My Refuge During Tough Times
Edmund L. • Houston , TX • Chicken Soup Connoisseur
Why did you enlist?
Growing up in the Caribbean, I loved Army movies. I just remember the camaraderie between the soldiers and I thought, I want to do this one day if I have the chance. I came to America when I was nineteen and signed up to join the Army a month later.
Who helped you cope with relocations and/or deployments?
Friends and family were always my refuge when times got a bit tough serving overseas. They could always give you that small piece of home when you spoke to them, even if they truly had no idea about what you went through to serve your country. My brother actually served with me so we shared a connection…we’re always soldiers. And my grandmother has always been my support system…she raised me. After a mission, it would give me a sense of normalcy to call her.
The USO did a lot…they brought Bo Jackson down, had music and game rooms, computers and phones. So when I get the chance I like to give back to the USO by donating money and food, all with the help of Kroger.
What did you learn about yourself through your military experience?
I didn’t want to be in the forefront at first but once I embraced it, I found myself leading fellow troops. I was the youngest in my squad, twenty-two or twenty-three, but my sergeant saw something in me. So I discovered this… I find joy in helping others succeed even though they can’t see their true potential. I believe in second chances. And the right leader at the right time can make a world of difference in someone’s life.
What did you miss most from home?
If you speak to anyone from the islands, we like to have a good time. So any chance to get together with food and drinks…I missed that.
We often hear after friends and family, a taste of home is what our servicemembers miss the most. What home-cooked meal did you crave when you were away?
In my culture, cooking a “one pot” is a great way to get people together to eat, drink and have a good time. So I would say my grandmother’s Caribbean-style chicken and dumpling soup was what I craved the most. The special thing about it was that she didn’t do it for herself…she did it for everybody else. It was serving others…and that’s why serving others has come natural and easy to me.