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Uncle Ernie
By Rob Holston


March 17, 2012

I offer this letter as a salute to my uncle Ernie Weaver who recently passed away at age 87. Right up front you need to know that Ernie lived most of his life as a veteran. He served in the Korean war and it was there at the front lines he became left handed for the rest of his life. The story I recall as a young boy was that he was struck by friendly fire because he was so close to the enemy lines. I don’t know if uncle Ernie suffered from post traumatic stress disorder or not. That diagnosis was not given back then but he always seemed to be a happy and productive member of his community.

He married Jan Anderson and they had two sons, Ron & Kenny. Some of my recollections of my uncle was how he dug a water well “single- handedly” at his home in the rock infested soils of my small western Montana home town of Rollins. He built the small house on that property also, mostly by himself. I remember he took special training and became a parts specialists for a heavy industrial parts supply company in Kalispell.

Just a few years back uncle Ernie came to Ketchikan for a visit with his son and grandson Ron & Gregg. We were fortunate to catch a few king salmon in Clover Pass that June and I recall Ernie fashioning a strap around his neck and fishing pole and landing a 25 pound king.

Back home in Montana he and his wife volunteered to deliver food with the “Meals on Wheels” program. I have no doubt that most of the “clients” Ernie & Jan delivered to were younger than them at the time.

Ernie also enjoyed the game of golf. Even with just one arm, he had a wicked drive, mid-range and short game. His life was full and rewarding with the family he had that included grand and great-grand kids. He and Jan had recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

So I salute my uncle and in so doing I offer him up as an example to other veterans who may be returning from Iraq or Afghanistan as wounded veterans. There can be a full life ahead of you by maximizing your potential and minimizing the effects of your war wounds. I also encourage communities to embrace these returning vets and helping them with educational, social & economic opportunities.

Rob Holston
Ketchikan, AK


Received March 15, 2012 - Published March 17, 2012

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