06/02/04 — At hospital: Visitor deeply moved by wounded soldiers

View Archive

At hospital: Visitor deeply moved by wounded soldiers

Goldsboro’s Mike Farfour hears a lot of grousing about the war in Iraq.

But in April he was in the company of a “band of brothers” who yearned for only one thing — to get back into the war.

Ironically, they all were young men in an Army hospital near Frankfurt, Germany, where they had been flown for treatment of serious injuries suffered in battle.

“There seemed to be no question in their minds about the importance of our mission in Iraq,” said Farfour. “They all were anxious to go back to their units and buddies — even one young man who had been blinded.”

Farfour was particularly impressed with the upbeat spirit of the soldiers. One young man who had suffered severe wounds to his arms, wiggled his toes and quipped, “I can’t shake your hand, but how about shaking my foot!”

Some of the wounded had earned their second and third Purple Hearts — “and they still were eager to go back.”

Many of the wounded proudly displayed interesting souvenirs — the bullets that had hit them. “They had them in little vials,” explained Farfour.

Farfour was in Germany as a delegate of the U.S. All Stars team taking part in the Albert Schweitzer Invitational basketball tournament.

Teams were made up of youngsters 18 and under playing on all-star teams from 16 nations. The American team was composed of young men chosen from the top 100 players in the country.

Farfour, who represented Spaulding for many years before retiring, has continued to serve that sporting goods supplier in recent years as a consultant. It was in that capacity that he became close to the U.S. teams selected and taking part in the Albert Schweitzer Invitational tournaments.

Through the several years he has attended the tournament, Farfour has been impressed with the young athletes — from his own country and from the other nations represented.

But never has he been more moved than he was by the young soldiers he visited in the hospital at Frankfurt. This year, they were the real “All-Stars!”

Published in Editorials on June 2, 2004 11:11 AM