Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot during the Vietnam War. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant in New York, a man at another table came up and said, ‘ You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down! ‘How in the world did you know that?’ asked Plumb. ‘I packed your parachute,’ the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, ‘I guess it worked!’ Plumb assured him, ‘It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.’
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb thought about what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. He wondered how many times he might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, Plumb was after all a hot shot fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.’
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
So during VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION MONTH, HELP of Door County thanks all of you volunteers who “pack” our parachutes and make it possible for us to do our good work. You make it possible by supporting us and providing what we need to change lives every day! THANK-YOU!!