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Soldier Finds the Heart of America
Omaha World Herald ^ | 4/30/2010 | Christopher Burbach

Posted on 04/30/2010 5:56:50 AM PDT by NEMDF

Loghan Anderson was 720 miles from home and 140 miles from his U.S. Army post when his pickup truck suddenly lost power on southbound Interstate 35 in Texas.

The 19-year-old soldier from Tekamah, Neb., pulled to the shoulder. The engine screeched. The truck would not go forward. It would go only in reverse.

Maybe it wanted to go back to Nebraska. That was not an option. Anderson was due to report for duty in two days at Fort Hood, Texas. He’s at the beginning of what he hopes will be an Army career, one he signed up for before even graduating from Tekamah-Herman High School in 2008.

At Fort Hood, Anderson was to complete training with a combat unit, the Thunder Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, that is headed for Iraq sometime this year.

AdvertisingHe backed up a couple of miles to get off the Interstate. Trained by the Army as a helicopter mechanic and sort of handy with cars, Pvt. Anderson figured he might be able to fix the truck.

He had bought the pickup with savings from his high school job at the Bomgaars store in Tekamah. He had considered trading it in after Army basic training and mechanic school in Virginia, but opted to put on new tires and keep the old truck going.

He found a ride to a gas station. He bought some transmission fluid. He hiked back to his truck.

No luck. He couldn’t fix it on the roadside.

Anderson called a wrecker. The tow truck driver loaded up the soldier and his Ford F-250 and drove them 15 miles to the nearest town, Burleson, population 35,000, outside Dallas-Fort Worth. Fifteen miles and $68 later, the wrecker deposited Anderson and his black Ford F-250 with yellow Batman emblems on the doors at an auto dealership, Bankston Ford of Burleson.

That’s where the young Nebraskan met Don Colston, a salesman and Air Force veteran who has a 21-year-old son of his own.

“He came in here, and he wanted to buy a truck,” Colston said. “Very quiet young man. Very reserved. Very respectful, yes sir, no sir, that kind of thing, when I was trying to find out information in order to sell him a truck.”

Anderson told Colston he was in the Army, on his way to Fort Hood. The soldier had no money, no credit and no co-signer, and his trade-in vehicle only operated in reverse.

“I had to tell him I couldn’t sell him a truck,” Colston said.

Fixing the truck wasn’t really an option. Even cracking open the transmission to figure out how to fix it would have cost in the hundreds. Repairs could have run to $2,500.

The soldier’s father back in Tekamah, Leon Anderson, wired him a little money. But neither of them had enough to pay for repairs.

“The only other plan I had was to call my dad and have him bring a trailer down to get me and my truck and take me to Fort Hood,” Loghan Anderson said.

Back in Tekamah, Leon Anderson, a street construction worker who’s often been laid off because of the new-housing slump, tried to find a trailer. He found out he didn’t have the right kind of truck, and renting a rig that would work would cost about as much as fixing the truck.

He thought about driving down to Texas and taking his son to Fort Hood, but that would have been expensive, too, might have taken too long and would have left Loghan without a vehicle.

If Loghan were late to the post, the Army could declare him AWOL and send guys out to pick him up, or dock his pay and otherwise penalize him when he arrived.

He was out of money and running out of options.

“I was stranded,” he said.

While trying to work out a solution, Anderson slept two nights in his truck in the car dealership’s employee parking lot.

Anderson didn’t ask for anything, Colston said.

“He was going to try to solve his problem himself,” he said.

A dealership employee figured out that Anderson was sleeping in his truck. He took the soldier across the street and bought him a meal.

Colston asked Anderson when he was due at Fort Hood.

“Tomorrow at 5 p.m.,” the soldier answered.

“You’ve got two choices,” Colston answered. “I can take you downtown and put you on the bus for Fort Hood, or you can come to my house for the night, and we’ll get you to Fort Hood in the morning.”

Colston was thinking that if his son were stranded, he’d want somebody to help him out. And Anderson was headed to war.

Anderson didn’t know what to think.

“He’s one of the nicer guys I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “I don’t know of anybody else who would do that.”

Anderson chose the bus. Colston bought him a ticket, and passed on $20 for food from another salesman.

The soldier made it to the base on time.

But that’s not all.

Back at the dealership, the guys started thinking about how this nice kid from Nebraska was headed off to fight for his country, said Ben Garcia, Internet sales manager for the dealership.

They decided to go ahead and fix his truck, too. The employees pooled some money. Their general manager agreed to cover the rest of the cost.

Mechanics had the truck up on a lift and were completing repairs Thursday afternoon. Garcia said the truck will be ready for Anderson to pick up Friday. The private and his lieutenant plan to drive up to Burleson from Fort Hood.

Along with the keys, the dealership plans to give Anderson a cake and a round of handshakes.

“We’ve declared it Loghan Appreciation Day,” Garcia said. “We want to make an impression on this kid, so he knows that the people that he’s fighting for are worth it. We really do care, and when he’s out there in Iraq, we want him to know that the people back here care.”

Anderson appreciates what they’re doing.

“They could just as easily have turned me away,” he said. “But they were willing to do something to help somebody in the military.”

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Nebraska; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: appreciation; military; troops
Kleenex Alert
1 posted on 04/30/2010 5:56:51 AM PDT by NEMDF
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God Bless these wonderful people.



2 posted on 04/30/2010 6:04:03 AM PDT by knews_hound (Credo Quia Absurdium--take nothing seriously unless it is absurd. E. Clampus Vitus)
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Welcome to Texas.

3 posted on 04/30/2010 6:11:12 AM PDT by GeronL ( << Get your science fiction and fiction test marketed)
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4 posted on 04/30/2010 6:14:15 AM PDT by jcsjcm (American Patriot - follow the Constitution and in God we Trust - Laus Deo)
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To: STARWISE; ohioWfan

Thought y’all might find this story heartwarming and encouraging. God bless our Troops!

5 posted on 04/30/2010 6:26:32 AM PDT by Just A Nobody ( (Better Dead than RED! NEVER AGAIN...Support our Troops! Beware the ENEMEDIA))
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THAT, Mr. Obama, is America.

Sad, you'll never know it.

6 posted on 04/30/2010 6:37:59 AM PDT by ryan71 (Let's Roll!)
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"Kleenex Alert"

You betcha! I certainly teared up reading it. If the USA still produces people like these folks, "we ain't dead yet". But I actually think that actions like this are really the norm in "flyover country", and not dead yet even in the coastal commie enclaves.

May God bless them all!

7 posted on 04/30/2010 6:49:03 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog
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That's a wonderful story!! I wonder if readers of the Omaha World Herald have thanked these people for helping this young man out?
8 posted on 04/30/2010 6:57:20 AM PDT by submarinerswife (Obama, the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers)
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To: Wonder Warthog

Must be something wrong with my monitor; just went all blurry.

9 posted on 04/30/2010 7:00:15 AM PDT by pingman (Price is what you pay, value is what you get.)
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Great job by the guys of Bankston Ford of Burleson.
10 posted on 04/30/2010 7:15:40 AM PDT by Hotmetal (Lead,follow,or get the Hell out of the way.554th REDHORSE)
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To: submarinerswife

I just sent them a nice email message through their “customer assistance” access on their web site.

11 posted on 04/30/2010 7:44:08 AM PDT by NEMDF
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To: All

Bailey, Ed []

He sent me a nice message thanking me for thanking them for helping Pvt Anderson. If you did not contact them yet, perhaps you could send Mr. Bailey a message or other props...

12 posted on 04/30/2010 2:28:54 PM PDT by NEMDF
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