Great Fortune

Vacations are a time for relaxation and renewal.  We don't set out to learn something or meet someone new. But in a rare moment of good fortune, this can change. Last Saturday we were waiting at DFW to board our flight to Costa Rica and Brian began to chat with a man standing near us (of course).  Ingrid noticed the logo on his polo shirt and Brian asked about it.

He introduced himself simply as "Mike."  We found out that the villa where we would be staying in Playa Ocotal is near his in Playa del Coco.  Mike had served in the Navy in Vietnam and I asked him if we might buy him lunch while in Costa Rica.  

We did today and what an experience!  

LT Mike Thornton is a former Navy SEAL.  He earned (among other honors) a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) for his service to our country.  Mike is one of only a few dozen living men who have earned such recognition.  Only three Navy SEALs were awarded the CMH for their service in Vietnam.  Mike was one, the sailor he rescued was another. 

Mike spent several hours with our family and he talked a lot.  Really.  A lot.  But for all his talking, Mike said almost nothing about himself.  Instead he talked only about those with whom he served or later honored. Mike has met almost all of the living CMH awardees.  I asked him what they had in common and after some thought, his answer was simply, "We all knew that we fought for something more important than ourself."  That is clearly evident in his heroic actions in the past, his conversation with us today and in the foundation he supports (www.navysealfoundation.org).

Cheers to a man who risked his life again and again to protect our country, freedom and way of life. I will look forward to getting to know Mike better!

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