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#432 Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) Shares a Poignant 4th of July message about his mother caring for his combat-wounded father.

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
July 4, 2020 2:59 pm

#432 Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) Shares a Poignant 4th of July message about his mother caring for his combat-wounded father.

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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July 4, 2020 2:59 pm

As the country seems so divided, stories like the Bonsall family's become increasingly important ...they reveal what is best about America. Joe Bonsall's fans all know him as the tenor of the Oak Ridge Boys, and this Hall of Fame, Award Winning artist has certainly endeared himself to millions. 

They may not know, however, the sacrifice his family made for this great nation. Listen to his story. 


Peter Rosenberger is the host of HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER.  The nation's #1 broadcast and podcast show for family caregivers, Peter draws upon his 34+ year journey as a caregiver for his wife, Gracie, through a medical nightmare that includes 80+ surgeries, multiple amputations, and treatment by 100+ physicians. 

Learn more at


Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger

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Call 866-WIN-ASIA or to see chickens and other animals to donate, go to Joe, I specifically asked you on the show, a lot of my listeners here on this show right now on this network have followed you, of course, for a lifetime, but they may not know the journey your family's had, and this has been July 4th week. We've been talking about this great country. I know that your blood runs red, white, and blue. But people don't know your story, and particularly your mother's story of her journey with your dad. This is all detailed in your book GI Joe and Lily, which is a wonderful book, and if you get a chance, please go get this book.

I actually teared up when I read it. It is a beautiful story of your folks. Tell us a little bit about your mom and dad. Well, in a nutshell, my mom and dad were both World War II veterans. They both pretty much ran away from home and joined the Army. And my mother was a woman's Army Corps WAC, and my father was in the 90th Infantry and on the first wave of attack on D-Day at Utah Beach. He fought 50 days in and got hit hard in St.

Lo, France after taking out a German machine gun nest single-handedly. He was awarded the Bronze Star, he got Purple Hearts for being shot up pretty badly, and a Silver Star. And those medals are why he's buried in Arlington today along with my mother. They met when he came home from the war. My mother was working, like I said, with the Women's Army Corps in Long Island at Mitchell Field, and they were expatriating, I forget the word, you know, getting the guys in correctly back into the States. And my mother met my father then.

They got married three days later. They had me in 1948. When my dad was 39 years old, he was working factories. And 39, he had a debilitating stroke. He had a piece of shrapnel catch in his carotid artery, and it cut off the blood flow to his brain, damaged his brain. It took away his right arm for the rest of his life. He never got anything in that right arm again. His leg, he could walk on it with a cane for several years, but eventually was wheelchair-bound, and his speech was 98% gone. He could say, he could speak maybe 2% of what, you know, that you could understand, and most of them were curse words that he learned in the Veterans Hospital when he first came out of this, came out from being unconscious.

So anyway, the fact of the matter is, after spending some time in the Veterans Hospital and trying to rehabilitate him, they got him as far as they could and sent him home. And my mother looked after him until the day he died, 1975. She was so dedicated to him. I think, to be real honest, my mother was not only a wonderful soul and a great Christian soul and my inspiration to this day, but my mother, I believed, she loved this country. She cried when a flag went by. She loved those men that served.

And I think they all were encapsulated in my father. I think in him she saw the sacrifice that every one of those guys made. She saw them all coming home, many of them in pieces. And she just, her words were, I won't throw him away like an old shoe. I remember her saying that. And she never did, man. I mean, she looked after him, and we all looked after him, but there was just nothing like the dedication that my mother had to making sure that he was taken care of and looked after. She spent her whole life doing that. Yes, she loved him, but man, it was even more than that.

It was some kind of angelic, God-given. You know, you talk about caregiving, Peter. I read your book as well, and I know what you've been through in your life. I don't know that everybody can do it. I don't know that I can do it or that I could do it. I like to think I could. I mean, I love my wife.

We've been married a long time. She's precious to me. If something happened to her, I think I could take on the mantle like you did. But, you know, you just don't know.

It's a hard road to hoe. And my mother, man, was just magnificent. She just was magnificent. And they rest together in Arlington Cemetery, and they had a great love story, yes. As you grew up in this environment, and the book G.I.

Joe and Lily was rather candid, Joe. I mean, you did not gloss over the painful parts of growing up in a home with a wounded vet. Alcoholism, all these kinds of things were part of this journey with your dad. And your mother, I mean, she really is an extraordinary woman, clearly. And that comes out so beautifully in the book. And you honored your father, too.

You didn't dishonor him, but you just have to look at it for what it is. My father, when he was even in old age, him and I got very close as he got older. I would go up there to Philly and surprise visit him in the little row house we grew up in. And we would sit in the back kitchen there on the table and play Penny Annie poker for six, seven, eight hours all night long. And the pennies turned to nickels, which turned to quarters. And then he'd start getting out the green. I lost so much money to my father.

It's amazing. Stroke victim and all. He could play his poker. Must've learned it in the Army, but I got to tell you, he always, he would be candid with me. And he would say, Bonso, that's what he called me. And he'd make his hand like a gun and go, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh, war. A god dang war. No, no, no. and he paid for that war his whole life and in his younger days yeah he drank he had nightmares he was a pain in the can to live with some to be honest because of what he went through but we all understood him though at the same time my mother especially and I remember what would you say about him the machine gun what would you say Joe about families of vets that are wounded like this because we have so many that are coming back with all types of traumatic brain injuries all types of neurological events that never recover from this and you're you know we had your mother came from a different stock you know she's she's an extraordinary woman but they're they're not a lot of your mother's out there but there are a lot of people out there having to do what your mother did we know one of the things and you know you know as your book has encouraged so many people I have heard over the years since my book came out which is was in 2003 now but it still sells regularly I've heard from so many young soldiers and their wives who wanted to be like my mother after reading that book and that's always blessed my heart and I know it certainly would hers if she knew that the young soldiers of today were reading her story as she used to tell it you're going to write my story aren't you Joey that's what she'd always tell me and I always promised her I would and I wish she had lived at that to see the book but I I think she knows that I thought I wrote her story but to get back to your thought there and you're exactly right war is hell it's absolute hell battle it's hell you see things and your adrenaline rush is such that there's nothing like it at all and then to come back to normalcy or try to is very hard for these men it was hard for my father I saw it up close man and it was ugly and our young people today have seen things and done things I equate it like this have you ever been in a car wreck I mean like a really good bang-up car wreck where maybe you could have even died the noise smells the bent metal the sounds everything that happens to you right there that adrenaline that happens I was in a wreck like that one time and every time I walked into my garage and could smell that smell of the oil or whatever in a garage I got a little creeped out for a long time because of that wreck stayed in my mind combat is like that feeling every day of every week of every month continuous these men go through this for days and days and days and days what happens to that adrenaline rush where does it go does it even out do you just go crazy and I think that we need a strong sense of understanding of these people because it's tough if you've ever been in a good fistfight growing up in Philly I was in a few think of that rush that happens when when you get punched in the face or you're punching somebody in the face I've done it it's a heck of a rush combat is worse than that and it's continuous it pays a big toll man on the mind and the body and the spirit and the spirit of a young man and we just need to understand these these guys better and we need to take care of them better and I I do think President Trump's trying to do that and and we need to and we need to look after them they're the best of us they they gave of themselves and I think we owe it to them but you're right I don't know I like to think my mother's are out there I like to think there's people out there you're out there I think I'm out there like I said earlier I don't know for sure though but it's tough it's tough this PTSD thing is really hard we're talking to Joe Bonsel of the Oakridge boys talking about his journey and his family's journey through caring for his father who was horribly wounded during World War two and his mother took care of him for the rest of his life Joe we only got about a minute left if you want to see more about Joe go to Joe I just want you to know I appreciate you calling just just to take a moment to spotlight these wounded vets and their families and I'm sorry we bumped up against the clock here we got a run but thank you so much and I and I want to have you back on you're doing a great work good luck on your show brother thank you Joe Bonsel of the Oakridge boys if you see a wounded vet look at their family as well look at their family this is what Joe's message is and GI Joe and Lily go to for more this is hope for the caregiver we'll be right back don't go away have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you I'm Gracie Rosenberger and in 1983 I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me but over time my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God that understanding along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish standing with hope for more than a dozen years we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people on a regular basis we purchased and ship equipment and supplies and with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison we also recycle parts from donated limbs all of this is to point others to Christ the source of my hope and strength please visit to learn more and participate in lifting others up that's I'm Gracie and I am standing with hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 05:42:42 / 2024-01-24 05:48:47 / 6

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