Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Verne Strickland -- 'Wounded Warrior' fights with words in NC political trenches

'Wounded Warrior' fights with words in NC political trenches. 

Thom Tillis
thom tillis

By Verne Strickland, Wilmington NC
April 29, 2014

This political season, though exciting and always challenging, has called for a different strategy from me. I've had to go from hand-to-hand fighting to sniper. But I've managed.

The previous campaigns I was in focused on Ilario Pantano's battle to wrest the NC seventh district congressional seat from wily long-term incumbent Mike McIntyre.

That was trench warfare at its best. Two great candidates and their field troops slugging it out in a match-up that never went slack. Back then I had everything going for me. At the top of my game. Mind agile and keen. Endurance aplenty, driven by a commitment to pull out a victory. I could go night and day, travel where I was needed, network with Ilario's talented political troops in the field, and keep the pressure on Congressman McIntyre and his Democratic team.

We fought hard, but suffered a loss that was hard to take. I say "we", though I had no official role in those campaigns. I participated as an independent commentator and conservative critic. Still, I felt confident I had given my all, and so had a modicum of pride in spite in the outcome.

For me personally, though, this time, covering Thom Tillis, there was a huge difference in what I had to fight with. I had suffered health problems over the last few  years -- the most serious being a full-fledged assault from multiple myeloma -- bone cancer -- which sapped my strength, brain power, creative skills, and roving ability.

This time I could hardly walk.

Travel was almost out of the question. I needed lots of rest. I was prevented from attending meetings, strategy sessions, news conferences -- anywhere players in the campaign gathered. I was pretty much grounded.

The only way I could cope and stay in touch was by corresponding, chatting, interviewing, researching, using my own devices, and hunting from a distance when I was going after vital news, changing trends, and the like.

I became a sniper -- stationary, but lethal nonetheless.

When I was assembling a piece on Thom Tillis, which I did numerous times, I depended on my interviewing skills, gained by years in professional broadcasting, to get information. Interviews -- rather than being face-to-face, were always done remotely -- via telephone hook-up or the Internet. Trusted sources were more useful than ever, as I was virtually nailed down at my home office on Castle Street in Wilmington.

You miss the feel of a gathering when it's like this. You are denied the use of your hand-held microphone, from  a close-up vantage point that offered expressions -- nervousness, brash cockiness, or an air of confidence, from the person on the hot seat.

I always enjoyed being right in the ring, where I could get the full feel of the setting and its dynamics. I didn't have that this time. I let my imagination go hunting, pictured the scenes in my mind, and used action vocabulary to paint the picture in words. I received enough generous compliments to know I wasn't failing.

Most of that action was during Thom Tillis' drive to win the primary. He's strong, honorable, confident, with great leadership qualities, so the interviews were substantive and effective, I thought, even though recorded via telephone or transcriptions captured via television and cable.

At this time in late April, Thom appears to have the GOP intramural scrap in his possession, though this is certainly not assured at this point. That is very gratifying to me. I feel vindicated. I'm an old war horse who manages to cope despite handicaps. I'm 77, and may be used, but I ain't used up.

My support of Thom was never limited to presenting his positions amidst the vagaries of an intense political battle. He avoided negative approaches. I was obliged, though, to divulge deliberate and false claims from liberals -- distortions and prevarications that found their way into the gritty verbal battles. There are instances of each of these tactics in any contest -- on the field of battle between armies, or in a tense political campaign.

While I was not linked to Thom Tillis in any official capacity, I worked as hard and as effectively as I could under the circumstances. I believed in his honor, his character, and his strength of leadership. I believe I may have contributed in a positive way to the campaigns. And I am grateful to God for the opportunity to take part.

I did it for the Republican Party, Christians and conservatives, the State of North Carolina, and the United States. From the sidelines I gave what I had to give, and loved it. This is my passion. While walking is a struggle, I stayed at my post. In a way, I pride myself as being a Wounded Warrior.

This primary will not be settled at least until May 6. In the event of a run-off, it will go beyond that.

Then, it is my hope, prayer and anticipation that Thom Tillis, will do North Carolina the honor of becoming the new U.S. Senator from our great State. We are overdue for a change.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


(Written about four years ago. Published in 'About.com  Christian Testimony')
Re-posted USA DOT COM April 28, 2014

Verne's One Thing More

Christian Testimony of Salvation

Verne is in his early seventies. He's been blessed with a wonderful wife of nearly 50 years, three sons and a grandson. He's happy with the good things in his long life, but there's one thing more that means everything to Verne, and that's why he's sharing his story. He wants you to experience the same assurance he has come to know through everlasting life in Jesus Christ.
Verne's story is one of many uniquely featured testimonies from you, the members and visitors of this site. Each story reveals a life transformed by Christian faith. If your relationship with God has made a significant difference in your life, we would like to hear about it. Submit your testimony by filling out this Submission Form. To receive weekly messages of hope and encouragement from real-life stories of changed lives, sign up for eTestimonies.

Verne's One Thing More

So, God doesn't speak to you? Think again, friend. He will and he does.
I write this as I sit in my little home office looking down on a brick paved street in the North Carolina coastal community of Wilmington. If I live a few more weeks, I will celebrate my seventy second birthday next month.
I think I will, but God tells us not to boast of the future, but to appreciate the present. I abide by that. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife to whom I have been married for 49 years. Further, I'm blessed by three wonderful sons and a lovely grandson as well. And I live free in America. I can walk and my eyes can see.
Is that enough? Well, there’s one thing more, but I'll get to that later.
First, to the question, does God speak to us? What shall we expect—that the Creator and the Lord of us all will reach out to each and every one of us individually?
Well, he does have a message—correct that, many messages—for each of his children. And those messages stream to us throughout our lives.
But can we be content with a spiritual e-mail blast that is free for the asking and no less personal?
When we pass an outdoor advertising sign on the interstate, is it less meaningful to us because others see it as well? I don’t think so.
You need to know that when you plug in to the Almighty, you've got a private line! He’s got your number, and he will hear you and respond.
So dial into God! Be assured that he knows who you are, what you experience, what you need, what you feel. Why not? He created you.

A Personal Word for You

The Holy Bible—his Word—is there for you, personally: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV) Ah, that’s so beautiful. It knocks me out.
God's Word. Find it, friend. Read it. I have and I think it’s wonderful. God tells me he loves me, personally. He envisioned and formed me. He chose me. He beckoned me. He has saved me through the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
But I am not favored over any other, and I don’t need or expect that. We are all his children, if we profess our faith in our Redeemer and Advocate, Jesus, bless him.
You can have the same blessed assurance that I have. There is no greater gift, believe me. Rather, believe God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
And now I've returned to the "one thing more" that I mentioned earlier—a blessing so profound that I pray I can have some understanding of it—everlasting life through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, through his death and atoning resurrection.
I am not worthy. Nothing I have ever done or will ever do will make me worthy. But God the Father gave us his son Jesus, and we are kept safe in Christ until the Lord returns and delivers us whole and redeemed to the Father.
Yes, it’s true. “I have chosen you out of the world,” God says in the John 15:19. Chosen you? Yes, to be his own, and to share his glory in the hereafter.

A Promise

Finally, listen to this promise: “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3 KJV) It touches and warms my heart to write these things to you. It’s always wonderful to praise God and pronounce him Lord of all.
Friend, I am a sinner, but forgiven of all transgressions past, present and future. I know it. I believe it. And you have the same promise and blessing if you profess and receive Christ as your Savior, mediator and advocate.
Just one thing more, I pray you will receive him.