Thomas Home Copperas Cove, Texas
The RW&TB is dedicated to my band of brothers both living and dead, the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Bruce and Stony Ages 17 and 19, my fallen Airborne Brothers
Sworn to, "Defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies both foriegn and domestic, so help me God". They are gone but their oath lives in their brothers.
So nigh is grandeur to our dust
So near is God to man,
When duty whispers low, Thou must,
The youth replies, I can.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are old soldiers now
No longer do we jump from the sky screaming “Airborne”
No longer do we cut our way through jungle
No longer do we fight our nation’s battles
No longer do we face the enemy hand to hand
While the heart is willing the body is not
The battles now must be left to the young
We are old soldiers now but left the field with honor
We stood our ground and paid the price
We saw our brother fall with honor
We felt the bullets go into our bodies
We are old soldiers now but we had our day in the sun
As American warriors we lived and as American warriors we’ll die
SEE AMERICAN OF THE MONTH
"THE SINGLE MOM"
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STP & Company
(AKA Emerald Property Management)
Among Area’s Predatory Companies
As a rule when a company is labeled a Predatory Company I am by nature skeptical. I truly believe that the first mandate of any American company large of small should be the creation of as large a profit as possible. The more any company enhances their bottom line the more taxes they will pay, the more folks they will hire and the more good they can do in their community. Unlike many I do not resent or envy but actually admire the business owner’s devotion to the all mighty dollar. That said there are indeed “Predator Companies” that cross the line of decency and basic moral standards in the name of profit.
The definition of a “Predator Company” is one that “Is given to victimizing others for personal gain”. Predator Companies do just that. They take advantage of low income families by the act of profiteering though ludicrous interest and late fees when the victim has no real choice but to contractually agree to such unethical practices.
It is unfortunate that in America communities that have a heavy military and retired veteran population have an inordinate amount of these unethical and opportunistic companies. Common predators that will be found in abundance around a military community are loan companies, auto dealers, rental agencies and rent to own furniture and appliance dealers. Regrettably, both active duty and retried military folks represent ideal targets for predators in the furniture, lending and rental businesses. While the active duty soldier, retired veteran and disabled veteran are folks with modest incomes the income is guaranteed. These two factors in a predominately create a wealth of opportunty for predatory businesses. The modest factor in military related income creates the obvious potential for serious financial problems should unexpected expenses arise. However, the permanent factor of that modest income tells the predator that exorbitant interest and/or inflated late charges can usually be eventually paid. The single veteran mother living on an extremely modest personal income derived from her VA disability pension and child support from her former husband does not expect to ever be late with her rent. However, she also expects the children’s father to meet his court mandated child support. Obviously a mother has no choice than to provide a roof over her children’s heads. She will sign a rental agreement with exorbitant late charges if that is the only way to provide that home for her children. Should through no fault of her own the former husband become a “Dead Beat Dad” and the child support fail to exist basic arithmetic dictates that even with the best of intentions she is simply incapable of paying the rent. Daily expenses such as utilities and food become the only thing this responsible disabled veteran mother can afford.
Should she be renting a home from STP and Company of Harker Heights, Texas she will not be charged the standard 10% to 20% late charges associated with most reputable institutions. She will be charged $25 per day as long a the past rent and accumulated ludicrous late fees have been satisfied. These predatory late fees will of course make a difficult situation impossible. Should she miss a month’s payment even if she is given help from well meaning friends and family the late charges will amount to $750 in a single month. Should she have a friend who pays two months rent for her but fails to pay the enormous late fees the late fees will continue to accumulate. There will be no consideration to forgiving late fees or at least the obvious overcharges by STP. I have personal knowledge of such a case. The single Mom is a dear friend and neighbor of ours. She is an extraordinary lady of exceptional character. When I found out that she was in a difficult situation being two months past due in her rent and court action was being orchestrated by STP to evict her, I aided her by advancing her the two months back rent owed. I also co-signed the lease with STP. I have as is my custom aided the lady in question to achieve a deserved upgrade of her current VA benefits and shortly she will be in a financial position to handle her rent. However, in the mean time this month has been a bit of a personal and financial disaster in that my wife of fifty years who is currently in a nursing home in Round Rock has had three incidents that required my presents out of town. In addition to my lady's problems, I have been hospitalized for a stroke and serious heart procedures requiring permanent stints. It has been impossible for logistical reasons to be present to pay STP. If dealing with a typical firm a simple phone call to the company would have been sufficient to make arrangements to do so. However, I placed five unanswered calls to STP and stopped by their Harker Heights office during business hours eleven times during the month. The company is seldom actually at the office and frankly seems to prefer coming by the renter’s home to collect their money in cash, money order of casher’s check. This lack of common business practice of being able to be contacted when one is late with the rent facilitates the constant increase in the desired late charges that represent pure profit to STP and a hardship to the renter.
I plan to pay the people at STP the back rent and a reasonable late charge. However, I am a bit particular as to what caliber of person I have come by my home and these predators of disadvantaged American veterans don’t qualify. I plan to seek legal council regarding the profiteering of this company. Frankly, I’d be happier paying an attorney thousands of dollars they would honestly earn for their legal service than paying STP hundreds dollars immorally gained. While I am no legal scholar and am certainly not qualified to determine the legality of such predator practices I do know the difference between moral and immoral. The right of such a company to charge such inappropriate late charges and to enhance those late charges by inappropreate business pratice will be a matter for the court and a jury of my peers. However, I like thousands in our community once took an oath that ended, “So help me God” to defend the Constitution of the United States. I shed blood on more than one occasion as a personal testament to that oath. My Constitutional right to voice and print my opinion of the lack of Christian and American business practice of this firm is undeniable. I plead with all honorable fellow veterans to avoid doing business with this firm.
American Businss of the Month
It is normally our practice to name a national company as our RW&TB business of the month. However, for the past 17 years I have done business with a local firm that cries out for special recognition. Our local Century 21 Premier Realtors stands alone as a pure died in the wool American treasure. Robert Herrings Jr. is an old retired senior NCO that runs a great civilian outfit in the tradition of military efficiency with a passion for doing the right thing. Based on a reputation earned in a town in the shadow of Fort Hood the hard working First Sergeant has proven himself to be a man who can be trusted and relied upon by his military brothers and sisters. As is the nature of a quality First Soldier he simply does not accept failure or anything less than complete success in his mission to fill the needs of his people. When you meet Robert or any of his well trained professional staff you are not a customer of a real estate firm. You are one of Robert’s people. He will not attempt to sell you a house. He will find you a home befitting his beloved fellow veteran and your family. Years after your initial contact with Robert Herrings he will not be considered a businessman you have dealt with but a dear and trusted professional friend that can be relied on to do all within his exceptional power to help you and your family in every respect.
Our forefathers once pledged their lives, their fortunes and most importantly their “sacred honor” to each other on behalf of a great nation. I hereby pledge my sacred honor to all my brothers and sisters in arms that Robert Herrings Jr. will treat any veteran with a degree of both professionalism and compassion unparalleled in his industry.
A Tribue to Sid from a Fallen Lady
At the outset let me apologize to my readers regarding the fact that for the better part of the year based on the traumatic turn for the worse in my Georgia’s health I have been out of and frankly will remain out of any activity in the political scene. I hope my constant not only day by day but hour by hour need to put literally all my efforts into my lady’s well being is understood. The trauma of her situation, coupled with the extraordinary financial buden of medical care has demanded the total concentration of all my waking hours. This situation while difficult for close to a year now based on an incident on the 31st of August last year has created a near impossible situation. We will have been wed a half a century this Sept. and that union under God is the greatest blessing the good Lord has ever given an old soldier.
This endorsement of one of the finest Texans and undoubtedly one of the greatest Americans of my time is the singular political involvement I shall undertake this year. The reason I am taking even a matter of minutes to devote to an endeavor other than seeing to the many facets involved in my lady’s well being is based on her devotion and admiration for the man from Stevensville. My lady’s love for Sid Miller has been earned by his Christian concern and treatment of my bride through the years under difficult circumstances. Believe me when I tell you Sid Miller does not fall into the category of being a fair-weather friend. Extra effort is nothing that slows a man of his caliber down.
Prior to the 31st of August last year my bride had suffered three strokes in as many years. The once extraordinary intellect and brilliant mind of the lady Sid and the rest of the world knew well was gone. Her short term memory was greatly damaged and her long term memory was suspect. The horrible fog that cast a shadow around the once extraordinary mind often kept her from the recognition of her own beloved grandchildren. However, when anyone mentioned the name Sid Miller the beautiful smile was back and the most incredible blue eyes in Texas regained their sparkle as she would remark, “He’s my friend in Stevensville. He’s a very nice handsome young man.” While I personally must question the “handsome and young” portion of her description of our old friend, Sid seems to concur with the lady’s positon. Since the 31st of August my bride’s already damaged mental ability has been severely damaged and she now has additional physical health issues. Now when Sid’s name is invoked today there is no verbal comment but the smile and a nod of the head means a great deal to me.
This endorsement of her Sid is something she would insist on were she capable today. Frankly it is with as much or more thought to a tribute to her as it is meant to be an endorsement of our cherished friend Sid Miller. Trust me Sid will understand that.
I shall not elaborate on Sid’s extraordinary and frankly brilliant past service to the people of Texas. I shall not go into the fact that he is hands down the best friend theTexas veteran has ever known. Both are a matter of record and candidly common knowledge. Unlike my past political endorsements this is not an endorsement of a former state representative or an endorsement of a potentially incredible state level administrator. This is the most heart felt declaration I can give from the very depth of the soul of an old soldier and devoted husband of a great lady to Sid Miller the man. There are none finer and every Texan regardless of political views should be aware of that fact.
An American Hero
Georgia and her Nickaby
Fifty years ago this Sept. will mark a half century since the most beautiful blue eyes in Texas floated down the aisle of Main Street Baptist Church in Grand Saline, Texas and agreed to be the bride of a young paratrooper named Bill Thomas. Georgia Thompson had become Georgia Thomas. The young East Texas country girl had began a remarkable journey that would commit her to a life of serving her beloved country and fellow man in a remarkable fashion. Bill was on his way to Okinawa for his first assignment out of Jump School. He was to join the newly formed 173rd Airborne Brigade. The Army didn’t pay for junior enlistedmen’s wives to join them overseas. Obviously airfare fromTexas to Okinawa was not in a PFC’s budget. This would not stop Georgia from what she felt was her Christian duty to be with her husband. She took the words of her Bible literally and believed that “Where thou goest I shall go and were thou lodgest I shall lodge.” She took a job and for six months saved the money to buy a one way ticket to Okinawa. The couple was again due to their rank not authorized government housing so they rented a home in the Japanese community. Almost exactly a year to the day after her arrival in Okinawa Georgia gave birth to the couple’s oldest daughter. Bill’s unit was deployed to the Republic of Vietnam less than a week after the child’s birth. Knowing that her paratrooper husband was no longer in the home three drunks attempted to break into Georgia’s home. By the time they did break in they found a 105 pound little lady with her baby in one arm and a .38 revolver in the other hand. A shot fired over their heads gave the intruders a new meaning on the expression, “Don’t mess with Texas’. They ran form the home in fear for their lives. The basic American concept of defending one’s home and family was deeply routed in the young bride.
Years later after Bill had received a commission he was commanding a unit at Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne Division. A young Sergeant was sent to a school in Fort Eutis, Va. Shortly after the Sergeant’s arrival at Fort Eutis his wife gave premature birth to a son back at Fort Bragg. The hospital staff said the new baby and his mother could be released to go home only if there was round the clock care for the lady at their home. Bill of course instantly decided to recall the young man from school as his family’s needs trumped the immediate need for the school assignment. Bill's orders were countermanded by his bride as she packed her suit case. The commander’s lady declared, “They have two six year old twins at home. Caring for the young woman, a new baby and two little girls is a difficult task. A mere man would just be underfoot.” As she handed her husband a note with the telephone number of the post nursery (Where his children would stay) and instructions as to how to operate the washing machine Georgia said, “I’ve got this”. She checked out the new mother and her baby from the hospital and moved in with them for six weeks. When the young Sergeant returned he found a healthy young wife, a healthy new son and two six year old girls who thought they had a new Grandmother. Among the duties assumed by the officer’s lady met with zeal and devotion were scrubbing floors, cooking meals, reading bed time stories and for the first week bed pan duty for a young woman relegated to complete bed rest. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about my Georgia was that she didn’t grasp why people looked at an officer’s lady scrubbing the floors of a Sergeant’s home as something special. She simply accepted the task as something she should do. She was the unit’s first lady and it was her personal responsibility to take care of “her girls”.
During their retirement Bill and Georgia would choose a modest house in Copperas Cove, Texas as their final home. Bill would write a sports and a political column for the local newspaper. While like nearly all Texans a love for the game of football is part of the couple’s DNA. However, even beyond their love for the Texas national pass time was their fanatical devotion to the high school girl's sports. Believing that the young ladies put forth as much effort as the high school boys but received far less opportunity the couple started a labor of love. They would identify a young lady student athlete who had a financial need but had no offers of financial assistance to play her sport at the college level. Bill would identify colleges he felt would be a good fit for the girl’s skill and academic needs. Georgia would start harassing coaches and athletic directors to arrange a try out for the young lady. Stats and copies of Bill’s published works would be sent to the targeted schools on behalf of the young high school student. Once a try out date was established Georgia would handle the logistics of the trip to the school. The young woman would be loaded into the family car for what normally required an over night trip that would be financed from the Thomas budget. After a successful performance in the tryout Bill would negotiate the terms of the financial assistance offered by the school. The project spanned 17 years and successfully placed 66 girls from 21 high schools in 17 different colleges in a three state area. Georgia has always shunned personal credit for her service to others. Consequently the media credit for this personal family project was always given to Bill. However, the fact is the concept and implementation of this program was principally that of the “Wind beneath his wings”. Georgia did easily 90% of the work for much less than 10% of the credit. That was her way.
My Georgia is and will always be not only my sweetheart but my hero.
Bill and his bride on the campaign trail
Quincyanna Jones (A Soldier's Lady)
See Heroes Page Tab
Perry Carter Williams
Bill and the Boss Lady in Washington
I think the skinny guy had some sort of government job. I don't know what they paid the boy but they gave him a nice house. True it was in a bad neighborhood, but he had better than average security.
See "Gun Control" Tab Under BILL'S TAKE