Captain Ryan Voltin reminds us that we are to pray for the wounded warriors of our nation.
Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada with a Memorial Day story.
And we're hearing plenty of touching stories, aren't we, especially as so many American servicemen and women return home from Afghanistan bearing wounds of conflict. As I shared with you before, when we travel (especially going through airports), my husband Ken and I always make it a regular practice to thank military personnel we see in uniform. I hope you would do the same. It's why we so love taking part in our Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaways—that is, Family Retreats that we hold for wounded American servicemen and their families.
And being involved in these getaways, we hear stories that touch our hearts. I'm thinking of a recent story shared by a former captain in the Marines, Capt. Ryan Voltin. While he was flying his helicopter in a training exercise in the Middle East, he was hit by friendly fire; his helicopter exploded in flames and crashed to the ground. Capt. Voltin lost his leg and was horribly burned over 80% of his body … All because his helicopter was mistaken for enemy aircraft; it was a terrible, tragic accident. Capt. Voltin learned to walk with a prosthetic leg; and he's gone through numerous surgeries to repair the burns on his body; he's out of the military now and serves as a flight instructor near Camp Pendleton outside of San Diego.
But recently, we received an e-mail from Capt. Voltin. He asked us for prayer for the families of seven Marines who, earlier this year, were killed in a tragic helicopter accident in a training exercise at Camp Pendleton. Can you imagine? Seven of our American service men killed in an accident on our own shore! One of the Marines who was killed was a very close friend of Capt. Voltin's. He told us that this fellow Marine served with him in the Middle East; in fact, he was a friend who heroically helped rescue Capt. Voltin out of his own helicopter that crashed. Ryan Voltin owed this Marine his life. But as he shared in his e-mail, Capt. Voltin wanted us to understand that his Marine friend still lost his life in service to his country—it may have been a tragic accident in a training helicopter, but he was still serving his country. Ryan closed his e-mail asking us to pray for the families of those seven Marines who lost their lives.
And on this Memorial Day, I am asking you to do the same … would you please? First Timothy chapter 2 tells us to pray for all those in authority—and that includes the military. Pray especially for the families of these seven Marines—pray for all those who have lost loved ones in service to our country. And to remind you to continue to pray, I’d like to send you a lapel pin in the shape of a cross—it has the colors of the American flag on it, a fitting reminder to pray for the salvation of these American families who are in such need of help and hope. It’s a striking little lapel pin that is sure to get folks attention. And when they ask you about this unusual pin, you can tell them that it is a reminder to you to lift up all those with special needs like Cpt. Ryan Voltin and the family of his Marine friend who lost his life. I’d like to send you this pin for free, so please visit my radio page today at joniandfriends.org and ask for yours. We have a limited supply, so we can only provide one per family. So be sure to go on line today to joniandfriends.org. Finally, make sure when you see someone in military uniform today, make certain to thank them, and let them know you’re praying for them, their friends, and their families. Have a blessed Memorial Day from all of us at Joni and Friends.
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