First let me preface this with the fact that this is how Chaz and I feel. I cannot, nor will not speak for everyone. Every person has a different view point and opinion. Many other families feel the way we do, but not all do. When I blogged about my social experiment yesterday it was brought to my attention that many people don't know what to do. And I bet Emily Post doesn't have an etiquette chapter on how to handle our situation. So I like to quote Pat from Train, "Just make crap up!" (Before the other Train fans correct me, I know he uses the other word for crap. I do realize this, but don't want to put that on here). In other words, when you see a soldier like Chaz or even a soldier with his family go with your gut and you'll be fine.
We are well aware our situation is unique. It would be interesting to see how many wounded warrior families you see in a year. Of course this is our reality so we have several families every day. Our days are made brighter by the simple gestures of others. We love seeing the posts on Team Allen and the comments on my blog. We love it when you stop Chaz and tell him "Thank you for your service." We love it when you tell our girls, "You're Daddy is a Hero." We love it when you stop and open the door for us. We laughed when this lady made everyone get off of an elevator so Chaz could get on it. She politely, but forcefully reminded them that Chaz was a wounded warrior. We have had random people buy our meals and pay for our parking too. We feel like this is all unnecessary, but as Chaz points out it is something we would do if the tables were turned. All of these things show us how much America appreciates its soldiers and their sacrifices. It sustains our faith and hope in America. It also shows our girls how wonderful our world really is.
Chaz and I do not mind if you ask questions. I spent a good 10-15 minutes in the entrance of American Girl with a little girl (who was probably about 5) and her mom answering all of her questions about Chaz's "silly" legs yesterday. When small children use words like silly, weird or strange it is ok, so don't be embarrassed. They are so little and those are the only words in their vocabulary that make sense to them. I always say, I will answer as many questions as you have as long as I have the time. I will also communicate anything and everything I can to help you understand this life we are living. Chaz and I are very open about his service and our sacrifices, so just ask.
If you see Chaz or another soldier fall yes it is polite to ask us if we need help, mainly because sometimes we do. But Chaz and his fellow warriors do have to sit and assess the situation so don't bombard them with "Can I help you?" Ask them once and wait for a reply. Also be willing to step up if they ask for help, don't just stare. Handing them a cane could be all they need. Also know that PT/OT has trained these guys how to get up off the floor in various situations.
The bottom line is you know if your heart is in the right place. Go with your gut and you'll be fine. Yes some are too stubborn or proud to take it, but you can still offer, I do all the time. Families like ours appreciate you and your thoughts, prayers, emails, cards and all the above. No good deed goes unnoticed. You will get instant gratification by simply thanking our soldiers, so feel free to do it often. It will warm your heart like never before! I hope this quick blog post helps to answer some of your questions! As always thank you for your support!