Last summer, as my paid leave from the Army was ending, I was told that the floor supervisor position at Fort Classified was open, and applied. After I submitted my application, the manager told me the position had just been offered to someone else, but that he had been really impressed with my resume (especially the letter of rec from my old company commander, who soberly advised that I turned water into wine, healed the sick, and walked on water). The manager asked if I'd be willing to consider taking an hourly position, and beginning to assume supervisor responsibilities on the weekends after I had acclimated to the job, with the possibility to more easily be accepted into a higher position in the future.
The pay I was offered was about the same as I'd make on unemployment, but I'm not comfortable taking money for nothing, so I took the job. The gentleman who had accepted the floor supervisor's name was Mark Wahman. Mark was a kindly gentleman close to my father's age. After he had been here a few weeks, the manager told us that Mark had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but that it had been found in time.
Mark worked on the floor despite having to leave for medical appointments and radiation. He experienced increasingly greater difficulties, with back pains and leg ailments. I was working full time at Fort Classified, so sometimes I would give Mark a ride up to the Kroger pharmacy, and we would talk about our lives.
He began using a cane, and eventually a wheelchair, on the job. I told Mark that I was sorry about all his discomfort and pain, but that I was so happy that his cancer had been found in time (unlike my father's), and that he would be getting better. Mark finally had to be pushed around in a wheelchair.
Our manager was forced to tell Mark that he had to go on medical leave, because he could no longer do his job. I knew that was a difficult thing to have to do, but there is no doubt that supervising the staff here couldn't be making Mark's life easier.
When I showed up for work the next Friday, I was told that not all the cancer had been found. Mark had liver cancer, and was in the hospital, in a coma. I began silently crying.
An hour later, Mark died. I'm sorry, Mark. I thought you were gonna make it.
Mark Edward Wahman, veteran, husband, father, and grandfather, you were a good man, and I'm glad to have known you.