Army buddies travel country to be together - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Army buddies travel country to be together


La Crosse, WI (WXOW) If your loved one has even had even minor surgery, you know waiting for the surgeon to tell you everything went well can be unbearable. But a Caledonia woman found comfort during her husband's surgery thanks to his old friends.

Its as if time stands still in a hospital waiting room. Minutes feel like hours; hours like days. Linda Gillmeister is anxiously watching the clock while Mayo Clinic surgeons slowly repair her husband's hernia.

"Its putting pressure on his heart and lungs." , Linda say.

Since they said I do, Linda and Rod have stood by each other's side for more than 40 years. But today, Rod's old army buddies are standing in his place.

"When anything happens, may it be their wife or one of them they are always going to come together."

Steve Clark and Dave Mitchell met Rod in Vietnam. A bad place to meet good friends. "There was a bond formed between us that is really kind of unbreakable. Even time and distance really don't separate it." Dave recalls.

After the war, Steve headed to Minnesota. Dave found a job in Michigan. Rod went back to Westby. Time marched on, but the men stayed in touch. Getting together for weddings and reunions and for the battles they faced on the home front. "There is no sense having a friend if he's only there if you're having a good time." Steve says.

When Steve had cancer his buddies sat vigil at his bedside. When Linda had brain surgery the trio camped out in the waiting room. So when Rod scheduled his surgery, there was no doubt this band of brothers would join forces once again. Linda says, "Its an anchor. I know it is. Its an anchor for Rod to know you're here. And it's a promise that they need each other."

Three men brought together by war; bonded by friendship.

Rod came through the hernia surgery will flying colors. When he woke up Linda and Steve and Dave were there to wish him well.

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