A Heartfelt Thank-You from Mickey...
WHAT CAN I SAY? What a wonderful surprise! Never in my dreams!!! I am glad I wasn't standing in front of all of you when my kids surprised me with the 457th letter and check--------You would have only heard a lot of crying, "I can't believe this", "Oh, my goodness", and then more crying.
I read all your notes saying you wanted to thank Homer for all he did for the group that he founded, and to thank me for helping him. He already had all the thanks he wanted with all the letters from newfound Veterans, and/or their Sons, Daughters, Brothers, Sisters, Grandchildren, and their fellow buddies from the war...all asking for lost, or any known information on their loved one, what happened to them or what they had done during the war.
To begin with, Homer found a buddy, by chance, in Bentonville at a service station (he had not had contact with since coming home). After talking, Homer invited he and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Ken Rurode (IA) home and they called Hurchel Teague and his wife with whom Homer had exchanged Christmas cards. They decided to have a reunion of the line men that they knew. After placing an ad in large city newspapers and magazines in 1971 for 749th sqd of the 457th BG, so many letters came back asking to have a 457th reunion with all units assigned to the BG. This led us to Ken Blakeborough who had some names and addresses and had written a book. So, the first reunion was in Bentonville with 29 men and their families, which grew to what we have today.
We have found, or they found us, other BGs, information on downed B17s, stories of what happened to lost buddies, buddies finding buddies, England, Belgium, France, and on and on. Families of deceased finding buddies and information about their loved ones....then here we are, making friends with 457th's families.
Homer was rewarded by finding information and putting people together. Each reunion when buddies and families greeted each other for the first time since the war, or from the last reunion, and the tears in the guy's eyes, all filled Homer's heart with happiness, that he had had a little bit to do in helping this along. At the last reunion in Colorado, I saw, at registration, two men with tears as they saw each other and talked a few minutes. The banquet had many-many happy people sharing time together.
Thank you so much for this added honor in Homer's name. I know in Heaven, he was smiling.
Thank you once again for your most generous gift. Best wishes and good health to all. God Bless all of our loved ones in the service.
Please note: change of area code for Mickey...from (501) to (479)-273-3908 Mickey Briggs 811 NW B Street Bentonville, AR 72712