Meet two ladies who walk the walk

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By Ben Carlson

Supporting America's troops has become something of a cottage industry.

From T-shirts to hats to those magnetized ribbons that adorn trunks - and the particularly cool camouflage ones on tailgates - plenty of folks have scarfed up plenty of dough by selling us stuff to let everyone know how patriotic we are.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. A display of support for our troops is a good thing and, if someone makes a little cash helping us do so, why that's the American way, right?

Unfortunately, magnets on bumpers and flag pins on lapels (except for Obama, who refuses to wear them) also serve as cover for the posers out there who will opt every time for titillating news about the latest Hollywood skank over what's actually going on in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Then there are the true supporters. Those who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Some of them live here in Lawrenceburg. They're the ones who organize the Fourth of July parade; who box untold amounts of goodies and ship them overseas; who travel to the VA hospital in Lexington to play bingo with vets; who, in short, get off their duffs and let their actions speak louder than their words or symbols.

Two of those people - American Legion Auxiliarists Betty Butler and Nettie Halvorson - proved that point last week.

My wife interrupted my busy world with a phone call from the VA hospital, where she works. A veteran who lives in Versailles, she said, was being discharged and was planning to hitchhike home in the rain.

As much as I wanted to drive there and give him a ride, I just couldn't do it.

Not knowing where to turn, I called Betty and she called Nettie and off they went.

Think about that. With no notice, these two women dropped what they were doing and were at the VA's front door in under an hour. At no time did they bring up gas money or prior commitments; they just got in their car and did what needed to be done for a veteran in need.

Further, they had no idea they'd end up the topic of this column. If forewarned, I'm guessing each would say that it's not necessary; that they only did what anyone would do.

With all due respect, ladies, that's not true. There are only a handful of people in the world today who still live by the credo of service above self; who know that the need of the one at times does outweigh the needs of the many.

You are two members of that rare breed, and deserve the meager kudos I offer here.

Next time you drive by the Legion, remember what goes on in there aside from the bingo and other ways those folks raise money. Remember what they stand for and what they do, and be thankful that they stand ready, willing and able to do with most of us won't or can't.

Thank you, ladies.