary location in a repurposed building and property back then.

It was the City of Depoe Bay that got behind a grand idea to build a “after-school” program. You know, a place for kids to hang, learn, play in a safe place, after the school house closed at 3pm… It became a public private philanthropic partnership, the Star of Depoe Bay and Lincoln County, that lives on today after over 20 years…

It was Byron Lewis who said to me, “hey, Sparky, we should go and find out about Neighbors for Kids, duuude!” We always dramatized endearments and salutations. I mentor them to most I know, to this day, “duuude!”

Neighbors for Kids honors Byron each year for his love of surfing, and the kids who dreamed of riding big waves at Agate. Every summer, surfing conditions permitting, we celebrate his memory at this annual surfing event. https://neighborsforkids.org/keiki-kowabunga-challenge/

Byron ‘s favorite surf spot, Agate Beach at Yaquina Head…

It was Byron, who helped me write my first book, Reconciliation a Son’s Story, including his own words in many places, and places in between lines…too.

I was with my pal from the beginning of our journey as best friends in 2005 until he passed on. A few days before he passed, we went for our last walk in the rain forest to the Cove. We hung out there often with his favorite furry loved one,William, and the clan.

More often, it was just us duuudes, kicking rocks, picking up shells, talkin’ trash ‘n dreamin’ about the big waves we used to catch near San Diego. We dreamed big, Byron ‘n me…

We are still close pals, you know, Byron ‘n me. He hangs with me each day like we used too. He sits on my shoulder guiding me just like he used to…

Byron and Marcia Lewis https://www.facebook.com/marcia.lewis.961

We are still a team, too, Byron ‘n me. He’s the strategic side of my soul. He guides me to follow my heart and soul.

“Let’s do the right thing,” he would always say. Even when I wanted to do the wrong thing…

Byron did so much for our broader community in his time. He advanced the causes we both cared about, especially education, healthy kids, technology, and the sea…

Byron helped build Neighbors for Kids until he couldn’t. I still help Byron with that too…

Byron is missed dearly everyday by many, I know, but he still lives in our hearts and souls. He keeps my feet on the ground too. “The voice of reason” we would all say most days about Byron.

Rest in peace, “ol’ surf duuude!” Talk later…

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma

Byron filmed my very first YouTube back then. This one remains the most popular of all… Byron did this kind of stuff too, and mentored me along the way. We are still a team, Byron and me…

Imagine the impact of friends and loved ones like Byron Lewis in your life. Huge, duuude!

Byron Lewis, as my subconscious angel, helped me write my latest book with Judy Sparks…

Memorial Day Remembrance 2021… Ronald Allen Slane SP5 US Army 1967-68 Vietnam

VFW Memorial
Depoe Bay Oregon
Ronald Allen Slane SP5 US Army 1967-68 Vietnam
Neighbors for Kids at VFW Memorial Garden
Depoe Bay, Oregon
Neighbors for Kids, VFW Memorial Garden 2021
by Kimberly Boyd, NFK Board and Volunteer
Depoe Bay, Oregon

In Memory of Ronald Allen Slane SP5 US Army, Vietnam 1967-68, VFW Post Auxiliary 5653, Depoe Bay, Oregon

http://www.voanews.com/content/a-13-2005-11-10-voa14-66907182/262815.html  Quote from this website and article…

L.D. James recounts what happened to one group of soldiers in a new book called Unfortunate Sons: A True Story of Young Men and War (Cambridge Dent Publishers).

“The author tracked down survivors of the ambush with the help of the Internet and Manchu reunions. He also talked with the families of men who died, like that of Ron Slane. Unlike most of the Manchus, who were drafted into the military, Ron Slane volunteered to go to war as an army medic. He was a conscientious objector, but believed he had a duty to serve in some way. The book includes a letter he wrote to his younger brother:”

“This war has all of a sudden jumped right into my lap. It’s not a game any more. Tomorrow night if everything goes the way they say, we’re scheduled for ambush patrol. It’s the real thing and I’m scared. Not of dying though. What frightens me is will I be able to care properly for those men that I am responsible for.”

*****

A life cut short by war…  Ron Slane’s smile shows a young man full of life and hope.  Ron is from Lincoln City, Oregon and is remembered on more than one memorial in his home town and on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC.

Judy and I were on a walk awhile ago with grand dog Skai to the Depoe Bay Park next to the harbor.  In the park is the Ron Slane VFW Post Auxiliary 5653 shown in the photos here.  I paused and took a picture while being completely distracted from the voice of Judy telling me to come along and catch up. 

I have lived a full life at age 75.  I feel blessed with all the challenges and rewards of a life lived well.  We are enjoying retirement on the Oregon coast with close friends, community involvement, the love of our family, and a new grandchild arriving very soon…

It has been healing for me to be reminded of those who served America in past wars, including my own father in WWII and the Korean War.  Wars have taken the lives of millions on the battle field, at sea, and in the air like Ron Slane at the beginning of a promising adult life. 

Countless others over the years who returned home suffered a life time from the trauma and horror of war with visible and invisible wounds.  So, after several minutes of reflection at the VFW memorial it was time to “catch up” with Judy and Skai. 

I decided to go home and find out about Ronald Slane of Lincoln City who was killed in action in 1968 trying to save the life of another soldier, his buddy.   Ron was a medic who volunteered to serve America but did not believe in fighting and killing.   Ron Slane is honored and remembered today as a post on this blog…

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma
Ronald Allen Slane SP5
Date of Birth 19470427 04/27/1947
Service A Army
Component Y Selective Service
Rank SP5 Specialist Fifth Class
Grade and posthumous promotion E5
Service Occupation 91B20 Medical Specialist (ARMY)
Actual Date of Casualty 19680302 03/02/1968
Actual Date of Death 19680302 03/02/1968
Tour Date 670918 09/18/1967
Posthumous decoration
Casualty Type A1 Hostile, Died
Reason D Gun, Small Arms Fire
Air no Air 7 Ground Casualty
Body Recovered — Undefined Code

http://army.togetherweserved.com/army/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=Person&ID=68969

http://www.cityofdepoebay.org/pdf/minutes/council/2002-2010/cc_2005-12-20.pdf

V.  SPECIAL ORDERS (from the regular meeting of the Depoe Bay City Council on December 20, 2005)
A.  Presentation:  Larry Newman – Ron Slane VFW Post/Auxiliary 5653
Commander Larry Newman and Adjutant Al Burke, on behalf of Ron Slane VFW Post 5653 in Lincoln City, presented certificates for meritorious and distinguished service in furthering the aims and ideals of Veterans of Foriegn Wars. to Tanya York, the Kids Zone (www.neighborsforkids.org), Dr. and Mrs Jack Brown, Pery Murray, and Mayor White for the City of Depoe Bay.

Inspirational and uplifting read. Get Kindle app free to download my ebook to your smartphone…

Little Whale Cove Sunset by Judy Sparks

Celebrating Democracy with Steve Sparks… Long Beach, Ca 1942… The dreaded ‘knock at the door’

https://www.stmatthewlb.org

In 1932, Long Beach built a large Navy Landing at the foot of Pico Avenue.  By the next year, there were over 50 ships and 30,000 sailors at Long Beach. In 1933, more than 4,500 sailors and marines came ashore to provide rescue units and patrols to assist local authorities in dealing with the destruction, injuries and breakdown of order in the aftermath of a massive earthquake.

Approximate Boundaries of the Former Naval Station and Naval Shipyard

Approximate Boundaries of the Former Naval Station and Naval Shipyard

*****In the fall of 1942, Marcella, was holding her 1st born son, Jerry, in her arms as she attended mass at St. Mattews in Long Beach, Ca. 
Marcella prayed everyday since her husband, Vernon, survived the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At this moment in church she held her rosary tightly and prayed for her husband, Vernon, to return home. 
Vernon was assigned to the Harbor Patrol shortly after the bombing of the US Navy Pacific Fleet by the Japanese Navy. He patrolled the coast of O.Island looking for Japanese subs.
Marcella returned home from church that day. Soon after she and Jerry returned home to their apartment on Lime St. there was a knock at the door. 
Marcella hesitated while holding, Jerry, who was just one year old. Marcella woke up each day dreaded the knock at the door. Too many of her Navy wife friends she got to know list their husbands in the Pacific War.
Jerry was a healthy and happy baby. He felt loved and secure with his mom. They were close. It was a painful time for 1000s of Navy and Marine spouses and moms waiting for their husband’s to return home from the war. 
There was little or no communications at that time. Letters and cards would come from Vernon each week. She so looked forward to reading how Jerry’s pop was doing. She prayed everyday that he would return home safely to see how much his son had grown. 
Marcella finally got enough strength get up from the couch and go to the front door. She was reading cards and letters, and showing photos up his his pop. She wanted to prepare Jerry to meet his father for the 1st time. 
She opened the front door slowly with her heart pounding and tears in her eyes expecting bad news. What she saw was not a man in a Navy uniform. It was the Western Union man, “thank you, God!!!” She said. Because she knew that Vernon was coming home.
So, after Marcella sat down on the couch, she took the telegram out of the envelope, looked at Jerry with tears and love in her eyes and held him closely.
She yelled out with joy and more tears when she read ouliud so Jerry could hear, “your dad is coming home, Vernon is coming home, he is coming home my son!”
So, on that day, Marcella, started packing up and planning her next move to San Francisco to meet Vernon on his arrival. 
Little did she know that Vernon would sail off again to a secret mission in the Pacific. Vernon’s next ship duty would be the newly commissioned USS Bellegrove LSD2.

Marcella felt so much empathy and compassion for her dear friendships during that time. They were all going through the same emotional pain 24/7 for weeks and months. Waiting for news that their loved ones would return. The “knock at the door” came all too often for so many of her friends and neighbors.

She even said good bye to many Japanese friends who were taken from their homes and taken to the intern camps for the duration of the war was over.

Marcella never understood this. Her friends were Americans just like her. “Why?” she said…

In all these decades later, Japanese intern camps represent a stain on America’s soul. We will never ever do that again!

Long Beach Ca c1942 Nice waves!