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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've posted about this before. I hope you all don't mind another one.




In honor of Matt

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By David Wecker
Post staff reporter

The yellow ribbons become noticeable perhaps three miles from the modest ranch house in Glen Este where Matt Maupin spent his boyhood, increasing in number the closer you get, until it seems every tree, every fence post and every mail box has sprouted a bright yellow bow.
Everywhere, you see reminders of Matt. A tire store marquee exhorts passing motorists to "Pray for Matt." Similar messages are posted at a nearby florist, a convenience store and in assorted storefront windows.

A 15-foot evergreen in the Maupins' front yard is a Christmas tree covered with yellow ribbons. The bus drivers showed up one day and transformed the tree, Matt's father, Keith says, explaining that Matt's mother, Carolyn, is a dispatcher for the West Clermont Local School district.

"This part of Clermont County is the yellow ribbon capital of the world," Maupin says.

The Maupins haven't had much time to think about Christmas. Last weekend, they were grand marshals of the Amelia Christmas parade, along with Glenda Kiser, whose son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chuck Kiser, died in Iraq June 24 saving his fellow soldiers from a suicide bomber.

And the Maupins are keeping busy picking up donations and putting together care packages for U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else that isn't home.

"People come up to us and tell us we're such celebrities," Carolyn Maupin said.

"I tell them not by choice," her husband added.

"And I tell them, 'No, I'm Matt's mother,'" Carolyn says.

Their lives were changed forever nine months ago when their son, Keith "Matt" Maupin, was taken prisoner in Iraq.

He has been missing since April 9, when his convoy was attacked west of Baghdad. He is the only Army soldier listed as captured in Iraq or Afghanistan -- the only one, his father says, out of some 150,000.

In June, the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera aired a video showing a blindfolded man seated on the ground that the station identified as Maupin.

In footage that was not aired, the tape showed the man being shot in the back of the head. U.S. military experts said at the time reasonable doubt existed as to whether the man actually was Maupin.

For their part, the Maupins expect their son to come home. Their prayer for now is that he will have the strength to endure whatever he is going through, wherever he is.

"Even when he comes home, things will never be the same," Carolyn Maupin says. "We're all going to have a lot to go through. He'll be different. He can't help but be."

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Mrs. Maupin, 56, and a friend began putting together packages for military personnel serving in the Middle East a little more than a year ago. After her son was captured, that operation escalated considerably.

It became known as the Yellow Ribbon Support Center. Maupin put his home improvements business on hold to devote his full-time effort to the center. In September, the Russ Group donated a storefront that used to be a tuxedo rental store in the Eastgate Station strip mall.

When the center outgrew that space, the Russ Group donated another storefront a few doors down. A Northern Kentucky branch is about to open at 425 York St. in Newport. Cinergy donated $500 worth of electricity. Cincinnati Bell kicked in six months of free telephone service.

Maupin is at one of the Eastgate sites every day all day, unless he's out picking up a donation. Mrs. Maupin shows up most days after work and often stays past midnight. Dozens of volunteers help pack boxes, label them and haul them to the Amelia Post Office.

Every box has a specific name, a specific address. The Maupins get them from people who come by and have a friend, a son, a husband or a cousin in the service.

The idea is to pack enough stuff in each box for two because every soldier has a battle buddy, Maupin says. Each box also contains 10 wallet-size photographs of his son and this request:

"Hi. These are pictures of our captured soldier, Spc. Keith 'Matt' Maupin. Please help us find him. Our prayers are with you. May God bless. Thank you for defending our country and freedom."

More than 1,000 boxes filled with shampoo, flashlights, mp3 players, Slim Jims, peanut butter, razors, letters from area children and all kinds of stuff -- all donated -- have been sent from this place to the other side of the world.

It's become a kind of modern-day fishes-and-loaves story. At least every other day, the center has to come up with anywhere from $1,200 to $1,800 to pay the shipping costs.

"We ship what we can until we run out of money, then we say, 'Well, that's it,'" Maupin says.

"Then the next day, we get more money to ship more boxes. Every time we run out of money, more money shows up."

People magazine is coming to do a story on the Maupins and the Yellow Ribbon Support Center. The Maupins have done interviews with news crews from as far away as Belgium and Argentina. They've received e-mails from people in England, Egypt and Australia, all saying they're praying for their son.

"You can't imagine all the heart-felt letters, all the people praying for Matt," Carolyn Maupin says.

"At the parade in Amelia, people blew kisses, people were crying, people were giving us the thumbs up, people were hollering out, 'We're still praying.'

"Sometimes, I say in my prayers, 'Matt, are your shoulders feeling heavy? Well, they should be, what with all the prayers that everybody is sending out for you.'"

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A second son, Kent Micah Maupin, is a Marine lance corporal stationed in California. His father worries that he's getting lost in the shuffle, that over most of the past year, it's all been about Matt.

"Micah thinks he wants to go to Iraq -- he half thinks he can find his brother," Maupin says.

"We raised our sons to make their own decisions, but you'd better have your head on straight if you're going over there, you better have your head on straight. Micah's a good guy, a really good guy.

"My feeling is, I don't want him to go."

Maupin has decided to let his beard grow until his son comes home. He looks like one of the Smith Brothers. In his former life, he enjoyed fishing for largemouth bass. The largest he ever caught was a 6-and-a-half pounder, at Lake Kincaid in Falmouth.

He and his wife have met with President Bush four times since their son's capture.

"He told us Matt put a face on the war," says Maupin, 54.

"I had a hard time with that. Then I thought about it, and Matt is the only one out of 150,000 U.S. servicemen and women over there who's missing."

The Maupins' first meeting with Bush was during a campaign appearance in Blue Ash last summer.

"The next time was on Air Force One," Maupin says.

"He told me, 'The first time I met you, I thought you were a hermit. Now I find you're a bass fisherman. When you gonna cut that beard?'"

Maupin grins.

"I told him, 'When you bring Matt home.'

"Then I saw him again. He said, 'We'd better bring that boy home or we'll have another Rip Van Winkle.'"

The family meets often with U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, a close ally of President Bush, to get any updates about their son the congressman may have. He stopped by the house one afternoon this week.

"They are extraordinary people," Portman says.

"We try to help them any way we can. You may have seen how they've been able to direct their sadness to something so constructive (with the Yellow Ribbon Support Center)."

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Asked if he thinks it's going to be a good Christmas, Maupin pauses for a moment, then says, "Probably not."

So he keeps busy at the support center.

"In my mind, we can't send Matt a box," he says.

"But he has brought so many people together. All kinds of people come to this place to be a part of what we're doing. They come in, talk about Matt, cry for him. It's like all these people have wrapped their arms around him."

No matter what happens now, Carolyn Maupin says, nothing will ever again be the same.

"Getting up, going to bed, one day after another -- it's always going to be different now.

"Before, we didn't go to bed every night thinking and praying about Matt, wondering where he is, what he's going through."

Their prayers will be answered the day Matt can sit down with them and answer those questions.
 

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What we seem to have forgotten is that what the yellow ribbon is all about is coming home. Only those who think it's time for our troops to come back home should be tying a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Symbols evolve.

In Cincinnati the yellow ribbon means a homecoming for Matt Maupin.

Only saw one on a car with a Kerry sticker on it though.
 

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I would presume Matt's body was blown to smithereens when we were attacking some of the insurgents postions and we might never find him. At least a tape of his beheading has never shown up.
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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I'm not much of a ribbon aficionado, no matter the color. But, if a person supports our troops then I consider em a good American. :thumbup1:
 

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Hey, Pogo, do you suspect that you and I perhaps disagree on just how one should show support for our troops and on just what it means to be a good American?
 

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Mystic Knight of the Sea
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Dzerzhinsky said:
Hey, Pogo, do you suspect that you and I perhaps disagree on just how one should show support for our troops and on just what it means to be a good American?
Better idea. Let's try to think of things we do agree on. :D
 

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Pogo said:
Better idea. Let's try to think of things we do agree on. :D
I'd like to, but the weapons forums have been pretty dead lately.
 
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