Rest in Peace, Sgt. Calvin Corley [OPINION]
About a month ago, we learned of the final battle being waged by U.S. Army Ranger Calvin Corley. Sgt. Corley bravely served our country as a member of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. It was there that Sgt. Corley was repeatedly exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange which left him, like so many other men of his time, with permanent health issues.
Sgt. Corley lost his battle with Agent Orange over the weekend just days after receiving an amazing outpouring of love and appreciation from grateful admirers the world over. Sgt. Corley was 70 years old when he was called home at about 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Sgt. Corley spent his final days in hospice care at the Charles George Veterans Medical Center in Asheville, North Carolina. With no family close by, he feared he would be forgotten and would die alone. That was not to be the case. Mark Starling of WWNC Radio and Eddie Fox of KISS Country Radio issued an appeal through social media for email messages for Sgt. Corley. We at WBSM joined the effort, as did media from all over. The response was phenomenal. So many of you took the time to send regards to Sgt. Corley.
Email, cards, letters, and gifts poured in from15 countries and were presented to Sgt. Corley a week before his death. Starling says Sgt. Corley did not die alone. "Please know that he left this world knowing that he mattered and his life and service mattered. That was because of all of you," he said.
The success of the effort to assist Sgt. Corley has led Mark and the North Carolina VA to expand it to include more veterans. Each month, they will select a veteran to create an email address for, so folks can "make sure no hero ever dies forgotten."
Anyone interested in launching a similar effort for local veterans can contact Mark Starling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kindness is such a simple thing. It doesn't require much more than a thought, or an email address. For a few short days, Sgt. Calvin Corley came to learn that his life had meaning and that his sacrifices had been appreciated.
Sgt. Corley died feeling loved and all it took was an email from you.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.