#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Two Kinds of Winners

First, there are this week’s book winners: Rebecca Dudley and Melanie Whitmore.  Congratulations, both of you!  As always, there is a new contest already underway–two winners will be chosen at random, notified, and announced right here next Monday.   All you have to do to enter is make a comment.  (Sorry if I’m repeating myself, but this info is for newcomers to the blog.  Welcome, one and all!)

There’s a second kind of winner I’d like to mention today, as you might have guessed by the title of this post, best conveyed by a story.  (After all, that’s what I do best–tell stories.  :) )

Last week, after my dental appointment, I decided to do something I usually avoid like the proverbial plague: make a stop at Costco.  I was pushing my cart around, and I passed the pharmacy, where I noticed one of the handsomest young men I’ve ever seen.  He was smiling, well-groomed, chatting with his wife and with the clerk behind the counter, but I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to him, concentrating as I was on buying super-sized versions of my favorite products, as one does at Costco–except for the fact that he was sitting in a wheelchair.  Both legs and one arm were gone, replaced by those new-style artifical limbs.  Yet there he was, looking spiffy in a t-shirt and shorts, tanned and healthy.

Of course I didn’t want to stare, but I sure got a big lump in my throat as I nodded a howdy and looked away.  I’m 99% sure he was a veteran, but even if he wasn’t, he was clearly a hero in the truest sense of the word.  I had to ask myself–Would I be so brave, so happy, so obviously grateful, in his place?  Or would I be curled up somewhere, in a fetal postion, feeling sorry for myself?

To tell you the uncomfortable truth, I’m not sure.

In that serendipitous way life has, I immediately came across an organization working hard to help our veterans readjust to civilian life–Team RWB (red, white and blue).  These forward thinking, generous people offer all sorts of services, and give the rest of us a chance to show our support and compasson, either by volunteering, donating to the cause, or both.  The organization can be found at www.TeamRWB.org.

I’ve believed for a long, long time that we need to provide a re-entry program for our veterans, and here is an outfit making a solid effort.  To me, this isn’t a matter of politics–it’s a matter of people. 

It’s a matter of love.


49 comments to “Two Kinds of Winners”

  1. Deborah Rae Nelson
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:34 pm · Link

    Thanks for the story and heartfelt sentiment. So true.

  2. Teresa
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:35 pm · Link

    I completely understand this blog – I work with a fine young man that has been deployed several times – he last was in 2013, and was injured that time – it was horrible waiting to hear news of how bad the injury was – makes me want to cry just to remember it! They are so brave!! And their families even braver!

  3. Niki Davis
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:41 pm · Link

    There are many Veterans out there that don’t get the care they need. One who look healthy on the outside often suffer just as much as the ones who are physically wounded. I hope and pray that Wounded Warrior would be helping them as well but don’t know for sure. All of our Veterans need our love and support no matter their injury. I am glad that you saw one that was able to cope with his limit ability and was grateful that he was alive. WE should all be grateful for every day that we get.

    Love always,


  4. Andrea Lammly
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:47 pm · Link

    Amen and well said Linda. Our Veterans deserve much more than they are given these days. I have 30 year old twin great-nephews who enlisted in the Marines two days after they graduated high school. They have been in twelve years now and have both made a total of four trips to either Afghanistan or Iraq.
    They are both artillery instructors now and were fortunate to have not returned with the scars the young man you described did but they all bare the mental scars of war. God Bless our Veterans, each and every one.

  5. Gale Sroelov
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:51 pm · Link

    We need to do more for our Vets…it is so disheartening to see how the good ol’ US of A handles our military members. It hurts my soul. We all need to do more, as you just did, to get the word out AND help where and when we can. And MUCH good thoughts to that young gentleman shopping at Costco and his family.

  6. Evelyn Baldwin
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:52 pm · Link

    God Bless are Veterans! I was glad to hear he was out and about! Praise the Lord! Prayers for all with disabilities! I do not get out much, when i do sometimes people say you don’t look sick or disabled. It hurts bad enough with the severe pain and dizziness of severe spinal scoliosis and severe fibromyalgia! I would never wish anyone to walk in my shoes for even five minutes! I praise Jesus for getting me up out of bed each day! I love my books! I have to lay down to read them, cannot sit long, due to my jerking! Thank you for this post and the information. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing! God Bless, love, Evelyn

  7. Barbara Callihan
      · August 10th, 2015 at 1:55 pm · Link

    Right now I’m so upset with the VA. They can’t find my husbands military records from the Army Reserve 1964-1970.
    I sure hope this young man you saw in Costco, if in fact he is a veteran, is treated with respect from the military.

  8. pat Dennis
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:02 pm · Link

    Our veterans need so much help it breaks my heart.

  9. Regina Merchant
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:14 pm · Link

    I DEFINITELY agree Linda!!!! I try to make it a point to speak to as many men/ladies in uniform that I see thanking them for their service to our country. After reading the book by Chris Kyle and seeing the movie American Sniper, I am more actively trying to let veterans know how much I appreciate them, their families and their service to our country. My Dad was a Korean War Vet — he wouldn’t talk about his time in Korea much but was a very proud veteran and love his country.

  10. Lorraine Pitts
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:22 pm · Link

    All I can say is Amen!!!

  11. Dixie Hadley
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:22 pm · Link

    Linda, Thank you for a wonderful post today. We must never forget the sacrifice that our service men and women have made on our behalf.
    many of us have handicaps that aren’t always visible. Sometimes it’s a wounded heart, but it is my prayer that the broken hearted will come to know that God is the Master Physician, healer of all afflictions. Come to know that He will heal the broken heart- He healed mine and I love to tell my story :-)

  12. Sherry Wallace
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:26 pm · Link

    Yes, so true Linda, & I feel the same way – many of us do!! How can so much concern & money be spent on illegals when our own veterans are in need!!! God bless our veterans, we wouldn’t be living in a free country without them!!

  13. Dotty Weis
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:32 pm · Link

    You are so right about love and people lets get the politics out of our veterans

  14. Kathy
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:33 pm · Link

    I heartily agree! Veterans are our heroes. Many people forget or don’t even think about military families and the sacrifices they make everyday. It’s time for this country to step up and recognize our veterans who gave us the freedoms we enjoy.

  15. Gloria
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:47 pm · Link

    Congratulations to Rebecca Dudley and Melanie Whitmore!!

    I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve read, more than once, that our president has said…”THEY’ know the risks going in, let them pay for their own health insurance….

    Whether this is true, or not, this is just about the attitude of most of the government about our veterans. Our veterans and our active service men and women deserve better treatment that what they’re getting, especially since the ones they’re protecting are getting all the protection, benefits and perks. Without our service men and women, past and present, they’d not be able to enjoy all that.

    God Bless our veterans, active, or non-active…they are paying the price for all of us.

    And, God Bless you, Linda, for talking about it.

  16. Sharon S.
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:51 pm · Link

    I agree with you Linda. We just don’t treat our veterans OR our elderly the way they should be treated.

  17. Teresa Woodby
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:54 pm · Link

    Ms.Miller there are a of vets war & peace time vets. They give so much. They do/did a lot for us. My little brother is becoming a vet trying to go thru all the channels & paperwork. They’re special people some stories they share are funny, scary, tearful(yet most won’t cry not in public). Some stories you just can’t share others just with veterans. The are brave families are also. Although anyone losing a limb, disfigured in any way are brave & strong. Bless them all. Anyway, want to say, love your stories. Will be catching up with some of them soon. Way to far behind. Jumping a road like a frog.

  18. Virginia H
      · August 10th, 2015 at 2:58 pm · Link

    I agree with you Linda, we don’t do enough for our veterans and yes they should have free medical that they don’t get. My husband was in the air force back in the early 70’s and he didn’t get injured or anything, thank God but he really doesn’t have any benefits from his time served other then we did get 10% off or a refridgerator at Lowes during the 4th of July sales because he was a veteran. His father was also a veteran and when he got to where we couldn’t take care of him at home he did get into a veteran nursing home which was a very nice place but it still cost quite a bit to put him there. He was 87 when he past away. Lets face it we just don’t do enough for the men and woman that serve our country.

  19. Ruby Norwood
      · August 10th, 2015 at 3:08 pm · Link

    Congratulations to the winners this week!! I know exactly what you mean Linda, our veterans don’t every get the respect for all they do for us. I got to say that our pastor always pray for our men and women that are in the service every Sunday. Well, Well said Linda!!

  20. Mary Goodman
      · August 10th, 2015 at 3:11 pm · Link

    I agree we don’t do enough for our Vets.We forget to thank them for doing something most of us would never do.How blessed are we that there are more men and women willing to put their lives on the line for our freedom?

  21. Goldie Hale
      · August 10th, 2015 at 3:13 pm · Link

    He was a Hero!!!

  22. 70dlilly
      · August 10th, 2015 at 3:32 pm · Link

    These individuals who have served our country deserve our deepest gratitude. My father-in-law was a veteran of the second World War. My son-in-law is a recent veteran of the Air Force. I have the utmost resepect for both of them and every veteran of the armed service. I have tried to give a donation each year to Paralyzed Veterans of America and Wounded Warriors (Country Singer, Trace Akins promotes this organization.) These two organizations work with veterans who have been injured in some way and help them learn how to do every day tasks that are difficult for them. Paralyzed Veterans also employs wounded vets to help them support themselves. I owe my freedom to these couragous individual.

  23. Melaine
      · August 10th, 2015 at 3:45 pm · Link

    Great story. So glad you included the information on Team RWB.

  24. Renae Kinsey
      · August 10th, 2015 at 3:57 pm · Link

    Well said!!!! And an Amen!

  25. Kathryn Riley
      · August 10th, 2015 at 4:25 pm · Link

    Thank you for the reminder. We all tend to curl in upon ourselves
    and our own problems, forgetting that others have much bigger ones. We’re losing our dream home to forclosure in a few weeks,
    and feeling mighty sorry for ourselves. I’ve been trying to remember all the blessings in our lives, and your blog brought them to the forefront.

    Thanks again,

    • Gloria
        · August 10th, 2015 at 9:18 pm · Link

      I’m sorry you’re losing your dream home and I will pray for a miracle for you. Everyone should have a dream home.

      I have mine but can’t live in it because it isn’t livable, and as I am getting older every day, I am losing hope that I ever will get to live in it, but I still hope and pray that everyone can have and enjoy a few dreams along the way.

      Who knows, at the last minute, God can send you the miracle you need to keep yours. All I can do is pray for you, and all the service people who need homes they can get around in and try to take care of themselves.

    • linda
        · August 17th, 2015 at 3:00 pm · Link

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re having a hard time. I truly believe God will give you something better.

  26. Linda Solcich
      · August 10th, 2015 at 4:32 pm · Link

    It’s something that you would bring this up now. I have been reading a story about veterans with missing limbs, how they cope etc. As a result I have been asking myself how would I react. It is so hard to say.

    I have learned so much that never entered my mind about what these people are going through trying to get back to life. They are all heroes, just for accomplishing such a task

  27. Kathryn parsons
      · August 10th, 2015 at 4:37 pm · Link

    I so agree with you linda about the wonderful man you saw at cosco, you know that not a lot of people are very gratful for what they have done for us or what it has cost them to do it, I am so glad that that HERO has such a wonderful loving family and out look on things to be happy that way, he has survived and is a better person for it, hope that we all have such wonderful angels watching over us and teaching us, b/c of your books that i have read and my daughter has read now she says she wants to move to montana and marry a cowboy…lol thanks so much for that Linda…lol she will be 14 sept 1, she went to the dentist today and got a back baby moller pulled the last one and her teeth cleaned and sealant on, so she isn’t very happy with me…lol someday she might thank me when she is older and can still eat steak…lol have a blessed day..xoxo

  28. Diane Blaser
      · August 10th, 2015 at 4:51 pm · Link

    On days when my health issues seem overwhelming I think about our returning veterans and their families and then I count my blessings. Thank you for reminding us all to help others, especially our brave men and women in uniform and our veterans, to whom we owe so much!

  29. therese lopez
      · August 10th, 2015 at 4:59 pm · Link

    You are so right, we are not doing enough for our Veterans. They deserve so much more. I hope that as a country we will start to do more for them. Thank you for reminding us that we all need to help each other when we can. Hope you have an awesome week.

  30. roz goodenough
      · August 10th, 2015 at 5:44 pm · Link

    Thank you Linda. I worked in a nursing home for 41 yrs and met some grateful, cheerful residents there. I used to marvel at their attitude because I don’t think I could have been so brave. I said to one lady, “I sure wish I didn’t have to worry about working everyday”. She answered, “I’d give anything if I could go to work everyday”! I sure felt like 2 cents for not being grateful for what I had.

  31. Linda Beaudoin
      · August 10th, 2015 at 5:48 pm · Link

    No matter if he was a veteran or not, he is a hero for his wonderful attitude.

  32. carole
      · August 10th, 2015 at 7:13 pm · Link

    Congrats to the winners! He sure is a hero-I have a friend that came home without his leg and he’s in great shape, even though it took him a while to get his head on straight! I thank him and all the others everyday for they fought for our country and our freedom. They need more help then they are getting and some need help before they harm themselves. Have a good week!

  33. Leanna
      · August 10th, 2015 at 8:29 pm · Link

    It was great that you saw past the disability, that does not make the person. I am disabled and I always worry that people will prejudge me or think I must be mentally disabled as well when I graduated from college with a 3.92 GPA.

    • Gloria
        · August 10th, 2015 at 9:11 pm · Link


  34. Belinda Sawyers
      · August 10th, 2015 at 9:05 pm · Link

    Love your books always look forward to the next one.

  35. Terri
      · August 10th, 2015 at 9:19 pm · Link

    There are so many veterans with injuries from this war and they are so brave. They are not only physically injured but emotionally injured also. We all need to stand behind them and give them a lot of live and support.

  36. Gloria Jenkins
      · August 10th, 2015 at 11:05 pm · Link

    I work at Costco in Fairfax Virginia. In our area we have a number of military bases, everyday I see men and women in uniform I thank them for their service. I’m humble and great full for these members of our Military who protect our country and for our freedom. My father was a Korean War veteran and he to paid the price for our country. We should all stop and thank all who have served and are still serving. God bless them all and God bless America.

  37. Beverly Harris
      · August 11th, 2015 at 12:17 am · Link

    I agree. Recently the title hero was given to a person who was NOT a hero.

  38. Peggy Casey
      · August 11th, 2015 at 1:00 am · Link

    Thank you for sharing this. There are so many of our Veterans who have served so bravely and given such sacrifices and our society is lacking when it comes for not only the respect that we give each and every person who has served, but the poor care and resources that they are receiving leaves me feeling shame for the weakness in the current system of services and support.

  39. diane wade
      · August 11th, 2015 at 8:33 am · Link

    I agree. we need more programs and help for our vets, after all they are giving their all for us!

  40. Rose Moran
      · August 11th, 2015 at 8:48 am · Link

    What gets me is that the people / our veterans need outside help instead of the government providing for them. The government sent them to war but??? I see the commercials on TV to send $19.00/mo to help the vets. Wish I had the money to do it.

  41. Charlotte Litton
      · August 11th, 2015 at 11:23 am · Link

    I’ve always thought about how I would handle being in a wheelchair let alone losing a limb. I’m not sure if I would that brave. I’m so thankful that they have programs to help our veterans, of course it’s not enough, but it’s a start.

  42. Roberta Giordano
      · August 11th, 2015 at 3:23 pm · Link

    Congratulations to the winners ! And may God Bless our veterans. They are real heroes !!

  43. Donamae Kutska
      · August 12th, 2015 at 3:50 am · Link

    I know what you mean, I feel the same way. Such brave people they are, how do they go on with ther lives?

  44. Eriko
      · August 13th, 2015 at 10:13 am · Link

    You always find the goodness in everyone and everything you see! I love that!

  45. Pamela Black
      · August 13th, 2015 at 10:27 am · Link

    I am not a veteran but however I am an amputee due to a
    Horrible car accident. I find people starring at me a lot. But
    It hurts when an adult stares at you looks you up and down then turns away as if discussed that you’ve lost a limb. I can understand when children look and are curious but it hurts the most when the adults do it. Like I said. They look at you as if you are the lowest scum of the earth.
    Just like the veterans people don’t know the whole story behind the lost of the limbs. Everybody should stop and think before they make judgments. But it is nice to get a smile once in a while.

  46. Dona kutska
      · August 14th, 2015 at 2:44 am · Link

    I really enjoy your posts and books,
    Of course!

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