Kind Words

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News October 2013

It gives me great pleasure to see that once again there is a sense of patriotism and support.

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During the month of April, I generally travel from the East Coast to the West Coast of this great country promoting our organization’s Paralyzed Veterans Awareness Month.

I’ve been privileged to witness the high regard in which American veterans are held by the American public. I’m gratified that our men and women in the military are afforded the respect and honor they so rightfully deserve.

There was a period in time when those who served in the military were not treated kindly upon returning home. It gives me great pleasure to see that once again there is a sense of patriotism and support.

I had the honor to attend the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) in July. It was, as always, an event that can pull on your heart strings, make you smile and shed a tear all at the same time. Upon my return home, Tom Brown, Paralyzed Veterans of America’s NVWG consultant, sent me a copy of a letter he received from Cynthia Huddleston, director of services for the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina where the majority of the competitors in the Games stayed.

I believe this message should be shared with each of the attendees as it confirms my belief that the American veteran is, once again, appreciated and valued. With Cynthia’s permission, the following is her letter in its entirety:


On behalf of the entire housekeeping and laundry staff, I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation for allowing us the honor of hosting the [National] Veterans Wheelchair Games.

I have worked for Marriott for 32 years, all in housekeeping and I have never before experienced a group like this. Each and every individual was so kind and appreciative that I have a difficult time expressing the feeling of pride that we have encountered.

Our housekeepers and laundry associates are known as our, “Scrubbing Bubbles,” they work hard so we don’t have to. Many, many guests displayed their gratitude toward them and I proudly explained that they are very nurturing and were happy to assist them with their needs. The truth is, who wouldn’t be willing to bend over backwards for these heroes who are so very humble and kind?

I was astonished to hear one gentleman (Frenchy) say, “No. Thank you!  It takes teamwork!” when I thanked him for his service.

I was so taken back by Ralph and his little dog Cody, that when he won a medal, I decided I had to bring him the wooden box that held my JW Marriott Award of Excellence medallion. I told him it was an honor to see him place his medal in the wooden box. His roommate (who had just met him at this event and found a friend for life), Dennis, pulled me aside to express his gratitude for my giving Ralph the box.

What you’re doing is magical and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Both my parents were WWII veterans and worked for VA. I can’t tell you how many times this week I said I wished they were here to see this!

You have made our team stronger. I can only hope that we have this opportunity again in the future. It far exceeds hosting two Super Bowls and the Republican National Convention!

Thank you for allowing us this wonderful honor!


… And I thank you, Cynthia, for your kind words. You and the many volunteers, who made the Games the success it was, deserve our deepest appreciation.

In closing, may I remind you all to visit that American veteran in one of those Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals or nursing homes around the nation and thank them for their service and for being one of the American team! 


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