Her name is Ashley Malone. And she is a “story” we should hear about.

Wednesday, as my flight to Syracuse, began, the Captain spoke to the passengers.

“Today, we have the privilege of transporting Veteran ______ to his final resting place. Once we arrive, Officer ______, accompanying him, will exit the plane first. Out of respect for our fallen soldier, I ask that you remain in your seats until the officer exits first. Once he exits, then you will be invited to leave the plane.”

At the end of the flight, it truly was a sacred moment. Silence amongst hundreds of people as the officer performed his sacred duty, escorting a fallen soldier home.

Flashback to July 3.

I received an email from someone I’d never heard of before, Ashley Malone.

Ashley had purchased some items at a thrift store in Marion and found multiple military pieces, pictures, etc., of Clarence Fare upon going through those items.

She spent some time on Google and was able to trace Clarence Fare to me. She reached out asking me if perhaps this was my family member, maybe my granddad, and if I would be interested in receiving those items.

Clarence Fare was my father.

Two weeks after my father died, my marriage ended. So, saying that I wasn’t interested in asking my dad’s wife’s family for his “stuff” would be an understatement. Plus, my dad was a hoarder in his later years, so going through the things in that home was an insurmountable task. I don’t doubt that many of his items ended up floating through the universe somewhere.

Over the past month, Ashley and I have communicated, and once life calms down at the end of this month, she and I are going to meet so she can give me his items.

A few evenings ago, I shared this story with my family and our future in-laws. I was excited to tell my kids that they would have some of their grandfather’s pics from his 22 years in the military. But then the future father-in-law said, “Why don’t we ever hear these stories? We hear all the bad in the world, but things like this never really get the attention they deserve.”

Great point.

This weekend we are talking about the power of love, especially when we give love away!

Wednesday, an airplane full of people, while sitting in silence out of respect, they were giving love away.

Ashley Malone, a veteran herself, instead of holding on to my dad’s artifacts or throwing them away, took her time and energy to find me, to give me a piece of my past. She gives love away.

The world is a better place when we exist to give love away.