Letters to the Editor for July 26, 2006

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dear editor,

Dear Editor,

We have a problem we must address immediately; that is, John Stewart has been deployed to Iraq and is leaving in two weeks! What will we do about lining the soccer fields? Who will order the nets, balls and other equipment? Does anyone know if we collected the money that was owed? Who will coach the U-10 girls team? Who will see that the grass is cut and fertilized at the fields? Wow, what about Stacia, how is she going to cope without him to raise those girls? Who will keep the house and yard up while she looks after the baby? Will the baby even know who he is when he gets back? He will come back, won&8217;t he?

When someone goes off to war it has a rippling effect throughout the community. The more involved he or she was prior to being deployed, the greater the ripple. When our friend, Major John Stewart, was deployed a couple of months ago, he left a title wave of responsibilities in his wake, including his family, office and at the Chelsea Soccer Club, where he was on the board of directors and looked after FIVE soccer fields

and all related equipment, all the while coaching his daughter Maddie&8217;s team.

We never thought much about our neighbor John Stewart being in the Army. Occasionally I would see him wearing his uniform during weekend drills. What did all those badges on his uniform mean? There was one for being an Army Ranger; I had heard of that and it did make me pause to consider that there must be another side to this very nice, always smiling, gentle man. There area other badges for jumping out of planes , marksmanship and a bronze star from an earlier deployment. Wow, I thought John had a desk job, what did all of these decorations mean? We would all see him running and staying in shape – just another health freak, right?

The two weeks that followed John&8217;s news of being deployed to the Middle East must have been life changing for his family. He had to get all of the family business in order: find someone to mow the yard, take care of finances, alert family and friends and update the insurance and will. He had to have a long talk with his wife about what needed to be done if he does not come back.

John&8217;s wife Stacia is a lovely, petite lady who is equally involved in our community and a picture of all that is good in a mother and wife. Since John&8217;s departure she seems to have taken on a renewed air of resolve and her daughters always look as though they just came from the Gap. A friend of the family said of Stacia, &8220;She keeps her own daughters occupied and entertained as she deals with a world that has made her life so much more difficult. She takes no pity and accepts no sorrow. She is proud of her husband, and she takes her challenge head-on. She is my new hero.&8221; I could not of said it any better.

John&8217;s daughter Maddie, now years old, is very smart and a talented soccer player who does a great job of being mommy&8217;s helper while taking good care of her little sister Sophie. I know John would be so proud of the way she puts others first and carries that Stewart family honor an discipline on her young shoulders just as he does. It&8217;s as if she understands her father&8217;s role in defending our country. Can is be that she has the same patriotic resolve of her father? I am amazed at her composure.

You see, everyone in that family understands John&8217;s duty. They know why he has so much special training in combat and understand all too well what he may be called to do at any time in service to his country. His service needs to be done no matter what your politics are, no matter what you think should happen.

The country called, and he answered. He is as much a symbol of what America is as the flag and eagle. You see, John is just a regular guy: neighbor, father, coach friend, soldier and patriot. Thank God or men like John. God bless them all.

David H. Sharp

Chelsea Soccer Coach

Unincorporated Shelby Count