To some freedom is thought of in terms of the number 07-04 or a specific date on the calendar—July 4th. There are politicians who try to balance the wishes of their constituents and measure freedom in dollar$, but the cost of freedom cannot be measured in terms of military budgets, tanks, jets, or ships. The true cost of freedom must consider the human spirit and the willingness to sacrifice.
The hidden costs of freedom are outside of the awareness of the public in general because they have never lived the military life. When their children were born, the father was not fighting terrorists in Iraq or Afghanistan. For most families, parents are present to join in the celebration of the major life cycle events such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and marriages. This is not the case for military families when one or both parents are deployed. Then, there is the ultimate cost of freedom that is seen in the flag-draped caskets of heroes that return home to be met by their heart-broken family.
As I write this column, my heart goes out to the family of Hal Neukirch, Jr. Young Hal was serving in Afghanistan when he was stricken by a deadly enemy in a form of brain cancer known as Glioblastoma Multiforme. The request of Hal Jr. is to leave his hospital bed in Texas, and to come back to El Dorado to spend his last days in the place he has called home.
I ask you to join me in helping the Neukirch’s bring their son back to Kansas. Due to Hal’s condition, an air ambulance must be used at a cost of $15,000. An account has been set up at Intrust Bank, 100 S. Main, El Dorado, KS 67042. If each of us will give a little, we can make a big difference in the life of this wonderful family. Please make your check payable to the Hal Neukirch Jr. Benefit Fund.