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Mrs. Gert Boyle, Measured For Toughness

One Size Does Not Fit All

A young baby boomer might have looked for the definition of ‘tough’ in their dad’s sock drawer.

If they found a Silver Star and Purple Heart, then move to the closet and see Marine Corps Dress Blues, they’ve seen enough.

After I pulled an Army tour, I asked my dad about his medals.

“What were you doing in the Korean War?”

His answer was tough. “Being young and stupid and living through it.”

The only war story he told was coming in from the field with prisoners. He delivered four prisoners four different times to the same forward detention guy who walked prisoners off the front lines to a holding area in the rear.

After bringing in the second prisoner, he asked the guard about the first man.

“Did you have any problems taking him in?” he asked.

“Tried to escape and I, uh, you know, shot him,” the guard said.

He shot the second prisoner on an escape, then the third, and reported it with a smirk that tried to say the only good North Korean soldier is a dead Chinese soldier.

His smirk annoyed the combat Marine.

The squad would have killed the prisoners if felt they deserved it. That a REMF did it irked them.

They handed off the fourth prisoner to the detention guy with something extra.

“He gets shot by anyone on the way down, we’ll find you and deliver you the same way.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the guard said.

Fast forward to a local event from two years ago.

Gert ‘One Tough Mother’ Boyle of Columbia Sportswear found herself at the mercy of a kidnapper.

He was a man of no mercy, a criminal with no boundaries, bashing an eighty-something year old woman.

The man slammed Mrs. Boyle to break her down.

He tied her hands behind her back with a lead so he could walk her and yank on her to make his point.

The man worked Mrs. Boyle like she was an inmate in a Turkish prison and he was impressing the new warden.

Did this happen in West Linn, or some undisclosed location?

My mother in law is in her eighties like Mr. Boyle. They’ve lived through the toughest times and come out better.

Along the way she fought the good fight and found success. She buried two husbands and moved away from friends to be closer to family.

Like Mrs. Boyle, my mother in law speaks her mind. They’ve earned the right. These are wise women of the world, not punching bags for get-rich-quick schemers to throw in the ditch.

We know what happened to Mrs. Boyle, it was the fight of her life. She came through it, but there’s always more.

From the Mayo Clinic:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely shake up your life. In a case such as this, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.

For boomers with older people in their lives, Gert Boyle is a treasure.

If you hear someone planning to harm our treasures, make them an offer they can’t refuse.

The fourth POW my dad handed over in Korea made it to the rear safely because of a good guy.

Be tough enough to be a good guy.

Be mentally tough instead of mental, and coach them up. 

About David Gillaspie

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