ENID, Okla. – Air Force and Navy, air and water, sky and sea meet in a small, assisted living apartment in a northwest Oklahoma city.
“I was volunteering out at the Burgundy Place,” said Tony Weedn who met Rex ‘Soup’ Campbell as a sort of class assignment a few weeks back.
“I thought I might be here an hour,” Weedn said.
“Gosh,” Campbell said. “He was here about 3 hours.”
Weedn wanted to know all about Campbell’s time aboard the U.S.S. Gambier Bay in World War II, how that carrier was sunk and how Campbell spent nearly two days floating in the South Pacific awaiting rescue.
“That just sparked a bunch of questions,” Weedn said.
Campbell wanted to know a little about Weedn’s 13 years piloting jets in the Air Force and how he looked too young to have four kids of his own.
“I couldn’t hardly believe that,” Campbell said of Weedn’s youthful looks.
But, somewhere along their freewheeling conversations, Weedn asked Campbell if there was anything he missed doing, any chance he regretted not taking. There was one little thing.
“I said I’d like to play the violin,” Campbell said. “I like violin music.”
So, from one veteran to another, across sea and sky and three generations, Weedn made a couple of phone calls and got Erin Penner, a member of the Enid Symphony, to perform.
Campbell not only got a private concert. He got that lesson he’d always wanted.
Weedn is still a pilot, but he just started up a mobile app called Base Connect.
“Facebook connects the world,” he said. “We’re connecting our troops.”
Campbell had an uncle who played the fiddle. Listening to one still makes him want to dance.
At age 96, Campbell can add another memory to a very long list of big ones.
The tune is simple, but the sound is sweet.
“Is it a dream come true for you,” Weedn said.
“It darn sure is,” Campbell said.
Weedn’s new mobile app for the military, Base Connect, can be found here.
Part of Base Connect will be another program called Vet Wish, connecting senior veterans with simple, fun things they’ve always wanted to do.