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The second weekend in August 2004, I was on vacation in Saint Augustine, FL when Hurricane Charley blasted its way through southwest Florida. I was on the beach in an area of Florida that the hurricane did not affect and was oblivious to the destruction that was less than 200 miles away. But, when I read the morning paper, I was shocked to see the extensive damage along the southwest coastline. While reading of the accounts and seeing the photos of what the hurricane had done, it hit me in a moment: here I was, relaxing and enjoying the beach, while there were many people in my own state who were suffering. In that moment, I wanted, and deep down inside of me, needed to help those who ha

The Risk and the Reward

In the summer of ‘69, my Marine Corps reserve unit was in Puerto Rico for training at the Roosevelt Roads Base on the eastern side of the island. One day while on the bus transporting a number of us from one area of the base to the another, I became engaged in a conversation about football with some of my Marine buddies. One thing led to another and soon I told them just how far I could punt a football. As we were passing by a vacant parking lot I boasted that I could punt a football “from one end of that parking lot to the other!” The distance looked to be about 60 yards, and since I’d punted that distance before, and I was sure I could still do it. “I bet you can’t do that!” said one guy

Hot Summer in the Fields

It was a very hot summer’s day just outside of Waldo and I, along with some friends, showed up at the Wasdin farm to pick yellow summer squash for Farmer Wasdin, whose son, Buddy, was one of my very best friends. Buddy had recruited us, and of course, we not only wanted to help them get the crop out of the field, we were anxious to make some summer spending money! On the first morning, we all showed up at the appointed time of 7am to begin work. As we started picking, we all did our share of complaining about how early we had to get up in order to be at the farm by 7am. But as the day progressed, we teenagers saw and felt the wisdom of an early start. For sure, it was much cooler at 7am t

Independence Day

Today is the 4th of July. And what a quintessential American day it is! It’s a time for picnics, playing on the beach, cookouts and fireworks. This day also affords us the opportunity to reflect on the American Revolution and thank our Founding Fathers for their courage, tenacity and their forward-thinking that gave us a foundation for what we have today . I have a special connection to the American Revolution. My three times great-grandfather was in the thick of it and my older brother, James, was named after him. Lt. James Campen was in the 2nd North Carolina Regiment and entered the conflict in 1777. He was wounded and became a prisoner of war at the Siege of Charleston and on

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© 2016 byBen Campen

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