Silver Linings: A Story of Amazing Legacies and Connection

We have an incredibly amazing story to share.  Fellow Coast Guard
Shipmates, please take a knee.  This is, I
promise, is a worthwhile true story…or as we say in the military ‘no $hitter’.   You
know that saying, ‘God works is strange ways’?
Let me tell you, ain’t that the truth!!
Since late 2014, we have been full-time RV travelers.  Last year, we traded our Toyhauler 5th
wheel RV in for a more livable (for us) 5th wheel that is more
suited for full-time living.  We already sold Dan’s Harley and it was just a matter of time that we’d have to unload
mine before leaving Texas because we had no way of transporting it.     Since
our long winter-over in Texas, we’ve been hammering back and forth when to sell
my bike.  To be quite honest, I drug my
feet selling it.  I made every excuse not
to.  I LOVED that motorcycle.  I named my 2001 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic ‘Silver’ because he was my 25th wedding anniversary gift from my husband and best riding partner, Dan.  I’ve put over 60,000 miles on it.  That bike never left me stranded.  That bike took me places that even the
hardiest of men envied like my solo ride from Kentucky to Key West, road trips to Rolling
Thunder (3x), vacations to the mountains of Colorado, the Great Plains, Texas, etc.  Silver and I escorted brave young Fallen Heroes home to their saddened awaiting families; as well, welcomed tens of thousands back to their hometowns.  He’s ridden for Firefighters, Police officers, Wounded Warriors, Abused Children, countless charities, to meet new friends and to reunite with old shipmates.  Silver truly had a soul and I was honored to be able to appreciate it.
Lisa rode ‘Silver’ all the way to Key West solo
Lisa riding ‘Silver’ in the mountains of Colorado


‘Silver’ on Galveston Island with the Blue Bonnets in Texas
After a few attempts of listing it on
Craigslist, Cycle Trader and other local sources, it seemed like forever that ‘Silver’
(my 2001 HD Heritage Classic) even got an interested phone call.  Anything that came from Craigslist seemed to
be nothing but stupid scams and anything from Cycle Trader was just a bunch of
dealers trying to insultingly lowball me.
We both became very discouraged.  What few valid calls we did get, potential
buyers were scared off by the mileage; despite me paying to have the 50,000
engine requirements completed and the showroom condition we kept him in.   I wasn’t about to give it away but we really
needed to unload it.  So, a few weeks
later, we gritted our teeth and lowered the price.
Finally, we received a rather interesting phone call
showing an international number.  ‘Some
guy’ who lived in Mexico was visiting his family in Corpus Christi, Texas inquired
about it; asking all the right questions. However, Dan thought it was a scam
and didn’t take the call seriously (the whole Mexico visiting the U.S.
thing).   Then a couple days ago, the same guy called
again and wanted to arrange to meet to look at it.  Note: Corpus Christi is about 225 miles from
us.   So, we agreed to meet right outside San Antonio’s Fort Sam
Houston Army Post gate at the McDonalds at 1000 hours on Monday.
Hold that thought…let me back up a bit for a
I had previously scheduled a
doctor’s appointment the same precise time unbeknownst to Dan.  So, all morning, I stewed about it because Dan
was going to meet some ‘guy’ with an international number…from Mexico…with MY
Harley…in the unicorn’s chance that the guy did buy it, Dan stood to receive a
fair amount of cash, sign the title, etc.; then worrying how he was going to
get back on post (his plan was a taxi).
This didn’t sit particularly well with me.  So I called the doc and rescheduled because I
felt I really needed to go with him.
Just ‘something’ was telling me I NEEDED to go.
So the time had come, Dan rode my Harley while I followed in
our truck to the McDonalds outside the gate (I couldn’t ride Silver at the moment because I was healing from a back injury).
We ran a few minutes late; twenty minutes as a matter of fact.  We sat there wondering if he gave up on
us, but we decided to wait.  Another 20 minutes went by and a car finally
came and this clean cut older man about our age, tall and slim in stature, shirt
tucked in clean jeans with ostrich hide looking cowboy boots stepped out and
met with us.  He was very cordial and
well versed.  He and Dan exchanged typical conversation and questions about my ride (ie. Mileage, maintenance, upgrades, chrome that’s
been added, etc.).  He reiterated the
price to Dan that they discussed prior on the phone, walked around it twice and
said, ‘I’ll take it’.  I quietly sighed;
hoping he wouldn’t.   I politely told him the only thing I needed to
take off was a Coast Guard Magnet I had on one of the chrome covers.  He sort of chuckled and said, ‘no, leave it
on.  My dad was in the Coast Guard’.  At that time, he also noticed Dan’s tattoo on his arm which
led us into a short conversation about both of our tenures in the Coast Guard.  About this time, I’m handwriting the bill of
sale out and asked for his full name; he replied, ‘Gary Phillips’. Then we
asked him who his father was.  He said, ‘Oh,
my dad was killed in action in Vietnam’.
Dan and I then quickly glanced at
each other with the most bizarre look on our faces because we are both quite
fluent with our Coast Guard history.  Dan
then asked him, ‘Point Welcome’??   ‘Gary’ quickly said ‘yes, he was an engineer
on board.”  Right then, both Dan’s and my
hair stood straight up on the backs of our necks.
Jerry and Dan meeting


For those who aren’t familiar, The USCGC Point Welcome, an 82’ Patrol Cutter, assigned to CG Squadron One, Division 12, Vietnam was attacked by friendly fire
by our own Air Force August 11, 1966.  The CO, LTjg David Brostrom and Gary’s father, EN2 Jerry Phillips were both killed while five of their shipmates were wounded in the attack.  (For more info on the Point Welcome mishap/incident, please click link above).  His father was one of seven Coast Guardsmen killed in action in Vietnam.  We knew his name well from our history lesson and reading.
This was an amazing moment though.  All of my apprehensions of selling Silver were lifted.  I honestly felt unbelievably GOOD about this
sale.  Through further conversation, I
shared with him that I, too, was an orphaned Coastie brat when I was a baby;
explaining who my father was, where he was stationed, how he died, etc.  Coincidentally, my father was an EN2 precisely the same time his dad was; however, I lost my father two years prior to Gary losing his.  Due to the Coast Guard’s size and dates of service, we thought perhaps they knew each other.  So here we
stood together, shaking hands and hugging because we felt so connected in a eerily yet fantastic


Dan and Gary shaking on the sale
So, ‘this’ is why I ‘needed’ to be there for the sale.   As Gary
rode off on Silver, I had to do some googling and yes, EN2 Jerry Phillips’
hometown was….Corpus Christi, Texas where Gary’s mother and brother still
reside.  The son of this well known Coast Guard Hero
that we’ve read about in history books and tell the story bought MY BIKE!  I’m totally okay.  I know he’s in good hands and I know he’s got two Coast Guard Heroes looking down on him to keep him safe.
Now, even more coincidence, we spent the previous
day with some Army friends and got into a conversation about the Coast Guard
Point Welcome’s horrible fate August 11, 1966 in Vietnam.


Oh, and I forgot to mention, Dan picked up a ‘penny from
heaven’ that morning right outside our RV before we left to take the bike.


Coincidence?  There’s a reason for everything.  Time, place, and people are meant to happen.

Ride Safe, Gary!!  He’s yours now.

One Reply to “Silver Linings: A Story of Amazing Legacies and Connection”

  1. This blog post was awesome. I am so glad you know that "Silver" is in good hands. Amazing how our bigger than life lives entwine with others. That 6 degree thing is real:)

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