They acted like she was crazy. The older woman’s demands forced them to travel far from the station, all for what appeared to be idle chatter.
They laughed, cracked smiles, and exchanged glances while mocking the distressed woman. The officer noticed something unusual, which prompted him to inquire about the identity of her son. It was one of the officers’ most significant errors of judgment when the woman uttered those words.
Samatha Morrison had been all alone for the last couple of years. Nobody came to visit her. She had been thinking about leaving, but the effort involved always turned her off.
Her desire to move out of the old house was partly due to that. Every corner of the house evoked memories of her husband and son and a sense of loss. There was more to it than that.
Samatha lost the love of her life ten years ago, which was the most challenging time. When she learned of his death, her whole world came crashing down.
Even though she suffered tremendous loss, she did her best to remain optimistic. Samantha was devastated when her son, Charlie, went missing as well.
She Couldn’t Move On
Samatha felt like her life had lost all meaning and suffered from depression. It had been years, and she still felt stuck. She wasn’t sure whether she would ever be able to move on after losing the only two people she had ever loved.
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She had precious but heartbreaking memories of her husband and her son in every nook and on every piece of furniture. But it didn’t end there.
An incredibly annoying neighbor had occupied the house near Samantha’s place for just a few months. Samantha didn’t mind it at first.
Shortly after she moved in, her house became a chaotic, noisy party house. Her guests sometimes littered the entrance with beer cans and cigarette butts. Samantha endured the situation as long as she could, hoping it would improve. However, she was mistaken.
One night, Samantha couldn’t sleep for the entire night due to a loud party hosted by her neighbor.
They continued to go forward in the morning. What the hell was happening? Samantha decided to visit her neighbor and requested that she lower the sound levels. She had no idea that things wouldn’t turn out as she had hoped.
After getting ready for the discussion, Samantha stepped outside, hoping that the new neighbor would understand her situation. She waited while knocking on the door.
A short while later, the woman opened the door, clearly exhausted from a long night of partying. She asked the older woman impolitely what she needed. Samantha tackled the problem in this manner.
“Excuse me. I see you’ve been having a party. That’s alright with me, but could you please turn the music down a little bit? I could barely sleep the whole night. And if you could remove the garbage from the yard and the street too, that would be great.”
“And why would I do that? This is my house. I can do anything I want as long as I’m within its limits,” the girl responded, her speech slurred. Samantha was disappointed with the reply. What was she to do?
Her Only Option
“Well, in that case, I might have to call the police,” she eventually responded. “Good, go ahead and do that,” the girl said nonchalantly and shut the door.
After giving it some thought, Samantha realized there was only one course of action. When she got home, she grabbed the phone and called the local police station. When she informed them of the problem, they assured her that some cops were en route. She had no idea that her troubles had just begun.
The Police Arrived
It didn’t take Samantha long to hear the police car approaching. The neighbor immediately turned down the music. The elderly woman was then shocked to hear the police banging on her door instead of her neighbor’s.
She pushed open the door, assuming they might only want to inquire about the specifics and check on her well-being. But the cop had no intention of doing it. There was information Samantha was unaware of.
Samantha’s neighbor was the daughter of someone important: some big shot in the city’s government; specifically, someone with close ties to the mayor. This, in a way, made her untouchable.
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The officers didn’t have any intentions of getting into trouble messing with the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the city. But that wasn’t all. They also tried to persuade Samantha not to ever bring them that issue again.
They Tried To Intimidate Her
So they decided to play along with the neighbor and pretend there wasn’t an issue. “Madam, you complained about one of your neighbors playing their music too loud. We can’t hear anything. I feel like you’re making stuff up.”
“I’m gonna have to ask you not to bother us again with this nonsense, or we’ll have to file a report against you for slander,” the officer said with a sly grin as the elderly woman listened, speechless. She felt tears of impotence coming to her eyes. How could this be happening? But suddenly, one of the officers noticed something
Hanging on Samantha’s living room wall was a photograph of her son Charlie, wearing his uniform from the Marines. The picture was taken just a few months before he passed away in service while he was stationed in Iraq.
One of the officers saw it, and he instantly turned pale. “Excuse me, Madam. Is that your son? Was he named Charlie Morrison?” Samantha confirmed that he was. Right then, the officer broke down crying.
The Truth Comes Out
As it turned out, that officer had also served in Iraq and had met Samantha’s son during one mission. As a matter of fact, he had saved his life on one occasion. He never heard from him again after that incident, but he could never forget it.
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To that day, he was still tormented by the fact that he never had the chance to pay Charlie back for what he had done for him. Thinking that he had been this close to mistreating his mother just to protect the image of some politician’s daughter, he felt sick to his stomach.
They Made A Mistake
So officer Frank Faleski explained everything to Samantha, from his story with Charlie to the reason why they were initially reluctant to intervene against the rude neighbor.
But now, there was no doubt that honoring the marine who had saved his life back in the day was way more important than the reputation of some politician’s daughter. He assured her that they would file a report against the girl, even if that meant putting their jobs on the line.
Trying To Stop Him
Samantha poured coffee for the officers and explained that she had been strongly against Charlie becoming a Marine, but he had enlisted against her wishes.
“I cried for three days trying to convince him not to join. But I lost that fight,” she told them tearfully. All the feelings she’d been bottling up for years came out as she continued to tell them his story.
Everything To Live For
Charlie and his mother had always been close. In fact, they had never spent weeks apart until he joined the Marines. He had graduated high school in 2011 and was based in the Hawaii Marine Corps.
The last time Samantha had spoken to her son on the phone, he had sounded upbeat – perhaps because he had almost completed his tour, or because he had a fiancee waiting for him back
About To Start A Family
Charlie was set to head to Japan in a month, return to Hawaii, and then come home for a few weeks. He was ecstatic.
Samantha had helped Jaime, his fiancee, organize the wedding, choose her dress, and get the rings. She couldn’t wait to have her son home again. Everything was ready for his return. But it wasn’t to be.
Living His Dream
“His dream was to be a Marine, and there was nothing I could do about that. I’m proud of him, that he died doing what he loved – protecting his country,” Samantha said.
The tragedy struck in 2013 while Charlie had been stationed in Iraq. Just a year after losing her husband, Samantha received more terrible news.
Samantha had barely been able to cope after her husband died. She felt like a zombie just going through the motions of her life.
Her mother had even come to stay with her to help her get back on her feet. One night, after falling asleep in front of the TV, her mother shook her awake, tears streaming down her face.
Samantha’s mom had seen a news report about a terrible accident in Bagdad. Although not all of the Marines had been identified yet, a sickening feeling hit the pit of Samantha’s stomach.
Her gut feeling her mother’s intuition – she just knew. Charlie had only been 20 years old – he’d barely even begun to live his life.
In the gut-wrenching hours that followed, Samantha and her mom sat in front of the news waiting for the names to roll up on the screen.
The helicopter that had been carrying the servicemen had crashed outside Baghdad during a severe sandstorm. There were six Marines aboard, and the report said none had survived the crash.
How To Go On?
Samantha felt numb when there was a knock on the door. She knew someone was there to deliver the devastating news about her son.
“For five years, I was a basket case,” Samantha said. “I didn’t know how to go on without my son.” All she had left of him were his personal effects, until they had been taken away from her too.
Charlie’s personal effects arrived at Samantha’s home in a box. With his uniform, there was a Purple Heart medal, a memorial flag, a memoria rifle, a Marine Corps Medal, and his ribbons.
Clay Center for Healthy Young Minds
Samantha displayed Charlie’s medals on her mantlepiece proudly, even though just looking at them sent her spiraling into tears. Now, they were gone.
A few months before, on the night before Christmas, someone had broken into Samantha’s home and stolen Charlie’s medals.
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They had probably wanted to find gifts under her Christmas tree, but Samantha didn’t see the point in celebrating Christmas now that she had no loved ones to spend it with. When she saw they, along with a few pieces of jewelry, were gone, she was devastated.
Another Reason To Leave
“That’s another reason why I want to move out of this house,” Samantha explained to the officers with tears in her eyes.
“I reported the theft to the police, but they didn’t seem too interested in pursuing the case,” she said with a sigh. The one officer couldn’t contain his anger. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“You don’t know what sentimental value there is to jewelry, but when you see medals, you know, medals came with a price,” Officer Faleski said angrily.
“It’s just unconscionable for someone to do that.” Now that he knew what Samantha had been dealing with – the loss of her husband, her son, and the theft of what she had left of him, he knew what he had to do to make it right.
A Debt To Pay
Officer Frank Faleski was determined to help Samantha recover her hero son’s medals. After learning that it was her son who had saved him in Iraq, he knew he had an enormous debt to pay.
He remembered that night all those years ago like it was yesterday. He’d enlisted in the Marines after he completed high school, just like Charlie.
In the first year of his deployment in Iraq, officer Faleski had suffered from two concussions, lost two friends, and watched his marriage fall apart.
Department of Defense
He had married his highschool sweetheart before leaving, but she’d left him for another man. His mental health spiraled. He was tired of this life. He wrote letters to his family about his decision so they could understand why the only solution was to end it all. That’s when Charlie had stepped in.
One night, officer Faleski decided it was time. He went up to the fourth level bathroom in the barracks and climbed up the air duct. His plan was to jump from that height.
Charlie had heard the commotion outside and quickly assessed the situation. He immediately noticed that the air duct was slick with rain. He had to act fast.
Saving His Life
Charlie sprinted up the four flights of stairs and kicked the locked bathroom door in. With two other Marines holding him by the legs, he dangled himself upside down out the window and talked officer Faleski down.
Charlie was awarded the Marine Corps medal for demonstrating “poise and resolve” as he kept officer Faleski calm and communicated with the rescue team below. His quick thinking provided time for the fire department to raise their bucket and recover the officer Faleski. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, he wouldn’t be here.