In High School, I longed to follow in my Brothers footsteps. Both Mantry and Sherman had played for the glorious Midland Lee Rebels. I wanted to be a part of that glory too. I played Cornerback for the Fossil Ridge High School my Junior year, but dropped out my Senior year. I had no reason to play, I don’t recall my mom coming to a single game.
I remember the day that 9/11 had happened, I was a Senior in High School.
I had first period off, so when I came in, I had no clue what was going on. Everyone was watching the news. It was shocking to see the footage of the World Trade Centers burning. I graduated from Highschool in 2002.
After School, I worked for a seasonal photography company. Pay was good, but it was seasonal. I decided I wanted to get into graphic design, and nearly signed up for it, but decided it was not for me. Once my seasonal job died off, I had to quickly find another job in order to pay for my Camaro. I ended up working at Applebee’s as a waiter, but that still didn’t bring in the income I needed to maintain a car payment, insurance and a phone bill.
Next, I got a job at K-Mart. I worked there for about a month before I was fired. Since I did not have a job and I wasn’t going to school, my Step-Dad kicked me out the house. I moved in with my best friend, Matt Houk, from Highschool, who lived two houses down. His parents Jeff and Janet took care of me like I was their own.
Jeff, Janet, Matt, and Nathan, Thank You…
My step-dad wanted the keys to my Camero returned, but I refused to give up my car. Due to high insurance, the car was in his name, and I was the co-signer. He called the cops, and I ended up giving them the keys. He let the car get repossessed while I was away, making a huge negative impact on my barely established credit. If only I knew what I know now, I would have been protected by the Soldier and Sailors Credit Relief Act, as I was shipping off to basic training the next week.
I stopped talking to my Mom after that.
I signed up for the Army in February of 2003, and went to Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning Georgia in April of 2003. On family and graduation day, families came from all around to visit or see their loved one graduate from “boot camp,” but none came for me.
I went to Advanced Individual Training as a 68W, Healthcare Specialist. Prior to graduating, I along with many others was given an additional training opportunity. We all volunteered and were selected for this training but they wouldn’t tell us what it was. It ended up being the Eye Specialty Course (Optometry Technician).
I was awarded the Additional Skill Identifier, and assigned to my first duty station in Vilseck, Germany.
I want to say a year later, right before my 21st birthday, I received a red cross message from my Clinic NCOIC. It was around 2 or 3 am. I was told that my mother had slipped and fell, and that she was in a coma.
My mother had had two strokes previously, when I was in middle school and high school. As a result, she was on a blood thinner called Coumadin. Due to this drug, and her fall, she had bleeding in her brain after her fall. The doctors could do nothing to stop it because of the medication in her system.
My first line supervisor took care of me, he took me to AER and got me a paid flight home. He personally sped me down the autobahn so I could make my flight home.
When I made it home, I was told that my Mother had already been taken off of life support. I was so angry and furious, that I wasn’t even given the chance to make it home!
Mom, I never had a chance to tell you, I’m sorry. I love and miss you. You have six beautiful grandchildren: Landon Ryley Hines, Jayden Galarza, Janaiya Galarza, Mason O’Brian Hines, Maximus Alexander Hines, and Oliver Kingston Hines.