Wednesday, January 12, 2011


There are many words that come to mind when you hear a story of something that's heart-breaking, tragic or impossible to process.  Such was the case last week, when Sgt. Brian Pfeiler of Earlville, was wounded in action in Afghanistan.  Some of those words that float around in your head and yes, even sometimes said, are ones we regret.  Sometimes it's a four-letter word that slips out....which can give you a guilty feeling of "where did that come from?"

I'll have to admit to you, that, that was me, last week.  I didn't say anything with a bad four-letter word connotation, but I was close.  I'll leave it to your imagination as to the words I could have brought forth.  I'm learning to be reactionary with words of integrity rather than anger.  It's safe to say, some days are better than others.

Sgt. Brian Pfeiler of Earville, Iowa
Pfeiler became Iowa's first major casualty of the Afghan War this past Thursday when he stepped on a landmine while on foot patrol.  Reports indicate that Pfeiler lost his right foot in the explosion. He is a member of Dubuque's Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment Task Force Ironman.  The Guard says the mine blast occurred in the eastern province of Laghman. 

"I was notified by the military Thursday morning about 8:40 (Iowa time)," said Kate, Pfeiler's wife of five years. "They said, 'I have some news to tell you. Your husband's been injured. He stepped on a landmine and had an injury to his right leg.' They told me he was stable."

Okay, picture that for a minute.  You're Mrs .Pfeiler and you hear the news...your husband has been injured.   How do you react?  What comes to mind?  What words come forth from your mouth? 

Today, I was doing some reading before making some calls pertaining to this story.  More than anything, I was trying to put myself in a different pair of shoes.  And these words jumped off the page at me.  MERCY.  The author of the piece was talking about when things happen that frustrate, disappoint as well as encourage and provide joy, say MERCY.  So, from this then, I had to make sure what mercy meant, "a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion".

With that word in mind, I made a call to Earlville hoping to connect with the Pfeiler family.  That wasn't the case though as Susan Mensen, the Post Commander's Wife of the American Legion in Earville told me, "the Pfeilers are en route to see Brian right now".  MERCY.

Mrs. Mensen and I had a great talk.  She told me of the supportive community the Pfeiler's hail from.  This past weekend, members of the American Legion Post 436 met at her home to discuss ways they can help the Pfeiler's...spaghetti dinner's and the like.  This is what small towns do you know, they come together.

Mensen went on to say that the days ahead will be difficult for Brian, his wife Kate and young daughter, Madison.  The important thing will be "not to get ahead of yourself", she mentioned.  "Earlville is about community and family...we'll take it one day at a time".

On the night of the accident, friends and family came to the Pfeiler's house.  The expressions on the faces of those in attendance were ones of concern and anxiousness.  Little Madison sensed something was going on as people spoke about Brian.  Her question brought a tear to many that evening as she voiced, "Where's Daddy?" 

The days will be long and winding for the Pfeiler's.  They will have needs no doubt.  For the short term, those are being handled through the military.  There will be future needs......and should you have a desire to help, you can.

American Legion Post 436, of Earlville has announced the formation of the "Sgt. Brian Pfeiler Family Fund," which is accepting monetary donations to assist Pfeiler and his family.  Monetary donations should be sent to Post 436, P.O. Box 64, Earlville, Iowa 52041.  For more information, contact Will Gibson at 563-608-2529 or Loras Mensen at 563-923-6335.

MERCY, MERCY MERCY................




  1. Kepping my thoughts and prayers with this family....The military family helps... but the love of a small town is unmatchable....

  2. John .. THANK YOU from Brian's mom and dad in law ... this piece is absolutely beautiful and I will be sharing it with our daughter(and hopefully Brian too!) over the phone just as soon as we can reach her. Peace and blessings to you and your family, thank you again! Sandy & Jeff