Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Coins

I realized there was a little story that I hadn't posted about. When Taylor was going to Bethesda for her medical testing, we knew it was going to be really close to the Marine Corps birthday. We had contacted Sgt. Grits and told them of Taylor and her going to visit the wounded. They immediately sent her some beautiful birthday coins to give out to the wounded. Unfortunately, the coins came in after we left and she wasn't able to hand deliver them to those she visited. When we got back home, the coins were here and she was able to send them back to the National Naval Medical Center to be given out to those that she visited.

We had an idea though. I am sure you have read about Taylor being able to fly back to DC a few weeks after her medical testing with the WWll veterans for the day. She thought who better to get some of those birthday coins then some WWll veterans! As it happened to be, the minute she walked into the airport terminal, she saw a man sitting there with a Marine hat and she immediately walked over and shook his hand and said 'Happy Birthday Marine' You should have seen the look on this old man's face! He stared at her deeply and intently for what seemed forever, then his face softened and he reached out his hand and said thank you. She had one of those coins in her hand and as they shook, she slipped it from her hand to his.

He opened his hand and looked at what was held in his palm. He looked at her and gave her a wonderful smile. Once she told him she was a Gunny, boy did he ever straiten up his stand! Once in DC, they were buddies while walking around and Taylor was able to hand out more birthday coins that day to many other WWll veterans.

Because I wasn't there in DC with her, I wasn't able to get pictures of her handing these out, but I did get one of her giving out her first one and through that simple hand shake, saying Happy Birthday and handing over a coin, Taylor gained yet another new friend.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Taylor Batten!

Jan. 23 was Taylor's birthday. First off, I want to thank everyone for their overwhelming wishes for her! She got phone calls from all over the United States not to mention all the emails and cards she got. All the way from Iraq, California to New York.

She got a special surprise in the form of a beautiful floral arrangement. The 2 wonderful ladies that sent it to her said that while she may be a hardened Gunny, she is still a young lady! Thank you!

Taylor got a rifle/shotgun combo. She has wanted to have her own rifle for awhile now. She has taken the hunter safety course with her younger brother as well as what she was taught at Camp Lejeune about safety. She also got some other training in her Explorer program with the sheriff department. Do I need to say how excited she was? The girl would have slept with it had I allowed it!

It is always during her birthday celebration that I am able to sit back and just marvel at Taylor. That is when I am able to reflect on just what a wondrous gift she is to us. She beat the odds by even being born. Remember, with her medical condition, less then ONE PERCENT even survive birth. I think back to all her hard struggles she faces each and every day with each and every breath she takes. Yet, she never gives up, she keeps moving forward and fights. She not only fights for herself, but she fights for others as well.

She got an email that really brought me to tears and made me realize once again, she is not only a gift to our family, but to others as well. The fight she fights, encourages others and I wanted to share part of that email with you:

I waited until today to send this because I wanted you to understand a few things about me, Gunny. I have the utmost respect for you! You are the fighter that inspires me when my cancer gets me down. I think of such a beautiful young lady fighting the good fight and I feel so much better. When the Good Lord gave us you, Gunny, He gave us a precious gem to be admired from avery angle. You are inspirations to alot of old Fellows that have lived our lives and forget that you are going on your way, carrying out your everyday affairs and such. It is with great pleasure that I wish you a Very Happy Birthday, and I hope God grants you many, many more, as I know he will. Happy Birthday Gunny Taylor, from this old broken down Marine.

She also had her free throw contest and won once again. For this particular contest, this is the 4th year in a row she has won the 1st round. It has always amazed us how she does it. She is this tiny little thing, with great visual spatial difficulties. Yet, for about the last 5 years, she has been able to stand at the free throw line and make shot after shot. She can even stand BEHIND the 3 point line and swish it in! She beats the big boys and no one ever seems to want to challenge her because they know it is a losing cause.