In those seven months the Timberwolves suffered 4,961 casualties. In the same timeframe Mr. Strickland earned three Bronze Stars for Valor and a Purple Heart. When he returned home, he sought out Sol’s family in New York and told them what a great friend he had been. Even in his nineties Mr. Strickland was still justifiably bitter about that last patrol.

If you have old people in your life who are special, seek them out. Parents, mentors, friends, or heroes, believe me when I tell you that you are all on the clock. The opportunities to soak up their experience and wisdom are transient and fleeting. I will be forever grateful to call William Strickland a friend. They’ll never make another like him.