Dearest friends and loved ones,
This is going to be a very different kind of an update. First, the photo of Kris was taken just yesterday (Saturday, May 2), as she was leaving with her dear friend, Tas McGraw, to attend a Society of Air Force Nurses (SAFN) luncheon at the former Air Force Village I Retirement Community. It was Kentucky Derby Day and all the ladies were asked to wear their Derby hat! I decided Kris needed something special to wear. She has on her new outfit complete with hat.
I must tell you I wish with all my heart I could have been there to be with Kris. The guest speaker for the luncheon was Col. Regina Aune, now retired, who has authored the book, “Operation Babylift.” It details the horror and loss when the first of a number of C-5 Air Force cargo planes crashed soon after takeoff on April 4, 1975 from Saigon. The planes were tasked with airlifting 2,000 South Vietnamese orphans to the United States, and to new homes. Many of the children were age 2 and so small, they had to be carried onto the plane. Col. Aune, then a 1st lieutenant and nurse in the Air Force, spoke yesterday about the cargo doors blowing out, the gaping hole, and the crash landing which tore the plane apart. There were more than 300 people on board; killed were 78 children and 50 adults, including Air Force personnel. It was forty years ago in April 2015.
Kris’s long-time friend, Col. Joanne Kirschbaum, RN, Retired, who was in charge of the program yesterday, had given Regina Aune a copy of Kris’s book, “Home Of the Brave.” Col. Aune presented a signed copy of “Operation Babylift” to Kris, and it had to be a very emotional moment for everyone.
Once the introductions and presentation was made, another wonderful surprise for Kris: everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to her. Kris will turn 50 on May 23rd. With the help of so many wonderful friends and angels around Kris, a huge birthday party is being planned on the 23rd at the home of Manuel, her treasured friend for many years. Between Manuel and Tas McGraw, Kris has been well stocked in special toddler food and anything that she needs. And, since many people have asked for her address again, here it is... in case you would like to send a card:
Maj Kristine Ratliff, RN, Ret.
Heritage Creek Assisted Living
6538 Eckhert Road
San Antonio, TX 78240
There are so many joys and so many praises right now, I have to keep thanking God for His wonders. Kris is eating by mouth and drinking from her special cup more on her own and feeding herself as well. She rarely goes anywhere in her wheelchair, but uses her walker for everything now. Walking straight and tall, Kris is so often on the go with her JOY group friends. God has answered yet another prayer: It will be my greatest joy to be with her the weekend of her birthday. I am counting the days and the minutes until I get there!!!
Which sort of leads me into another subject. In November 2014, I sent out an update to the Soft Sounds email list, and shared the hope that we might be able to make a tour during the summer of 2015, going up to Pennsylvania, then west to Indiana, Ohio, possibly Branson, ending in Texas for the remainder of the summer and fall. Once the holidays rolled around, however, we began to truly take stock of just how difficult that was going to be. Our motor home needs a great many repairs, which includes new hydraulic jacks on the front. Our credit cards (all two of them) have been overloaded with gas and travel expenses that have been accumulating over the past five years, and we never seem to get ahead of it. Since Kris did so very well in her competency evaluation in January this year, we decided she had turned the corner of continuing progress.
We have therefore had to face the facts: This year is going to be working, working, working. Since I have been working part time at the Palms of Sebring the past two years while we’re here, I was given the opportunity to apply for a full-time position as transportation and front desk coordinator. I was hired in January and truly enjoy working again at The Palms full time. Along with two new receptionists, I was even able to hire a wonderful driver to help on an “as needed” basis. Many of you know him as Love Bucket!
But we haven’t stopped singing and I haven’t stopped writing, and look forward to doing both in the months and weeks ahead. We have actually performed a number of times and have some shows and concerts coming up in the next winter season. Should you see an opportunity to have us perform at your community, your church, or your resort, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Unfortunately, it will have to be in Florida, now that I am working full time. We do have weekends and can handle evenings during the week.
Beyond that, please continue to pray for Kris. What she is accomplishing and the progress she is making is totally on her own, and based on her own courage. The angels around her help (those wonderful ladies from the church and others), encourage, support, love and care about Kris, and they are truly an answer to our prayers. We do our best to Skype with Kris every evening after work, and as often as possible in between. It’s all I have for now, and it means everything.
God will answer our prayers in His time, and in His way. Kris will be her own person one day and make her own choices and decisions. He never fails! And I believe He has great things in store for her. Thank you all for your continued prayers.
Blessings and much love,
Carol and George
We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).