Before coming to the Home, I was afforded the immeasurable blessing of being allowed to be a soldier for most of my adult life. As a matter of fact, of all the time I have spent on Earth, I have spent more time in uniform than not. When I think back over my time with them, I am reminded over and over that while the American Soldier can be filthy, profane, and violent, he can also be the noblest of souls. He often has a relationship with his God that only other soldiers can understand.
The chopper pilots who we flew with across the border for a recon mission into Iraq test fired the weapons as we cleared the border. We were roaring along about 60 feet off the ground at about 160 knots and over the headset I heard the pilot say to the chief on the right side sixty machine gun “coming up on the right, got him?” The chief responded “Roger, got ‘em.” I was expecting them to open up on some enemy target, but instead, as we passed over a small Arab family camped out in the desert, they dropped candy and small toys rigged with tiny, hand-made, orange parachutes from VS 17 panels to the children who were waving below.
Then at one of the sites we reconned I saw a civilian contractor, an oversized American who had come over to Iraq to be a part of the tax free gold rush that the war had become for so many, snatch a small carton of milk from a little local man who was working in the chow hall, chastising him loudly for taking it. The local, obviously now very frightened, only wanted something to drink. A soldier stepped in between the two and, without a word took the milk and handed it back to the little man and gave the civilian a look something like we used to see Clint Eastwood give bad guys, wordlessly daring the abusive blowhard to make the slightest move.
Later, just before the drive into Iraq, I became aware of the fact that my gunner, originally from Great Britain, had found in the PX tent and immediately bought two cases of English candy bars of a particular brand that he had loved madly during his childhood but not seen since. He packed them like gold in his rucksack for the trip, during which he would pull security for us from the gun pedestal as we became the first vehicle of the division to cross the berm into Iraq. In spite of the fact that there is a strict policy prohibiting the giving of food to civilians, when we arrived at our destination, after passing miles and miles of waving, begging Arab children, I learned that my gunner’s candy supply was all gone. Tossed away a bar at a time.
Then, a day or two later, at a place called Camp Scania, I met the camp dog. There was a prohibition against adopting pets too, so someone I suppose might have eventually been held accountable for the dog, who lived off a steady diet of beef jerky and MREs, as did her six small puppies, all of whom wore American flea collars as they slept peacefully in the small doghouse hand made from ammo crates, just outside the back gate.
And last, and perhaps most touching was the afternoon as I was near the back gate of our forward operating base. An army ambulance was there, just inside, manned by a couple of solder-medics from the Alabama National Guard, the back doors open. As I neared, I saw that the couple was assisting someone into the back, no doubt to be “evacked” for treatment to the camp clinic. It was not a soldier being placed in the ambulance, but a local man and his little girl, wrapped in a blanket, obviously very sick. This was another violation of another policy from another office back somewhere in the land of clean sheets and hot showers. One of the medics saw me and as they were closing the doors to the back of the ambulance, he gave me the ‘Shhhh’ sign, placing one finger over his lips. I motioned for them to go. I hope they found out what was wrong with the little girl.
All these heroes and others with whom I served were what might have been called “men’s men,” in a less politically correct time. Paul Anderson was another “man’s man.” He had an imposing presence, unrivalled strength, but also had compassion and an obviously deep relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
In a time when manhood as we knew it is often derided and sometimes even vilified, we here at PAYH are challenging our young men not only to be strong in mind, body and spirit, but to also love their God and their neighbor. We charge them daily to become prepared to accept their Providentially ordained role as leaders in their home, their church, and their community. If that kind of masculinity is toxic, as the Feminists assert, then we intend to brew poison by the gallon!
Col. Ken Vaughn
Chief Operating Officer
Isaiah Finishes Flight School
Isaiah, one of our 2018 Alumni, is making good on his aviation plans. He has completed a series of certifications, including his Instrument Rating, CFI, CFII, Commercial, Multi-Engine Commercial, and most recently Multi-Engine Commercial Instructor. This past Friday, Isaiah officially graduated ATP flight school, and is now working on logging the 1,500 required hours to apply to become a commercial airline pilot.
Last month, we published a wish list on Amazon containing numerous items the young men had requested to make their jobs in the kitchen a bit easier. We weren’t sure what the response would be, but over the next couple of weeks we were inundated with a flood of kitchen items. The response was truly overwhelming, and we are thankful to be able to say that our kitchen is now that much better equipped. Thank you to everyone who contributed. You have truly been a blessing!
Warren C. Crawley Gala
On February 4th, 6 PAYH representatives attended the Warren C. Crawley Gala, hosted by Brewton-Parker College. The dinner was held to honor the selfless sacrifice of the late Mr. Crawley, an African-American man who donated land to help start the college in 1904, despite the fact that in those days of segregated education, he and other African-Americans were barred from admission. The guest speaker was challenging and entertaining, the food was incredible, and the musicians gave a fantastic performance. Thanks to BPC for our continued partnership in ministry. To learn more about BPC and its Christ-centered academic programs, visit bpc.edu.
GFBF President Addresses PAYH Young Men
Dennis Gardin, president of the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, shared his powerful story with the PAYH young men. As a teenager, Gardin was burned over more than 70% of his body in a gas tank explosion and was not expected to survive. However, God had plans for Dennis and, after more than 50 surgeries and an 8-month hospital stay, he was released. At first, he questioned why God would allow this to happen to him, but over time he learned to rediscover his confidence and self-worth. Now, he travels the world sharing his message of hope, inspiration, and faith in God. Quoting his grandmother, who was a major source of strength to him during his ordeal, Gardin stated that he has learned “Don’t give thanks FOR everything – give thanks IN everything.” To learn more about Mr. Gardin or the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, visit gfbf.org.
Doubloon Mania Hits PAYH
There is a new currency being issued and spent at PAYH – the doubloon. A doubloon is a coin issued by or on behalf of the Chief Operations Officer for jobs well done or good deeds observed. They are then redeemable for rewards that are otherwise not available, such as lunch off-campus, a movie, a day to sleep in, and other highly sought-after things. Since the establishment of the program, our young men have been doing their best to be noticed “getting it right” and are being rewarded for doing so. In an act of exemplary servant leadership, our class leader, Bryce, observed a fellow classmate, Kevin doing something right and issued Kevin his own doubloon that he had won himself. This is an act of unselfishness that did not go unnoticed and Bryce will be rewarded double for it. Unlike consequence-based approaches that solely emphasize punishment for mistakes, we are focused on looking for the positive that we believe exists inside all our young men and on reinforcing and rewarding it…and it is working!
Whether you’re a competitive runner or enjoy a casual stroll, whether you like to compete with a team or do your own thing, or if you simply want a chance to spend your morning supporting a worthy cause, there’s a place for you on March 7th, 2020 at the 5th Annual Chick-fil-A Vidalia Road Race. Sponsored by Zorn Insurance, Spivey Orthopedic, Altamaha Bank and Trust, and Pineland Telco, proceeds from this year’s race will benefit both PAYH and Winshape Camps in Vidalia. We are expecting over 600 runners this March – don’t miss your chance to be one of them. Sign up at RunVidalia.com and visit our Facebook page atFacebook.com/RunVidalia.
We can’t wait to see you there!