Spending some time with real heroes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I recently met Mike Sistrunk at the Shell station on Belle Terre Boulevard. He and a few of the people I grew up with gather there to have coffee daily. I stop a couple of times a week and really enjoy their company.  

A few weeks ago, I found out that Mike’s dad is in the War Veterans Home in Reserve. I told him that I would like to visit his dad. After three weeks of putting off my visit, I decided to go last Sunday.  

As I entered the room, Mr. Grand-ville Sistrunk was in a wheelchair. We hit it off good, and Mr. Sistrunk seemed to enjoy sharing his story with me.  

He was sharp and proudly said, “I was born in Philadelphia, Miss., on June 12, 1927. I joined the Army in 1945 at the age of 18 and married my wife, Mabel, in July of 1947.”  

He volunteered that his mother got his name from the doctor who delivered him, Dr. Grandville Hand. He continued, “The doctor told my mom that if she named me after him, he would buy me a nice outfit.”

He sadly shared that his wife died in 2010. They had four children and nine grandchildren.  

I asked Mr. Sistrunk about his military service. He said that the day

he landed in France, it was 25 degrees below zero. He was frostbitten. He also served in Germany and Austria.  

He worked 24 years for the Times Picayune and enjoyed that a lot.

As we were ending our visit, a lady passed by and recognized me from my articles in this newspaper. She was attending to a veteran in a wheelchair. Her name was Jeanne Buccola. The person she was lovingly caring for was her husband, Victor, a veteran of 20 years of military service in the Navy and Air Force.

Jeanne said they have been married for 64 years. “I come here about five days a week,” she said. “People tell me that my husband is lucky to have someone like me.” She tells them, “No, I’m the one blessed to have a man such as him.”

We talked a little longer, and she told me that her dad was Hunter Roussel. She smiled as she said

that her dad hung wallpaper and painted for a living. She shared that one day someone asked him what he did, and he answered, “I’m an interior decorator!” She then had good laugh.

 What a great Sunday afternoon God allowed me to experience last weekend by meeting Mr. Grandville Sistrunk, Jeanne and her husband, Victor Buccola, and some other veterans!

This past weekend, people paid

big money to see their basketball heroes in action. Their only claim

to fame is putting a basketball through a hoop. The Sunday afternoon that I spent at the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home allowed me to be with some real heroes. There was no admission fee. The only cost was my time, but, oh, the memorable experience is priceless!

May God bless all the veterans who served giving us the freedoms we now enjoy!


If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 985-652-8477, or email hkeller@comcast.net.