Thursday, November 4, 2010

I want to tell you about a man

Several months ago (the day we went and saw Reba), I got this great idea, but like most of my ideas I didn't think it would work.  After debating whether or not to do it, I just did it.  What to know what is was???? 

My idea was to email Clemson University and see if I could get my dad on the field for one of the football games.  With that, I sent the following email to President Barker.  

President Barker,

I want to tell you about a man that received a baseball scholarship to Clemson University in 1968, but choose not to take it for the full academic scholarship he also received. I want to tell you about a man who served his country since he was 18 years old and has loved every minute of it. I would like to tell you about a man who 7 years ago was told if his medication didn’t work, he had 60 days to live. I want to tell you about the most amazing man I have ever met. I want to tell you about my dad, Randy Moon.

My dad grew up in a mill village in Anderson, SC. It was on the mill village, where he excelled in sports. Sports were his way out of the life he had. He said that he always wanted to be a Clemson football player and experience running down the hill, as well as the best pitcher in Clemson history. His dreams almost came true when he received a baseball scholarship in 1968. His family was very poor and was unable to pay for him to go to college… so he set his dreams aside and took the full academic scholarship the University also offered him.

It was during his time at Clemson, that he started his military career. It’s actually the only job he has ever had. I wish I could tell you more about his time in the military, but he doesn’t tell us much. The only thing I know is he was a General for the SC Army National Guard, the HRO of the state, and he ran the 263rd Army, Air, Missile, and Defense Command. He enjoyed his job everyday and it was sad to see him retire due to what happened in 2003.

On September 3, 2003 (my sister's birthday), our world was turned upside down. My dad was diagnosed with CML. CML is Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also has CML). It is one of the rarest forms of leukemia and there is no cure. At that time, the only option was an experimental drug called gleevec. If the drug didn’t work, he had 60 days to live. If the drug did work, he had 3-5 years. It has now been 7 years and he is still going strong. Right now, he is the only person in the world that has been taking the amount of gleevec he takes on a daily basis. His doctors are not sure how long he will be able to stay on gleevec so he lives each day as his last.

With that in mind, my sister and I have decided that this year, on Military Appreciation Day, we would like to bring him to the Clemson game. We would like for him to show his grandchildren around the University he loves so much and enjoy a Clemson football game, with the entire family. If it is possible, I would love for him to experience what it would be like to be on the field. I am not looking for some type of recognition for him. People don’t even have to know who he is…I would simply like for one of his dreams to come true.

Thank you for your time and if you are able to help me make his childhood dream come true, I would greatly appreciate it.


Once I sent it, I didn't think I would ever hear from them, but I received this email shortly after I sent mine.

You have told the story of a remarkable man, and you have told it remarkably well.  Thank you for sharing.  I don’t know whether it is even possible to accommodate game-day requests like this, especially on short notice, but I will forward your message.
You father would definitely enjoy the ceremony and seeing the Scroll of Honor, even if only attending the game.  Thank you for writing and best wishes from Clemson.
--Jim Barker

I couldn't believe that he read my email, let alone responded.  I received more emails and several calls and we were all set.  

Now to the hard part, Jennifer and I had to tell our dad what we had done.  We came up with a couple ideas and knew that we couldn't tell him without crying so we decided to type him a letter.  We gave him the letter together a couple weeks ago when our parents were here visiting.  

Here is what it said...


On November 6th, you and mom will be guests of Clemson University to celebrate Military Appreciation Day.  The University has set up the following events for the day that you will participate in.

1. Pre-game Parade: Parade line-up is 75 minutes prior to kickoff outside the Holmes and Mc Cabe dormitories located on Fort Hill Street.  The parade will begin 1 hour prior to kickoff and end at the tunnel of Littlejohn Coliseum.
2. Halftime- With 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter, you will gather in the West Endzone (by using Portal W & X) for the halftime ceremonies.  During halftime you will be on the field with other veterans and current soldiers.  There will be an introduction of families of fallen soldiers from the state of South Carolina; a wreath, helmet and boots to signify the fallen soldiers will be placed on the field. The Clemson University Company-C-4 Pershing Rifles will do a 21-gun salute and the Tiger band will play “Taps”. 

As little girls, Jennifer and I looked forward to weekend getaways to Clemson University.  We both can still picture you taking us around the campus and showing us the college you loved so much, Don sleeping in the passenger seat, and lets not forget the lady you hit with the mirror.  HA!

On November 6th, we hope that you will do the same for our children.  They deserve to know why you love Clemson University.  They deserve to know that this is where your childhood dreams ended, but your future dreams began.  They deserve to see the excitement on your face as you show them Tillman Hall.  They deserve to see you sing your Alma Mater.  They deserve to see you walking down the streets of Clemson University as a United States Veteran.  They deserve to see your eyes glow with pride while the Tigers run down the hill and see you chant C-L-E-M-S-OOO-N. And we all deserve to see you on that field during half time.

Dad, even though we may not tell you how much you mean to us…you mean the world to both of us!  We are both extremely proud of you for what you have accomplished and what you have become.  We both hope that when you look back on November 6, 2010; you can say it was one of the most amazing days of your life.  Because watching you show our children around the campus you love and standing in front of 80 thousand people showing that you fought for the country you love will be one of the best days of our lives!

We love you,

Jennifer and Stephanie

I still can't believe the University responded and tomorrow we are heading to Clemson for the big day!  Check back later to see/read about our day may never know what I have up my sleeve!!!

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