On July 21st we lost a friend and hero of mine. Bob Perkins was a Marine who set the example with his spirit and strength of character. I first met Bob shortly after I was wounded. He came to my house with a friend to motivate me because he had also been shot in the face in Vietnam. We hit it off immediately and connected with our strong overcome spirits. Bob did it all. He rode with the Patriot Guard Riders, he volunteered with Operation Smile He was heavily involved with his VFW, he volunteered with multiple political campaigns and was a constant supporter and attendee of Combat Wounded Coalition Home of Wounded Wear events. He loved the ladies and the ladies loved him. I always enjoyed hanging out with Bob and wanted him to jump with us at Jumping for a Purpose but Bob was diagnosed with Terminal Cancer five years ago. The doctors told Bob he probably wouldn’t live another year. He kept ticking and beating the odds. Another year would go by and I’d tell Bob to come jump with us but the doctors kept saying no. Last year, they said Bob definitely was on the downhill slide. He asked the doctors if he could jump again and they said No. Bob told them, “what’s the worst that’s gonna happen, I die?, you can’t stop that.” The doctors gave Bob the green light. I rode next to Bob up in the plane. Like any sane person getting ready to jump out of a perfectly good airplane for the first time, I could see the fear in his eyes, so I flashed him the Overcome written on my gloves. I couldn’t help laugh at the irony and would tell him later about the fact a man getting ready to die was afraid to jump out of a plane. He flashed me that big Bob Perkins scarred up grin, that only brothers who have caught bullets with their teeth can appreciate and I helped him up to jump out of the plane. I got to the ramp with Bob behind me, gave him a big hug and jumped out. 5 minutes later I watched as Bob landed next to me with a huge grin on his face, a bucket list item fulfilled, jumping with his wounded warrior brothers. I thought then, that Bob may not make it to the next jump and he did not. We will have our next Jumping for a Purpose on Sept 30th. I saw Bob on Monday.
He could not speak and drifted in and out of consciousness. I told him he’s about to see what’s on the other side, so come back and tell me what’s out there. Bob went to the big drop zone in the sky today after the cancer spread to his brain and spinal column. He was awesome and lived life as an example to anyone who has suffered a catastrophic life event. how to overcome He refused to back down. He was an Overcomer. He was my friend. He was my brother. He was a Devil Dog. Semper Fi Bob. You will be greatly missed. JR – I Overcome
Click here to learn more about Operation Smile http://www.operationsmile.org