Soldier needs assistance

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pamela Graham, of Shell Knob, is reaching out to the community to assist her brother who has sacrificed his family, health and finances to protect American freedoms.

"My brother has always been the kindest person," said Graham. "He was always the one who in the winter time, when the roads were slick, icy and snowy, would take his pickup with his wench and go around pulling people out of ditches. He would carry a thermos of hot coffee and let them sit in the cab to warm up, and he would have blankets for children too.

"He would not accept money for this," said Graham. "To him, this was fun. This was something he could give to people. If someone was broken down along the road or had a flat tire, he would stop and fix it and again, he wouldn't take any money. He would simply tell them that maybe sometime he or his wife or child would be stranded and maybe they would be able to help him."

Graham's brother, Scott, took helping others to a new level when he joined the National Guard in 1980.

"My brothers grew up being proud of our country, proud of our freedoms and proud to be able to serve (the United States)," said Graham. "To them it was worth everything to be able to pass those freedoms on to future generations."

Over the last 27 years, Scott sacrificed time with his family to serve his country. He has been deployed to Iraq twice and during that time has received both physical and emotional injuries that will make it difficult for him to hold a full-time job outside the military.

Some of Scott's physical injuries include multiple broken bones and compressed and crushed discs.

"He is now extremely susceptible to illnesses and pneumonia," said Graham. "In the past two weeks he has been in the hospital four times. The last time, the hospital was full and couldn't keep him so they sent him back to base.

"He is on electroshock therapy and traction that he has to do for the chronic pain," said Graham. "He can't sit, stand or walk for long periods. He tires extremely quickly. Of course, like most all the guys (who have been in Iraq) he has emotional issues from everything he saw."

Due to his latest injuries, the National Guard has relieved Scott of his duties. Although he will not be deployed again, he remains at the base where he was sent to when he returned to the United States. He should be discharged within the next two months.

"They have done about every test on him there is," said Graham. "He's had all the evaluations even being sent to Dallas, Texas, and Oklahoma City, Okla. He will need continuing doctor care once he is discharged."

Graham would like to see her brother move to southwest Missouri after he is discharged from the National Guard. In order to accommodate him, she is trying to raise funds to secure him a home and develop a plan to help him visit a local Veterans Affairs medical facility when necessary.

Prior to being deployed to Iraq the second time, Scott was living with his wife, two stepsons and daughter. While he was in Iraq, Scott's wife filed for divorce and secured full custody of their daughter. Due to the end of the relationship, Scott will be forced to begin his life from scratch when he is discharged later this year, said Graham.

"He needs everything," said Graham. "He has gotten a little used car that he just has to get working good. He has a couple of shirts and a couple pairs of overalls. He needs a home, something the court will approve if he can get visitations with his daughter. He also needs food, furnishings, linens, a bed (and many other items)."

Graham has established an account at Arvest Bank on behalf of Scott. Individuals interested in donating to Scott can mail funds to Arvest Bank, Highway 39 South, Shell Knob, Mo., 65747. Checks or money orders should be made out to the P. Graham Soldier Account.

"I know that not everyone will be able to or want to help," said Graham. "My hope is that they have someone serving our country and know at least a little bit about what these men and women go through on a daily basis, especially in war time.

"I am hoping that they are thankful for their personal freedoms and want to help someone who gave so much to help protect their rights," said Graham. "It's not about the war, the President or the country. It's about our troops. Each one of these men and women are risking their life and their health each and every day so that we keep our freedoms."

In addition to establishing the account at Arvest Bank, Graham has created a website page about her brother. Individuals interested in reading more of Scott's story should visit

"These are good men and women in our military," said Graham. "They give more than the expected 100 percent. They are doing their job and giving it their all. They can't go home after eight hours. There are no nights or weekends off. They can't tell the bad guy, 'Stop shooting at me. My shift is over.'"

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