On November 25th, the Kansas Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross made their annual visit to the Veterans Administration Hospital. They delivered comfort kits to the men and women who proudly served in the armed forces, defended our country and who now call the Veterans Administration their home. While there, I had the honor and privilege of interviewing an ‘old timer’ named Marcus Nigh. Born in 1923, Marcus describes himself as “90 years young”. His story will show one of the many ways that the Red Cross supported our servicemen and women almost 50 years ago. That support is still present today.
Army Staff-Sergeant Nigh was one of three brothers, all of whom served in the military. His was a proud and lengthy career of military service. Marcus joined the Army in 1943, serving until 1946. He then reenlisted in 1949, making the military his career. He served with distinction until he retired from military service in 1966 with twenty years of service to his country.
He has a storied military background spanning three wars. In WWII he supported a Field Artillery unit maintaining communications between forward spotters and artillery battery commanders. In Korea he served in a unit responsible for maintaining the integrity of physical communication lines for the military. Marcus described his unit’s location as being situated right on the Chinese border during the war. He recalls, “I was the guy on the pole with the belt harness, stringing communication wires.”
In 1966 Marcus was serving in a forward combat unit as a Platoon Sergeant in Vietnam. It was at that time that he discovered the true, intercontinental reach of the Red Cross. He didn’t know that his mother had become seriously ill. He was notified of his mother’s condition by the Red Cross, through what is now called the Emergency Communications Center. The Red Cross worked with his commanding officer, arranging for a two week emergency leave to attend to his mother’s needs.
Marcus, thank you and all of your comrades in arms for your service to our country. Thanks for protecting our freedom and way of life, both here and abroad.