Category Archives: Writing

Writing Marathon Piece

The Rolling Prairie

I step onto the squishy soil beneath me, and inhale the fresh air.

My lungs have never breathed anything this clean.

The landscape was untouched by humanity,

staring at me awaiting my arrival.

 

No sound to be heard, no breeze to be felt.

Distant trees in the horizon,

binding the prairie within.

How have I not experienced this before?

This beauty sitting on my front door.

 

A shock of reality and I accept my surroundings.

This is a part of my history.

This is a part of me.

A Day on the Water (Revised)

A Day on the Water

I step outside and feel the crisp air around me.

I sense the calmness of the water within me.

The breeze feels cool and whistles around me,

As I ready myself for a good day of fishing.

 

Chase, Noah, and I prepare our rods,

And cast out our lines into the crystal clear Nebraska water.

And in a matter of seconds I hook onto a healthy largemouth bass.

As it jumps and fights the water glistens in the air.

The reflection is blinding to my eyes.

 

I pull the fish to the bank,

Its scales shine in the morning sun.

I release it back to its home.

And watch it swim gracefully away.

Need for Blood Donations Rising, Number of Donors Lowering

How important is donating blood for the country? How important is a blood transfusion for the lives of patients needing them? In recent years, the need for blood donations is increasing, however the number of donors is decreasing. There are many patients waiting in hospitals for whole blood transfusions, and other types of transfusions. But due to donor deferral, and statistics showing mal-effects of blood donation, the amount of donors is decreasing. This problem is evident throughout America, but is also affecting our local community of Lincoln, Nebraska. Organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Nebraska Community Blood Bank work each day to help solve the problem of low donor numbers, and high need for blood throughout the community of Lincoln, and nationally. Efforts such as advertisement, and increased number of blood drives are used to try and increase number of donors per year. But factors such as donor deferral, and mal-effects of blood donation begin to cause people to refuse to donate blood. And most often, people don’t even consider donating blood because they either don’t care, or they are not aware of it being available.

To completely understand the topic of blood donation and what is associated with it, it is important to know what a blood transfusion (the typical use of the blood that is donated) is. Also the many types of blood transfusions that are used to treat patients, and the parts of blood used and their purpose in the treatment process.

Firstly, a blood transfusion “is a safe, common procedure in which blood is given to you through an intravenous (IV) line in one of your blood vessels” (“What is a Blood Transfusion?”). According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, blood transfusions are done to replace blood lost in a patient during surgery or trauma. They are also done when a patient is suffering from an illness that affects the body’s ability to create proper blood. These factors help enforce the claim that blood transfusions are vital for the lives of patients needing that type of treatment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, along with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute gives a statistic that helps enforce the claim that the need for blood donations is vitally important for the lives of patients in need. In America, almost 5 million people per year need a blood transfusion (“What is a Blood Transfusion?”). And taking a look at The Nebraska Community Blood Bank’s website, they inform each visitor that “every 2 seconds someone needs blood” (Nebraska Community Blood Bank)

Secondly, there are many types of blood donations, and blood transfusions. And these transfusions are used in order to treat certain conditions. The American Cancer Society has extensive information on the different types of blood transfusions, and the specific purposes of each type. The most common type of blood transfusion is a red blood cell transfusion. A red blood cell transfusion is most often used to treat anemia, or low red blood cell counts, or for patients with a low hemoglobin level. Along with that, red blood cell transfusions are used for patients in surgery. To add, the parts of blood are “red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma” (What is a Blood Transfusion?”). And these parts of blood are collected through whole blood donations, double red cell donations, and platelet donations (NCBB).

Another type of transfusion is a plasma transfusion. “Plasma can be donated in a process called apheresis, or sometimes called plasmapheresis” (“Blood Transfusions for People with Cancer”). A specific condition that requires plasmapheresis to treat it is called Multiple Myeloma. Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Along with multiple myeloma, a plasma transplant is used to treat people who are not able to clot their blood correctly. Plasma, once donated, is usually frozen and stored for up to a year. Platelets, like plasma, are transfused into patients who are not able to clot correctly. However, platelets are not identified by type. So unlike other parts of blood, platelets are universal and anyone is able accept them. “Platelets can also be collected by apheresis. This is sometimes called plateletpheresis” (“Blood Transfusions for People with Cancer”). According to the American Cancer Society platelet transfusions are used to not only treat patients who are unable to clot, but they are also used to treat patients whose bone marrow cells don’t create enough platelets. This problem is caused by chemo or radiation therapy.

There are two other types of transfusions, cryoprecipitate transfusions, and white blood cell transfusions. Cryoprecipitate “is the name given to the small fraction of plasma that separates out (precipitates) when plasma is frozen and then thawed in the refrigerator” (Blood Transfusions for People with Cancer”). These transfusions are given to patients who are missing critical blood clotting factors such as Factor VIII, Von Willebrand Factor, and Fibrinogen. However, this is a rare type of transfusion. Along with cryoprecipitate, there is one last type of transfusion which is a white blood cell transfusion. White blood cell transfusions are used when white blood cells are damaged due to chemotherapy, or when patients show critically low white blood cell counts. Like cryoprecipitate transfusions, white blood cell transfusions are quite rare due to new drugs that replace the need for transfusions. These drugs are known as “colony-stimulating factors or growth factors” (“Blood Transfusions for People with Cancer”).

Although types of transfusions is important, an even more important part of blood transfusions and blood donation is blood type, and the parts of the blood. There are many types of blood which include, A, B, AB, and O. And each type is either positive or negative. Transfusions depend on the type of blood because blood type has to match the type of the patient when a transfusion occurs. However, type O blood is universal. The parts of blood are “red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma” (What is a Blood Transfusion?”). During a blood donation, the blood bank conducting the drive “collect, test, and store blood” (“What is a Blood Transfusion?”). And before donating, phlebotomists, test blood to make sure donors are healthy enough to donate and to determine each donor’s blood type. Phlebotomists “draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations. Some explain their work to patients and provide assistance when patients exhibit adverse reactions after their blood is drawn” (“Phlebotomists”). A phlebotomist is an important part of the donation/transfusion process.

Along with the definition of a blood transfusion and information about blood transfusions and donation, it is also important to understand who requires blood transfusions for treatment. How many people are waiting for/receiving transfusions in America per year? To reinforce the statistic, there are approximately five million people in America that wait for/receive a blood transfusion per year. Within that five million, patients requiring blood transfusions for treatment range from cancer patients, patients suffering from diseases of the blood, and trauma patients. According to the American Cancer Society, “some cancers cause internal bleeding which can lead to anemia from low red cell counts.” Their findings show that low red blood cell counts are usually what causes a patient to need a transfusion. Specifically, cancers of the bone marrow such as leukemia, or cancers that originate from blood-making cells cause low blood counts. Cancer also affects blood counts by affecting organs such as the kidneys and the spleen, which are both extremely important in the blood filtration process. Along with cancer’s individual effects on the blood of a patient, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and bone marrow transplants sometimes cause a need for a transfusion (“Blood Transfusions for People with Cancer”).

Although blood transfusions are often a useful treatment for the effects of certain cancers, there are also patients suffering from other diseases that are in grave need of a blood transfusion. An article written by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on “Who Needs a Blood Transfusion?” there are many different disorders and diseases that require a blood transfusion to treat it. Severe infections and liver disease impedes the body’s ability to create blood, so a transfusion is used to give the patient healthy blood while they are recovering. Also illnesses that cause anemia, which include a wide variety of illnesses and diseases, require a blood transfusion to help treat the patient. Lastly, bleeding disorders often cause patients to need a blood transfusion for in most cases survival. An example of a bleeding disorder is hemophilia. (“Who Needs a Blood Transfusion?”).

The last example of a patient who is most likely a candidate for a blood transfusion is a patient who experienced bleeding during surgery, or a traumatic injury. Blood transfusions are a “vital and integral part of modern health care” (Kaur et al. 103). Severe injuries from war, car crashes, or natural disasters that result in blood loss require blood transfusions for treatment. Also, an interesting fact given by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “about one-third of all heart surgery patients have a transfusion” (“Who Needs a Blood Transfusion?”).

This compilation of knowledge regarding blood donation and transfusion leads to a few questions. If this is such a problem, why isn’t anyone stepping forward and changing the system?” There are organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Nebraska Community Blood Bank that work to solve this problem, but why are donor counts still low? What causes people to donate blood? And what causes people not to donate blood? How has donor deferral been such an impacting factor on the amount of blood donations in recent history? And how has the effects of donating blood seen in others caused others not to donate?
When considering an option to solve the problem of low blood donation counts, it is important to know what causes people not to donate. It is also important to know what causes people to donate, and to use that information to influence those who choose not to. A study done in 2007 by B. Nilsson Sojka and P. Sojka of the Department of Laboratory Medicine (Transfusion Medicine), and Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation (Rehabilitation Medicine) investigated the motives for donating blood along with some reasons for why people don’t donate blood. To conduct this study they administered a questionnaire to 600 blood donors with a history of at least one previous whole blood donation. Although they administered to 600 people, only 531 people actually filled out the survey. Once the survey was finished, it was concluded that “altruism was the most common general motive for donating blood and also for continuing to be an active donor” (Sojka and Sojka, 56). According to Meriam Webster’s Dictionary, altruism is an “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.” In other words, altruism is doing something due to the belief that someone is in need of your help. Along with altruism, the second most common reason for why people donate blood was social responsibility/obligation (Sojka and Sojka, 56). In this case, the donor feels like because they are healthy and able to donate, it is their social duty to give to others. According to the study done by Sojka and Sojka, other reasons for why people donate that the study found were influence from friends, health care occupation, and recruitment by blood bank or military service.

When trying to help increase the amount of blood donors, knowing what causes people to donate blood is extremely important. But there are also factors that cause people to not donate. The most common reason for why people choose not to donate blood was laziness. “This reason was reported by 19.1% of the donors,” (Sojka and Sojka, 61). And the second most common reason for why people chose not to donate blood was a fear of needles. However, when considering the mass amount of patients that are in need of a blood transfusion per year (five million), it is quite sad that laziness is the leading cause of low donor counts.

Secondly, an interesting question to consider when analyzing why blood donation needs to increase is, “How has donor deferral been such an impacting factor on the amount of blood donors in recent history?” A study done between 2001 and 2006 aimed to “analyze actual deferral and return donation data from the American Red Cross to further assess the impact of donor deferral on donor availability” (Zou et. al, 2531). When conducting the study, they analyzed the deferred donors and classified them into three groups based on their donation history. No prior donation or deferral, prior donation but no deferral, and prior deferral. “A mean (average) of 12.8 percent of a total of 47,814,370 donor presentations between 2001 and 2006 resulted in a deferral” and “an additional 1,042,743 donors were lost due to deferrals for donor safety-related reasons during the same period” (Zou et. al, 2531). Out of the total donor presentations in a five year span, 7,162,928 of those donors were deferred from donating. That still leaves around 40 million people that were not deferred. However, according to the author this number leads to one conclusion. “The results call attention to the impact of donor deferrals on donor availability and the need to monitor and assess the necessity and effectiveness of such deferrals” (Zou et al, 2538). To eliminate some of that massive number that is causing a drop in donation counts and blood units available the deferral process needs to be addressed. If the process is minimized without compromising safety, it only allows for an increase in donation counts per year.

Lastly, a reason why blood donor counts are not completely compensating for the great need for blood units is the effects of donating blood seen in other donors. These effects, when made known to first-time donors especially, along with returning donors, often deters people from donating blood. A study was done in 2003 with a goal to report adverse effects in blood donors after donating whole-blood. During this study, 1000 donors were examined three weeks after they gave a whole-blood donation. “Thirty-six percent of the donors had one or more adverse effects. The most common systemic adverse effect was fatigue (7.8%)” (Newman et al. 598). Along with fatigue, bruising, soreness, and hematomas were common effect of whole-blood donation. Although the study wasn’t intended to give reason to why people choose not to donate, a simple deduction can be made. Once a potential donor who is hesitant to donate hears about people experiencing these effects, it causes them to change their mind. With this study finding many different adverse effects, there is possibility that this information causes potential donors to make a final decision. To not donate their blood. Instead of sharing adverse effects of donating, advertisement should be made to show the positive effects of donating blood on the lives of donors and transfusion recipients.

There are endless statistics and facts that attempt prove that there is a problem within the blood donation/transfusion system. However it’s believable when the problem is publicized within popular media. According to an article written by Mikaela Conley for ABC News, in 2012 “The American Red Cross today reported dangerously low levels of blood and platelet supplies, with 50,000 fewer blood donations than expected for the month of June” (Conley). Along with that statistic, Stephanie Millian, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross reported that “donations are down more than 10 percent across the country,” and that “We have almost half the amount of available blood on the shelves compared to last year” (Conley). This problem is real. There is a need for 38,000 units of blood every day for patients throughout the United States according to Stephanie Millian. If the Red Cross is losing 50,000 donations per month, that results in at least 600,000 units of blood not donated per year. With this knowledge, it emphasizes how important it is to spread awareness. How blood donation is vital for the well-being of the community of Lincoln, and the entire country.

Although the need for blood donations is increasing due to the extremely high amount of patients whose treatment demands a blood transfusion each year, the amount of donations are not keeping up. Factors such as mal-effects of blood donation scaring others to donate, and donor deferral are causing those who donate to choose not to donate. This problem is growing to a larger issue as the health screening process begins to be more specific, requiring more and more from donors. And as donor recruitment is becoming increasingly difficult. However, finding proper ways to recruit, exposing the positive effects of blood donation on donors and patients receiving transfusions, and encouraging others to donate, the need for blood donations hopefully won’t be so grave.

La Paz Mexican Restaurant: A Lincoln Staple

 

As I drove south on Cotner Boulevard near 32nd street, I drew near to my destination. The building, tattered and looking a bit run down, was La Paz Mexican Restaurant. To give it my honest opinion, while driving by you can definitely mistake this place for your average dive. It isn’t all too impressive. But when you hear what Lincoln has to say about this place, and when you taste the food, your opinion will definitely change. And I know mine did too.

I had never been to this amazing restaurant until that night I walked into the doors, into a front room surprisingly small. The warm energy of this place excited me. I was immediately greeted by an employee and a smile, and was invited to take a seat in the dining room. The service was exceptional, and I could tell the other guests agreed. The waiter proceeded to bring me to a table surrounded by themed decorations. The ambience of this place really made it special for the experience. I felt as if I was wisped away from a Midwest urban setting, to a home deep within the Mexican culture.

Before arriving at this place, I decided to look online to find some information about this restaurant. I found myself reading a “about us” page on La Paz’s website. According to them, all their food is made from scratch, and their goal is to deliver the finest Mexican food for Lincoln, NE. They also strive to provide the guests with a family-feeling experience. After experiencing this place, I agree 10 out of 10!

I was greeted with a basket of fresh chips and salsa. And the taste was like nothing I have ever experienced. What I found interesting was that the chips and salsa were free of charge. You can tell from the way this restaurant treats their guests that they cherish providing Lincoln with an experience that is worth coming back for. Because of this, it leads me to believe that these little things, change the community in many ways. These little nice gestures create a shared feeling of happiness and joy within the community.

I also found that the people eating within this establishment were seemingly affected by the spirit of this place. It feels as if the excellent service, the cultural diversity of this restaurant, and the amazing food bring happiness to the guests, and the community. The people around me had no problem suggesting to me what I should order off the menu. I think they may have overheard me saying I don’t know what to get. But almost immediately they recommended getting one of La Paz’s staples, the cream cheese chicken enchiladas.photo-building

First off, I would like to say that this is most definitely the best Mexican-style dish I have ever had the privilege to eat. But also I was surprised at how willingly people around me were to suggest a meal choice. At most restaurants, you wouldn’t experience it. Because of that I was convinced that La Paz Mexican Restaurant has a big effect on the community of Lincoln. But there are more reasons that help provide a look into how much this wonderful place does for the great community of Lincoln.

The diversity this restaurant offers Lincoln is something that isn’t very important to most people. But I believe that in the changing times, cultural diversity is very important. And for Lincoln, La Paz provides help for people to become more culturally diverse. Lincoln is a city that is full of cultural diversity including  immigrants, refugees, and people from all corners of the world. But I believe that in most cases, “Lincolnites” don’t appreciate what this has to offer. La Paz offers us an opportunity to not only experience some diversity, but to dive deep into it. Through my experience at La Paz it feels as if I can appreciate what the Mexican culture is all about. And the community of Lincoln can also appreciate it.

According to La Paz’s website, they have been “family owned for 26 years a counting,” and have been named “best Mexican restaurant in Lincoln for 15 years and counting.” Lincoln is proud of family-owned businesses. The community of Lincoln cherishes the average Joe, and supports local businesses along with the big franchises and corporations. I believe that without La Paz, Lincoln would lose its unique characteristics. It needs those individual places that provide amazing experiences for its guests so that Lincoln is special for everyone within it.

The owners Rick and Julie Holm pride themselves on their “made from scratch recipes.” And their homemade recipes give that feeling of a meal at grandma’s house every time you take a bite. The taste sensation that each dish I partook there gave me comfort and joy. It felt like a warm hug each time the food touched my taste buds. Not many restaurants in Lincoln provide homemade, from scratch food anymore. This place not only provides a different cultural atmosphere and a family-owned feel. But it also provides each and every guest with a meal that was made with care and special consideration for perfection.

After visiting La Paz Mexican Restaurant I am shocked at howmuch of an affect this had on my views of the community of Lincoln. I feel that through the atmosphere of this place and the cultural diversity it adds to the life of each guest that walks in, a visit to La Paz will change your view of the community of Lincoln and help you realize what an affect this place has on the community. Also the food at this place, the family-owned qualities add to the uniqueness of the community of Lincoln. All of these characteristics of La Paz Mexican Restaurant affect the community of Lincoln, and the people that reside within it. And I feel that without La Paz, the community would be so much different. I can assure you that I will return to La Paz with the hopes to experience this again.
Elijah Frost

 

Picture source: La Paz 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Midst of War

Elijah Frost
Mrs. Jank
English 4
21, December 2016
In the Midst of War
As the last shell exploded, William slowly moved his hands away from his ears. He raised his head and peered out of his foxhole. As the smoke cleared his gaze was taken to the city that lay before him. Berlin was a massive pile of rubble and ash, fire and destruction. As the capital of Germany lay dormant, an entire army of Nazis were raining down destruction upon the rest of Europe. Although Berlin was destroyed, the power of Hitler was still being enforced. Sergeant Gibson and the few men of his battalion remaining had a mission. He was determined to lead his team safely through the Nazi infested rubble of Berlin. Their goal, to infiltrate the stronghold which contained the murdering mastermind Adolf Hitler, and kill him. They knew that without Hitler, the Nazis would soon fall.
Sergeant Gibson came from a valiant line of military men. As the only Gibson man left, he felt more determined than ever to complete his goal. As he and his men lay in watch over the city, an uneasy feeling came over them like a wave overtaking the sea wall. His long-time companion Glen Robertson trembled beside him waiting, watching.
“It’s ok, Glen.” Gibson whispered.
“How are we supposed to know?” He asked. “We don’t have half of the men we set out with, and our supplies are running low. How can we be sure that help will come?”
“Just trust me Glen, I have a plan.”
William looked around at his men. There were seven of them left including him. Glen, his lifelong friend came along with him to the army. However the other five men came from many different places. Private Charlie Webster and Private Douglas Chambers came from small towns in Missouri. Their originations brought them together and has formed a strong bond between them. To the other men, they were “the backwoods brothers” and for those who weren’t familiar with them, they were brothers. Corporal Jeff Schneider came from Charleston, South Carolina. He was a hulking man who enjoyed using his size to bring fear into the hearts of his enemies. The rest of the men in the group shared in that fear. And from New York there were two men, Clarence Meyer, and Tyler Peterson. Both privates.
“When are we gonna eat?” Yelled the Corporal.
“Haven’t you eaten enough already Goliath?” Tyler responded.
Jeff and Tyler never got along very well. Although the men always forgot their differences once battle ensued.
“Why don’t you all keep your voices down before our heads get pumped full of Nazi lead?” Demanded Gibson. “I got an idea I want you all to hear, so gather round.”
The men stopped their quarreling and made their way over to the foxhole William and Glen sat in. As they crouched down to hear their sergeant speak, William began.
“We are short on food, and men. And I don’t think waiting here is gonna do us much good.”
Glen interrupted, “Are we going back to camp? Do you think we can make it there safely?”
The sergeant gave Robertson a stern look, and Glen knew he shouldn’t have interrupted. The men continued to listen and knew they should keep their mouths shut.
“No, we are staying here.” William added. “We can’t make it back safely, this area is swarming with Nazis waiting for anyone that will cross their paths. If we stay here and wait for help, we will surely starve.”
Private Meyer spoke up once the sergeant finished. “What are you saying sir? Are you considering entering Berlin again? Last time we tried we lost half our men!”
The group of men were becoming agitated. The plan hadn’t even been revealed to them and chaos was beginning. Sergeant Gibson however, controlled the commotion well and soon the men were focusing on the awaiting plan.
“I say we enter the city and find that scumbag.”
“You don’t think it’s possible, do you William?!” Yelled Sergeant Robertson.
“I think it’s our only option. We are between a rock and a hard place right now. Either we sit here and starve to death. Or we try and end this war and risk dying. I say we go down in flames men! You all are the best damn soldiers I’ve ever fought with! I think we should at least give it a shot!”
The men became silent, and all looked at each other confused. According to Gibson’s plan, this mission could be the death of all of them. Deep down inside Sergeant Gibson knew that this was almost impossible. But he couldn’t stand the thought of seeing his closest companions slowly die from lack of food and water. He would rather see him and his men go down as the soldiers who killed Adolf Hitler. The soldiers that helped end World War II.
Sergeant Robertson spoke up and broke the silence. “Im in, I agree with William. There is no way we will survive here long enough for help to come. We either die sitting, or die fighting for America’s freedom and the freedom of the World.”
As the soldiers admired the bravery of the two Sergeants ideas they all took turns agreeing or disagreeing. To William’s surprised, every man within their battalion agreed with the plan. It proved to him the character of the men he was responsible for leading. He was proud and he had a new found sense of excitement as he began to think of the specifics of the plan.
Night fell, and the eeriness of the city grew and brought fear into the hearts of the men. All any of them could think about was the impending doom they faced. Distant gunfire continuously kept the men awake and all they could do was think to themselves. For most, the thoughts of the plan didn’t come to mind. For Charlie Webster however, he was having a mental battle. A part of him wanted to follow his men through Berlin to Hitler’s fortress. Although another part of him was scared senseless. He couldn’t imagine the thought of death even though it was inevitable. He sat in his foxhole beside his closest friend, Douglas. He couldn’t bear the thought of him, or any of his other companions dying. But he knew deep down inside that this was the only option. Charlie looked to his left towards the sergeant’s foxhole and he noticed William looking at him. The last thing Charlie remembered before falling asleep was Gibson whispering to him,
“Be strong.”
Smells of bacon and fresh coffee woke up five of the men. They wiped their eyes and emerged from their holes as quietly and discretely as they could. If they were seen by Nazi snipers within the city they would most definitely be killed. And the plan would be foiled. The men came together near the sergeant’s holes and they began to eat. The food was amazing. The crisp bacon reminded the men of home, and the coffee warmed each and every man’s heart.
“Today is the day men. Don’t get too comfortable here. Eat quickly, and we will move out in exactly one hour.” Said Gibson.
“Are you sure about this sir?” Asked Corporal Schneider.
“Don’t you remember what he said? It’s the only option for us to make any difference in this war. We are all out of food, we can’t survive here for much longer.” Glen replied.
The men continued discussing their plans, making sure that each and every detail was thought out. Deep down, Gibson wished for a way to do this without sacrificing all the lives of his men. But he knew, that death was the only result of their eventual efforts.
The men were sitting in silence and in the solitudes of their minds. Suddenly Private Webster sprung up with a stern tone in his voice.
“Enough fooling around guys. Let’s man up, and fight in the name of America.”
The sudden voice of Webster’s opinion sparked determination and excitement within the men. They dropped their bacon, stood up, and one after the other began to say,
“I’m in.”
They all went to their foxholes and retrieved their personal supplies. Guns, ammunition, water, grenades and anything they had been bringing along with them. Once they all had their belongings, they met near a wall about a half of a mile away from the city. Their movements, if not careful, would be detected by Nazi watchmen and snipers. However, this particular group of soldiers were exceptional skilled in all areas of combat. Their marksman skills were some of the best, and their stealth was unmatched by any group of soldiers in the U.S. Army. Their stealth guided them all the way to the city, unnoticed by anyone.
“Hold here, make sure we are in a secure position, then we will make our way inside the city.” Sergeant Robertson whispered.
Privates Meyer and Peterson snuck into the city and sought cover from a partially destroyed hotel. The other men kept a close eye on the privates and waiting for the signal to enter. Just as Meyer began to raise his hand towards the battalion a few German soldiers began to yell. It frightened all of the men and they began to internally panic. They didn’t know what was about to begin. They all hadn’t even entered the city and the Nazis already found them. BANG! Everything became slow as William Gibson’s sight shifted towards Meyer and Peterson. His immediate thought was one of them took a shot. But as he continued his gaze on them, he saw the blood shoot from the back of Meyer’s skull. And his lifeless body fall to the ground like a sack of potatoes. The men’s hearts sank, their hope was failing. Although, before they could even think about grieving the gunshots quickened.
“GET DOWN!” Yelled Schneider.
Immediately the bullets began to ricochet off the stone walls surrounding the men. Meanwhile Meyer lay stagnant on the ground. Peterson picked up his lifeless corpse and ran it back to the battalion.
“Peterson! Hurry!” Yelled Gibson.
Once Peterson returned to the group the men began to return fire. Their accuracy was remarkable and each man they pointed their rifles at seemed to get hit. And all of a sudden, the gunfire coming from the Nazis ceased. The men began to celebrate and assume they were victorious.
“Sir, I have a bad feeling. It is just too silent.” Said Private Webster.
“Don’t worry Webster,” Said William. “These cowards are done messing with us. Let’s just gain our composure, find a spot to put Clarence’s body until we return.”
The silence remained for just a few moments more, when Corporal Schneider noticed a green spherical grenade landing near his feet. That same feeling of time slowing occurred for each of the men. William and Glen saw the grenade and ran towards a pile of rubble near the area of the grenade. But for Schneider, Peterson, Webster, and Chambers, they weren’t fortunate enough to make it to cover. Moments before the grenade exploded, Private Chambers looked up towards one of the few remaining buildings left standing in the city. At the balcony, an SS Guard looked down as the U.S. Soldiers awaited their demise. The last thing Chambers saw was the smile on the guard’s face. And the bullets, from Gibson’s rifle, going through his chest.
BOOM
The explosion was massive. Glen and William watched as 4 of their men fell to a Nazi grenade. There was nothing they could do except watch. Their companions body parts flying around the streets of Berlin. Their hope in the plan was failing. William felt he let his men down by leading them into this death trap. But he knew for him and Sergeant Robertson, the only option was to make it to Hitler.
“Glen, we can’t quit now. We have to make it to Hitler. We have to do it for the others.”
Glen looked at Gibson with a sad look on his face. William felt that Glen wasn’t as determined to complete the mission as he was. But he knew no matter what he would continue to fight through Berlin, and kill Hitler. His determination spread to Glen and they both took up their arms and began to claw their way through Berlin. Using their stealth to sneak up on Nazis guarding the city, and killing them silently. Glen started to notice that the amount of guards within the city was diminishing, and his hope was increasing again. Both of these men were determined to complete the mission, and try and survive it. But at the same time, were willing to sacrifice their lives if it meant completing the mission.
“There he is William. I just know he is in there.” Whispered Glen.
“Be ready Glen, we both have to be prepared to take the shot.”
The building was a large multiple story mansion located near the center of the city. The two knew that Hitler was hiding within this house as it was surrounded by Nazi guards.
“I have a back-up plan in case we can’t take a shot.” Gibson said. “I say we take explosives, and spread them out within the perimeter of the building before we try and enter. And as we go through each room searching and clearing, we place more explosives. Once we find Hitler we will then decide if we are going to shoot, or explode the entire building.”
“William, I have followed you this far and I’ll follow you all the way to the end. You haven’t ever steered me wrong before so I believe this will work. Are you willing to make this sacrifice for America?”
“Yes.” He replied.
Both Glen and William began placing the explosives around the foundation of the building. Once they were finished, they entered the building and found it to be completely empty. It was an average house but looked like no one had lived in it for 100 years. Sergeant Robertson placed his explosives in the rooms on the main floor and they started to creep up the stairs.
“Who goes there?” Said a man in a strong German accent.
The Americans didn’t respond and Gibson pulled out a large knife waiting to plunge it into his enemy. The German man sprung out from the corner with a pistol in his hand. He was clothed in a Nazi uniform and as he began to aim his pistol, William yelled a battle cry and stabbed his knife into the abdomen of the man. He fell to the ground and breathed his last. Though they made the kill, the yell sparked commotion within the building and the last few soldiers alive within the city swarmed down the stairs towards the stairwell the Americans were in.
The two shouldered their rifles ready to take a shot at a moment’s notice. To their surprise the Nazi soldiers never came to their stairwell. In fact, what they actually heard was the soldiers moving to a room on the second level.
“That room they are gathering to, has to be the room Hitler is in.” Said Gibson
“They are going to protect him, but they are gonna need more than a few soldiers to protect that pile of trash.” Robertson added. “Lemme place these explosives here, then I will place a few on the upper level. If need be, I can throw a few grenades into the room Hitler is in.”
The two valiant sergeants quietly walked up the stairs and found an upper level very similar to the lower level. A large open room with a few doors opening to other rooms, and a lone hallway that lead to a single room. The men placed a few explosives near the hallway, but they knew if they went into the hallway, they would be seen.
Glen spoke up, “Let me throw something into the hallway to get the soldiers attention. There is only ten of them, and I think if we get them into the hallway we can take them out.”
He took a rock he found in his boot and threw it into the hallway. The rock landed and the sound echoed through the empty house. Panic ensued as the Nazi guards ran to the hallway, leaving their leader helpless in the room. As each soldier ran into the hallway Gibson and Robertson shot each one of them. However only five of the ten men ran into the hallway. They still had a few men protecting Hitler.
“I don’t think they saw us, let’s try and creep up the hallway and sneak on them in the room.” Proposed Gibson.
They started to walk very slowly towards the entrance to the room hoping that they wouldn’t be seen by the Nazis. As they continued to walk one of the soldiers walked past the door frame and noticed the two U.S. sergeants ambushing them. He pulled out a pistol before either of them could shoot the Nazi and he shot both Gibson and Robertson. The man shot both of them in the leg, disabling both of them.
“Bring the American fools in here. I want them to know how heroic they really are.” Yelled Hitler.
This was the first time either of the sergeants had heard Hitler’s voice. It was frightening to them and they knew death would be the result of their capture. The Nazi SS guards came and dragged the two into the room as they grimaced in pain. They were dropped in front of a massive desk where Hitler was seated behind. He immediately ordered his guards to place a gun on both the men’s heads. However, he forgot that the sergeants’ hands were still functioning and free to move. Gibson looked over at Robertson and they both knew what they had to do. As Hitler continued to interrogate the men, William grabbed a grenade and Glen grabbed the detonator.
“Hitler, your rein of tyranny is OVER!” Yelled Sergeant Gibson.
The Germans began to laugh but they did not know the doom they would face. Glen smiled at William and placed his thumb on the detonator. Gibson’s plan worked, he was so proud of Sergeant Robertson and himself. A subtle beep resounded in the ears of the men within the room.
BOOM! CRASH!

“These seven men gave up their lives for America.” Said a loud voice. “They made the choice that a lot of us cannot make. To sacrifice our lives, to save what we hold nearest and dearest.”
The loud voice was the voice of the President of the United States addressing thousands of people standing within Washington D.C.
“These men deserve the highest amount of thanks and gratitude from all of us living in the United States of America.” The President added. “I would like to especially commemorate Sergeant William Gibson who led this mission, planned it, and eventually sacrificed his life to see the success of it. Each of these men will receive the Medal of Honor for their bravery in combat, and their sacrifice they made. All of these men will be remembered as War Heroes, for the United States of America.”
As the President stopped speaking, the roar of cheers and applause filled the entire city. These soldiers, brave war heroes, were honored by their country for the sacrifices they made.

How golf taught me about life.

How golf taught me about life.

As I have grown up I have faced many difficult challenges. And when reflecting back, I would think that I would learn more from getting through those experiences. Specifically, learning about determination and hard work. Though as I’ve become older, I have gone through many experiences that have taught me valuable lessons. They have taught me to have a strong sense of determination, and a hard-working spirit. Two characteristics that I believe I have now and that I certainly are proud of. Those few fairly recent experiences have greatly shaped who I am. I have gained these characteristics through childhood experiences, and also through the game of golf.

As a young child I faced many things that require a lot of determination to overcome. When I was just eight years old, my grandmother passed away. She was one of the greatest women I have ever known. And when she passed, because I was so young, I didn’t understand death enough to fully comprehend. Yes, I missed her and grieved, but it didn’t take long before everything got back to normal. It didn’t take me much determination to overcome the horrible feeling associated with the death of a family member. Also when I was young I contracted MRSA, or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. In simpler terms, an infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. This ailment, in some cases can lead to death. For over a year I had to endure the pain associated with this infection. The sleepless nights, and the many medications I had to take as a “trial and error.”

If I were to think about my entire life, this would definitely be the hardest time of my life until now. When I think back, it actually surprises me how well I dealt with the whole problem. If you were to ask someone how much determination it would take to make it through that year anyone would say a lot. To take antibiotic after antibiotic when each of them made no difference, and try my best to limit the spread of the infection takes a lot of determination to do all year. But the entire experience really didn’t change my attitude towards life. And it didn’t affect my work ethic, or determination throughout my life.

This probably is getting a bit confusing because all that has been written has nothing to do with my determination or golf. It actually has nothing to do with golf, and proves that in my early life I had little determination. But as I approached my junior year something like a spark lit inside of me. Golf was a hobby for me during the early years of my childhood, and it became a hobby for me as I entered high school. But it wasn’t much more than that. I played on the team my sophomore year, but I didn’t perform as well as I thought I was going to. But once that season was over, something hit me, something that I had never felt before. I didn’t know what to do with the feelings I was having, but I knew that they meant something for me. And as the summer progressed I started to realize what those feelings where inducing.

Each day went by, and I was increasingly more and more motivated to improve my golf game. It felt like I was spending more time on a golf course during the summer and fall months, than I was at home. I had my goals set, and I knew what I needed to accomplish. I worked harder than I ever had before, on a game. Something created for leisure and fun was now my life. Though I didn’t know, that a game, would teach me so much about how to live my life. That summer and fall I worked harder than I ever had, but it wasn’t until I came to the spring of my junior year when I really learned about determination.

As the season begun, our team had high hopes, and after a disappointing sophomore year I knew I had to step my game up. As a team, we played every tournament to the best of our abilities. And we were very successful. Determination for success was our fuel. Our determination and hard work brought us to multiple team wins, and multiple individual top-10 finishes. Although, our greatest accomplishment during the season was qualifying for the state championship, something the golf team at Lincoln Lutheran hadn’t done in 8 years. As we entered one of the biggest tournaments of our lives, we knew we had to rely on our hard work during the season to help us make it through the tournament and finish where we needed to. This tournament taught me, no matter how bad a round is going you cannot lose determination. You have to constantly work hard to finish as well as you can. I think that mindset helped me to finish in the top 25 my first year on varsity, even though I didn’t post very good scores.

It surprised me how two days of my life influenced my state of mind so greatly. As the summer went on, I increasingly was applying this new state of mind as I played in many other tournaments. This new sense of determination that I had found through golf helped me as I played in more prestigious tournaments. With tougher competition, and tougher courses. But as I am on this topic of State golf a story from that tournament will help illustrate how much of an impact that tournament had for me.

I woke up on a crisp Wednesday morning, got out of bed, and put on my uniform for the last time that season. We all gathered for breakfast, and discussed what we were going to work on that day to improve our team score. All of us played a less than average first round, and we were all determined to have a better day. Though I was a bit discouraged. Until this point, my attitude and emotions sometimes got in the way of my golf game. I wasn’t always comfortable with just relying on my hard work that I had put in during the offseason. I was extremely nervous because I felt like in order to help my team I needed to score well that day. And when I look back, I put a lot of pressure on myself.

We drove a mile or so from our hotel to the course and we all started to prepare for our last round of the season as a team. I began my round very well and started to get into the zone. But I still wasn’t very good at maintaining stable emotions on the course. And as my round progressed, it started to get worse and worse. I played an average front nine, but I was in a good enough place to still score, and potentially medal. After my front nine I shot a 41. It was a decent score considering the course, but it wasn’t my best. So I entered my back nine with a goal of shooting in the 70s and give myself a chance to medal. But as I reached the back nine, I began to stop relying on my hard work, and I lost my determination to reach my goal. I started to lose focus and as I came to the 12th hole, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entire tournament golf career.

I stepped up to the tee, after making par on the 10th and 11th, and hit my tee shot. I hit it exactly as I hit it every day we played the course, but this time the outcome was much grimmer. I walked down the hill in search of my ball, but as I looked for it, I never found it. I took my five allotted minutes to search for the ball, but I eventually had to declare it lost. Unfortunately, the ball was about 20 yards ahead of where I looked. I had to take my third shot of the tee, and eventually made a triple bogey. I was devastated, and honestly I just wanted to find a way to get disqualified from the tournament. I was so embarrassed and I had no determination or motivation to move on to the next hole. Here is where I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life if this was starting to drag on.

As I moved to the 13th hole, something went through my head like a mighty wave. Though this wave wasn’t water, it was a new state of mind. I was extremely angry as I went to 13, but I still had a goal to achieve. This wasn’t all about me. I made the par, and began to find some new confidence. I eventually would go on to make another 4 pars in the last 5 holes, definitely a finish that I will remember forever.

This story taught me so much about how much determination and hard work can affect what you do in life. If I wasn’t determined to complete the goal I made, I would have quit or ended up shooting at least 5 strokes higher than I did. If I wasn’t willing to work hard for something I cared about, I wouldn’t have kept on grinding out pars. This single round helped create a foundation for me that I would apply for the rest of the summer as I played in over 10 tournaments, and for the rest of my life.

This tournament fueled me throughout my summer season. I learned that quitting is not the option, even if you feel as if continuing will have no benefit for you. Specifically in golf, I learned never to quit because golf is extremely unexpected. One bad hole never ruins your round. These things were very beneficial for me to learn because before state, it was easy for me to quit on a round, and give up on myself. Now I have realized that maintaining determination to always finish strong, and to never quit, my golf game is much better than before. And I have learned that determination in all aspects of life will produce the best. This tournament also taught me that applying hard work towards a certain cause could always produce the best outcome for you. If I hadn’t applied the hard work I put in during the offseason in that tournament, I wouldn’t have come back from the triple I made. This taught me that I can never forget that hard work is a backbone for all I do.

I believe that without golf I would not be the person I am today. I would not be as hardworking as I am. And I wouldn’t have determination to do everything I do to the best of my ability. I believe that I am a very hardworking and determined person and I believe that golf is the reason for that. I try and put in as much hard work at my job, in my homework, and planning for my future. In fact, I just received a promotion at my job due to my hard work I’ve done in the past months. And honestly, I don’t think I would have received that promotion if I hadn’t struggled my sophomore year in golf. Worked hard during the summer and fall months. Had a successful season, made it to state, and played bad during state. All those things had a huge impact on my life, and the person that I am today.

My life has drastically changed since I have started competitive golf. My determination is making a huge impact on my success in life, and I believe that if I apply these characteristics to all aspects of my life I will find success. During my summer season my hard work pushed me ahead of my peers and I began to post very good scores. My eyes were open to the fruits of my labor and I was ecstatic. Throughout the summer I would finish top-10 in almost every tournament I played in. And finished top 5 in a number of them, with five, top-3 finishes as a cherry on top. I believe strongly that without that initial summer and fall, I wouldn’t have achieved all that I did. I would still be playing poor golf, and I definitely not have the attitude I have today.

Through the game of golf, I have gained two very important traits that have affected my life greatly. Though it took bad experiences for me to realize how to approach difficult situations. The strength of my belief in how much golf affected my life is immense. Always work hard at what you do because even a game, can teach you about life.

 

Lincoln, NE: Home for Me

Home is not just a structure. A house is a structure. When I think of home I think of things that provide me with comfort, aspects of my life that have provided me with years and years of fond memories. The only place that has ever, and I think ever will fill that quota is Lincoln. Through the many places, people, and events in Lincoln I have come to love this city and I consider this as my home.

Ever since I was young, for some reason I have always loved Lincoln. It isn’t too big to get lost within the city, and it isn’t too small that I know everyone in town. It is just the right size for me. And I want, and hope to live here in Lincoln all my life. The rush I get down my spine seeing the sea of red every Saturday in the fall, and hearing go big red echoing in my head is why I call Lincoln home. Driving up my neighborhood and opening my garage door every day is why I call Lincoln home. Smelling the fresh air after a long day of school at the only high school I could ever think of going to, Lincoln Lutheran, is why I call Lincoln home. Hearing my pastor reminisce on when I was just a little baby getting baptized at the same church I go to today is why I call Lincoln home.

Now, I know this seems a bit repetitive, but I hope you can tell where I am getting with this. What I am trying to say in my heart every little thing about Lincoln makes it home for me. The way each and every part of Lincoln is, comforts me in its’ own special way. I’m not one to be ok with change very often. For me, if I find something I am comfortable with, I stick with it. Although I don’t make much of a difference in Lincoln as of now, I know that one day I will be able to. Another part of Lincoln that I love is that it isn’t a huge metropolis, but the city is growing. I hope that this will provide opportunities for me in the future so that I can contribute to bettering this community that I have learned to love and cherish. And one day make this city home for another person who shares the same love for little old Lincoln, Nebraska.