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Northeast Times | October 21, 2021

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Mary Eisenhower, Veterans Speak at Irving H.S.

Mary Eisenhower, Veterans Speak at Irving H.S.

The JROTC cadets at Irving High School were treated to a special visit by Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of former President Dwight Eisenhower, and three veterans Thursday.

CWO5 Gary Linfoot, retired Army pilot, not only talked but also demonstrated how he overcame physical barriers. In 2008, the helicopter he was flying had a mechanical failure and crashed, crushing his spine. He was told he wouldn’t walk again, but with the help of an exoskeleton that straps onto his waist and legs, he took his “second first steps” in 2013. “To have the chance to walk again, to see my wife, Mari, eye-to-eye and hug my children heart-to-heart is a feeling I cannot begin to explain,” he says.

Eisenhower shared why her grandfather started People to International, which she has continued through the People to People International Friendship Fund, which she launched in 1999. The fund has supported causes including the Global Humanitarian Eradication of Landmines, Children’s Mercy Hospital in London, earthquake relief in India, disaster relief to victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, underserved schools in China and Sri Lanka, a home for leukemia victims and their families in Cuba, a library project in Vietnam and the Friends of Egypt organization.

“In my travels with People to People International, I’ve visited over 75 countries, and one thing I’ve learned is that we are the most fortunate country on the planet and we need to do our part to help others, not to bring us down but to bring them up to our standards,” she says. “ … We’re fortunate enough that we have programs that will help our people. Other countries don’t have the money for that.”

Army Maj. Gen. Pat Brady, one of only 79 living Medal of Honor recipients, taught students “in very few minutes that the secret to success in life is courage, the secret to courage is failure, the secret to happiness in life is sacrifice, which is love in action and the key to America’s future is patriotism.”

Sgt. Rocky Sickman, United States Marine Corps and current vice president at Anheuser-Busch, told about the 444 days he spent in captivity in the Iranian embassy.