In honor of Captain Ralph Styles (a Decorated WWII Submarine Captain in the Pacific Theater), who began this Tribute Ceremony about 30 years ago—
Each sunset, our community comes together with new friends from around the world, now at Siesta Key Public Access #2, at 10 Beach Road as we now say: “Welcome to Patriots Pier at Sunset Point Pier! We thank you for joining our nightly tribute to honor the sacrifices of our military and service personnel in protecting our country and our freedoms! We are the land of the free because of the brave!”
At our Patriots Pier at Sunset Point Ceremony on February 13, 2020, we were honored to celebrate the very special story of Beth Usher as a follow up to our Celebration on her birthday last June.
Thank you to Dan Caffrey, as Beth calls “my brother from another mother” who brought us Beth’s heroic story!
Beth was able to be joined by her parents, Brian and Kathy, and their close friends the Caffrey’s with Annie Styles (Captain Ralph Styles’ daughter), Kelli, and as Beth requested, Patriot Captain Mike.
All were able to share their story that even brought tears of joy to some.
Watch the videos posted at “Patriots Pier at Sunset Point” on Facebook.
Beth and her family and friends told us of her remarkable story we were able to share with a large group that gathered as we do each sunset.
Beth, at six, developed a rare brain condition called Rasmussen Encephalitis that was eating away the left side of her brain. Furthermore, her days were filled with seizures – up to 100 per day.
Beth’s parents noticed that when Beth watched the “Mister Rogers Neighborhood “ TV Show and heard his soothing voice that she did not have the seizures. Her mom, Kathy, thought an autograph picture from Mr. Rogers would be a keepsake treasure for her daughter.
After contacting Mr. Rogers, a picture wasn’t all he did for his new friend.
When Beth was in the hospital, Mr. Rogers called many times. After Beth had fallen into a coma after surgery, he even visited (demanding no media) her and gave a private bedside performance with his complete cast and clarinet. Even though she was in a coma, Beth opened her eyes when she heard his voice. Their bond was special and he speaks of her and their “special neighborhood friendship” in his books.
Beth’s other special “hero,” Dr. Ben Carson took charge of Beth as the sixth person to have this “hemispherectomy” surgery and in 1987, he removed half of her brain in a 12-hour surgery.
The story of Dr. Carson as a dedication to Beth is a remarkable story by itself.
Read more of this in his book “Gifted Hands” in the chapter devoted to “Little Beth” as he even sat by her bedside in a tuxedo, skipping a night at the orchestra he was to attend when he learned her condition the evening of the surgery had taken a bad turn.
Also read Beth’s book “The Sun Can Come Out Again.”
“We are the land of the free because of the brave!”
See more at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC65mOgKWpY
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