Written by John McElligott
Bubba Gump and Forest Gump would be proud of what Captain Dan (with a first name only seen in the movies) found in Belcher, Louisiana… Staff SGT US Army Whayland H. Greene.
I have to hand it to Gary Sinise. He loves veterans, and they love him, too. Gary Sinise and I just happen to have a mutual friend in Whayland Greene, who is a walking history book about WWII in the Philippines where he became a hero.
While I am not from Belcher, LA, I stop there almost every year to visit the Belcher Veterans Garden started by Whayland Greene himself. This garden was proudly supported by my Father in law, Ed McGowan, CPL USMC. Ed was a radio man in Korea and supported veterans whenever asked. He had a brick placed for me at this garden in Belcher, and I have one for Ed placed at the Duke garden outside of Durham, NC.
My last visit to Belcher was just before Christmas 2019. I was just leaving the Belcher Garden when Whayland pulled up to the house next to me. He remembered me from the past years when I had stopped to donate whatever cash I had on hand.
Whayland begged me to come in and see his house and mementos. I told him I had to get back for lunch with my wife’s family and that my dog, Harley, was with me in my truck. Once again, he teary eyed , pleaded for me to see his house. Well, after putting my dog in my truck, I did.
Well, I was never so impressed in my life at the pictures and WWII historical artifacts that Whayland had collected in his 95 years. I stayed for almost 2 hours looking at pictures and souvenirs. This included the books he had written along with many support letters from everyone who asked for his help. This is also where I saw Captain Dan’s pictures, and read about his foundation. I could not believe my eyes. These two guys are amazing! One, Gary Sinise, is 60 years old and the other, Whayland, is 95. Both have poured their lives to helping Veterans, and still are pushing the envelope.
The problem is Wayland’s licking envelope days are coming to a close. He asked me to help. So I thought I would ask for your help, too. Please help Captain Dan and Sergeant Whayland.
I think that us Midland Water Boys and Girls need to let these two guys know how we feel about what they are doing. So I wrote to every Senator and Congressman in Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee to try and find someone who can help save the house, the Belcher Veteran’s garden and support Captain Dan’s projects as well.
You can read more about the Belcher Memorial Garden here:
Here is the website for Gary Sinise’s Foundation
So let’s see if our water drinkers from Midland can donate the cost of a case of beer or case of wine in the name of all of our RIP veterans.