I met Roy 8 years and 10 months prior to his passing. But I have known him all my life. You see, we were/are kindred spirits; closer than blood brothers. We had common experiences; we were both Marine Corps veterans, we were both disabled and lived with constant pain (although his pain was considerably worse than mine.), we both had recurring nightmares.
We also thought much alike and shared a strong sense of patriotism and duty.
1995 was a rough year for me physically and emotionally. I slept little, thanks to pain 24/7 and recurring nightmares. I was also going through a period of unemployment. With nothing else to do, I spent most of my time at my computer, sometimes 24 hours or more continually. In an effort to pass the time and do something constructive, I put together a small web site which centered on things pertaining to the United States Marine Corps. One late night in December of 1995 I received an email from someone who claimed to be a former Sergeant in the Marine Corps, that he had come across my web site while searching the Internet for things Marine Corps, and decided to contact me.
I was at my computer when his email arrived so I quickly sent back a reply, to which he immediately replied, to which I immediately replied, and so on. The two of us exchanged emails for several hours and began to get acquainted. It turned out that we had much in common, especially our being disabled Marine Corps veterans.
From that meeting, which I believe was arranged by God to bring two old disabled Marines out of their depression, our friendship developed. We had so much in common; not only our Marine Corps service and our disabilities, but in our attitudes, likes and dislikes. In many ways we could have been clones.
From exchanging email we progressed to spending a lot of time on the telephone. Then Roy introduced me to Internet Chat. We spent hours everyday just talking, to each other and to other people who met on the channel. Roy and I practically lived on the Chat channel.
I met Roy face-to-face for the first time in the Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, NY, in March of 1996. He was quite ill and I thought it might cheer him up a bit. Also, I really did want to meet him. (Click here for a full narrative of that meeting.)
After much discussion and some planning, Roy and I started MuddyBoots.net and launched the web site on May 20, 1998. Following MuddyBoots.net we built and maintained a number of other web sites. I eventually reentered the work force which shifted much of the burden of maintaining MuddyBoots.net to Roy. He and I continued to work together and would spend hours on the telephone. Each time we talked, much of our conversation was about our Marine Corps experiences and Vietnam. It seemed to help both of us.
We also discussed our faiths and our relationships with God. Since both of us knew that any day could be our last, I asked him point blank where he would spend eternity. He told me that he had given his life to Jesus Christ. I believe he did.
Roy had been, and still was, a fighting man. Fighting men know that there are times and circumstances in which they have no control over their fate; never knowing from one day to the next whether they will live to see another day. The fighting man's prayer is that, if his time arrives, that his going be quick.
Roy's prayer was answered, and then some. By the Grace of God, he not only went quickly, but went quietly, in his sleep, in his own bed.
That's not a bad way to go.
In the Spring of 2004 Roy told me that he would go in the fall. I never doubted that he would go in the fall, I just didn't expect it to be in the Fall of 2004. I really expected him to outlive me. But God had other plans and now Roy's pain and suffering are no more.
So, to my friend I have three last words to say: Semper Fi, Marine!
Darry L. Deaton, Former Staff Sergeant, USMC
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