Up & Coming Weekly

June 15, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 17 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JUNE 16-22, 2021 UCW 17 DAN DEBRULER, General Manager, WCLN. Comments? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200. FAITH Woven into the fabric of who and what we've become, we all have threads of regret muting the bold colors of success in our lives. There's not much I'd change about the path I've walked thus far, because to change any one of them would be to alter the outcome. Some of life's highest pinnacles rise from the low ground of pain and defeat. It seems somewhat apropos at this time of year to realize my single greatest regret is that I didn't have my dad to share most of the highs and lows with. A veteran of World War II, Billy DeBruler was a high school track athlete raised in western Kansas. His adoptive family owned a local pharmacy and had always intended that he join the family business, which was perhaps the furthest thing from his mind during high school. After invading Poland, Hitler had become the scorn of the western world, and as the Allied nations got increasingly involved, the boys in dad's small town were becoming men and volunteering to ship off and right this great wrong. By volunteering as a Nav y harma- cist Mate, my dad was able to get his parents' signatures to join before his 18th birthday, and was soon on his way to Nav y Boot Camp, followed by a trip to Hawaii. Not the paradise Hawaii, the naval base Hawaii. The unfortunate twist in the story is that Pharmacist Mates were not as great a necessity in the war raging in the Pacific as were medics to accompany the Marines as they roamed the tro- pical jungles. So began his career as a Combat Medic. He carried fond memories of the friends he made, and had memen- tos from Hawaii around the house, but the haunting memories of the rigors and horrors of combat were a silent and driving force behind much of his adult life. The same kid who made the local paper for both his athletic and academic abilities in high school and earned medals on the local track and remote jungles, saw his first marriage collapse from what we now commonly know and treat as post-traumatic stress disor- der (PTSD). I don't remember seeing any uni- formed men walk up to the door, but I remember my dad holding a letter and weeping at the table after receiving the news his first-born son had died in the jungles of Vietnam. I recall him pouring all that he mis- sed from that relationship into my brother and I — the two children from his second marriage. I have fond memories of building lopsided projects in his little workshop in the basement, the cold and smell of the meat locker in the store where he worked as a butcher, and the trips to the lake on Independence Day because you couldn't use fireworks in town. Dad traveled to see us just after our first son was born. I have a sing- le photo of the two of them together in the driveway of our southern Arizona home in 1980. He died less than a year later, succumbing to the effects of cancer brought on by the habit he picked up while he was in the Nav y. He had truly been-the- re-and-done-that, and could have steered me through and maybe even around some of life's hardest moments. And there it is — the thread of regret. If your dad is still living, go to him. If you have children, open up to and listen to them. Let the shared experiences become a beautiful part of the tapestry of your life. Shared experiences can become the tapestry of your life by DAN DEBRULER

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