Jamie and Roxy
By Richard Wangard, Navy, Air Force
Writing Type: Prose
By Rich Wangard
It is funny how much I remember from ‘Nam. Such as my Australian fellow airmen who flew the rattiest, smallest most unsafe aircraft there. The C9 Caribou, a small cargo aircraft that was old and had two prop engines. These guys were fearless, knowing the odds they were facing, knowing that what they carried was essential to the troops they were resupplying.
But what I remember best about them is their attitude and smiles, always pleasant and friendly, calling me “mate” as I tried to learn their own way of English. I flew on the big C-130As, ones that could take dozens and dozens of rounds and still fly. The C9 Caribous were nothing like that; hit one of their engines, and they were going down.
And then there’s Jamie and Roxy. Those two fearless Australian 40-ish women remind me so much of those boys that flew the C9s. Both were dealt bad hands. Jamie has multiple sclerosis; Roxy is a two-time cancer survivor. But you would never know it. They are typical Aussies. Improvise and overcome, always with a smile. And yet they are fierce fighters. I would not want to take either one of them on; I would lose hands down.
Just how strong is Jamie? So strong she does a 50-kilometer run every year to raise funds for MSWA Western Australia. They both live in Perth and are best of friends, so close they call each other “sis.”
And they support each other, something I can relate to because we are all disabled. We all say, “What disability?” We fight, live our lives, contribute to the betterment of humankind. We care. We love. We do our best. We improvise and overcome.
And yet, we face many bad days physically, times when all we can do is rest and pull back because our bodies fail us. But then we have a good day, and the game is on. Not knowing what the next day brings can be a psychological nightmare for me and can raise some holy hell for me because of my PTSD. My wife Sandy knows how to handle me. Don’t know where I would be without her and the 48 years with her.
Roxy has Gary and Jamie has Brad. Rock solid relationships. I wish you could know both of those women who make the world a better place to live. They are indeed remarkable people.