By Sherry Simmons
Many of you know that my husband Clint and I are bondsmen. Over the past few years our daughter, Summer and Granddaughter, Destinie have joined the family business.
News outlets and public opinion often portray Bail Bond Agents as villains. This is certainly not the case in our family business. I can tell you many stories of compassion, generosity, and kindness and perhaps I will at a later date. For now, I want to share a story that is so near and dear to my heart.
Some years ago my husband Clint bonded out a Vietnam Veteran. We will call him Danny.
Danny suffered from severe PTSD and cancer from serving in Vietnam at the time that
Agent Orange was used.
Danny had been picked up for for a PTSD event. While walking one day in Cortez, Danny saw an American Flag being displayed incorrectly and disrespectfully. He acted out, removed the flag and became overly verbal and angry. Clint bonded Danny out. Danny was ordered by the court to have a mental evaluation after bonding. Danny knew he must go to the VA for an evaluation, but was unable to drive. That touched Clint's heart, as he deeply respects our Veterans, and he drove him to the VA Hospital in Grand Junction. A few days later he received a call from Danny that he had been released and wanted to come home.( I want to note here, that I do not think the VA Hospital gave Danny the care he deserved as he was labeled terminal.) Clint drove down and picked up Danny.
Over the course of the next few weeks, Clint engaged and helped Danny as much as he could; visiting, driving him, and bringing him donuts. Clint would come home and tell me stories about Danny and the situation he was living in.
One day my heart was moved to go meet Danny and see if I might be able to help him in some way. I am so thankful God put this on my heart. I immediately became involved in a friendship that changed me for ever.
Several difficult things were going on in Danny's life. He had a home care worker who was far less than adequate. He had befriended a girl whom may have been just after Danny's pain medications. He was estranged from his family, sick, weak, and unable to take care of his household.
I met Danny and I visited him every day accept for one time after we met. Most times when I visited Danny, he would have a few caring fellow Veterans there visiting him, too. I would walk in, they would say," Hello Sherry," but Danny - every time would say, "hello Hope." The first few times i just shrugged it off, but as time went on it never changed. Danny never one time called me Sherry; he always called me Hope. After a while, his Veteran friends began calling me Hope, mostly in jest, but I think also to go along with Danny.
I began to believe God was at work with Danny. As Danny's health declined, our friendship grew. Everyday I would talk to Danny about Jesus, but each passing day it seemed there wasn't any progress. I recall one time I said "Ok Danny, I'm going to ask again, do you Believe in Jesus?" This time he pointed to his book case and said, rather angrily, "see all those Bibles?" I told him, "of course, I see the Bibles, Danny, but do you believe in Jesus?" He, as in every time before, never gave me an answer.
Day after day I would visit, and day after day he would tell me, "Hello, Hope." My time spent with Danny consisted of hearing many fishing stories and adventures that he had with his friend Swank. We never spoke about the war or his health, but I would always try to fit a conversation in there about Jesus.
Each day I would bring some food or donuts, (Danny loved donuts,) I would clean his house or do his laundry. One day as I was leaving, his friend Swank walked me to the door. He said "I want to show you something" Swank walked to the side of the house and picked up a contraption that was leaning against the wall.
Swank had in his hands a homemade tool that looked almost comical. It was grass clippers, attached to a pair of training wheels with a long handle and a gripping bar on top. There was some sort of mechanical attachment to the shears. Swank rolled this contraption to me, and as he did the shears clipped furiously. I laughed out loud.
Swank told me Danny had made it. He said this is how Danny thinks. Danny needed grass cut but couldn't bend so he came up with this invention. Danny was a brilliant man with a sense of humor to match. Swank followed me to my truck with the clippers and a huge smile on his face. I laughed all the way to my truck,. I felt like I was walking in a Pac-Man scene. Danny was brilliant, Danny was funny, Danny was an incredible person and so was his friend Swank.
After a few times of visiting, I would knock on the door, go on in and say, " Hey Danny, it's me Hope."
I believe I began to understand why Danny called me Hope, and although others spoke my name Sherry; Danny would hear the name Hope. I believe the Lord was working on Danny's heart. I believe the name Hope, which God was giving to Danny, was to open the door to salvation.
One day, one beautiful day, I said to Danny while pointing to his shelf full of Bibles, smiling, "Danny, do you believe in Jesus yet?" He said in a quiet voice, "Yes I do." I took Danny's hand and sat down next to him. Danny's health by now had declined severely. Danny now weighed about 120 pounds. He was not eating much and slept most of the day. He struggled to grip my hand and looked at me without speaking. Danny was weak and frail, I took both my hands and held onto Danny's hand. We sat there in silence for a while. Before Danny dosed off, we talked more in length about Jesus and I knew now that Danny would be spending eternity with our Lord. Danny fell asleep and I just sat there for a very long time.
The following day was the one and only day I did not visit Danny. Danny passed away that evening. His friend Swank called and told me Danny passed away in his sleep, in his chair, while Swank was on the couch.
My heart was broken. I wasn't there when Danny died, but looking back, I believe Danny did not want me there when he passed. I cried for a long time and I miss him. I am so grateful for my husband's warm, caring heart and bringing Danny into our life.
I am grateful for my other Veteran friendships that sprouted from Danny, especially my dear friend, Don Swank. (Don went to be with the Lord July 4th 2020.)
I am so grateful that God brought Danny into my life. I am so grateful that Danny accepted Jesus as his Savior.
I am so grateful, for even the short amount of time, that Danny was my friend.
I miss being called Hope, but I understand that between Danny and the Lord, I represented hope. Hope in friendship, caring, unconditional love, and kindness, but more than anything- the Hope that only Jesus can give us.
Never discount how you can share hope with someone. Never look the other way, or miss an opportunity to show the Love of Jesus through compassion, kindness, and unconditional love.
In a world of uncertainty, be a Hope.