04 December 2005

christmas letter time

photo courtesy the heritage of the great war.

yesterday we were happy to receive our yearly christmas letter from our old childhood friend jeff. jeff wanted to be a marine biologist then suddenly changed his mind to become a mortician. he said it was to fulfill a desire to help people. jeff and his family lived in choctaw hills subdivision near libuse and pineville, louisiana and we went to school together in the 9th and 10th grade. his dad worked for the forest service. one day jeff phoned us up to tell us that his dad had received a transfer to missoula, montana. now, jeff and his own family live near salt lake city, utah.

every year except last year he has sent us a nice christmas card and within that card crisply folded the latest on his "zoo". jeff or his wife always have the best clip art, this year a green wreath with a red bow in the top left, the christmas star over on the right and at the bottom right a lit candle in a brass candle holder with a sprig of holly to finish it off

the reason we are writing about jeff's christmas letter is because this year in it he tells how he has been here to louisiana and so we thought you might enjoy his perspective

Jeff - I am working for [a] Mortuary and am enjoying a nice work schedule, no on call duty! As an avid fan of World War II history, I was looking forward to attending the International Conference on World War II. There was just one little problem: it was scheduled for the first week of October in New Orleans! But, I still got to Louisiana...just not for the conference. As a member of the Department of Homeland Security's Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT), I was deployed on September 1st to assist with morgue operations based near Baton Rouge. My duties that month were handling transportation and logistics for the operation. I also had the "pleasure" of enduring hurricane Rita, just 125 miles away.

I came home for a week then returned for another month. During the second trip, part of my time was spent in recovering remains and caskets from cemeteries destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The wide-spread destruction throughout southern Louisiana is impossible to describe. It will be years before life returns to normal for many areas. I will be going back after Thanksgiving as the efforts continue. This experience has been one of the most rewarding of my career and I have met some fantastic people. I am fortunate to have a loving family and supportive employer who allow me to assist with these efforts.

As the year draws to a close, we turn our hearts and minds to our families, friends and our Savior, we pray that you will be blessed with health and happiness throughout the New Year.
J,P,D,C,R and B