Archive for September, 2008

AFA Archives September 2008

Posted on: September 9th, 2008 by tcs No Comments

September 2008

Earning a Desk

What a humbling lesson to be a reminder to all of us…


Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten.On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks. Looking around, confused, they asked, ‘Ms. Cothren, where’re our desks?’

This is a true story…. If you can read this – thank a teacher! If you can read it in English – thank a soldier! If you can understand the message – Thank God!

A veteran – whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve – is someone who, at one point in their life, signed a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’, for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’ That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me what you have done to earn the right to sit at a desk.’ They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ’No,’ she said. ’Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period, still no desks in the classroom.

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last Soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’  

AFA Archives September 2008

Posted on: September 9th, 2008 by tcs No Comments

September 2008


Hello America, this is Billy McGehee, Founder of AFA, writing to you from downtown Houston, Texas. I am here because this is what AFA is all about; Protecting * Serving * Educating and Making A Difference in peoples lives. Once again, I have seen with my own eyes what makes America so very special…….The Spirit of Our People! My journey to Houston started yesterday from New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a special place because it is my homeland. I witnessed its destruction firsthand just three short years ago when Katrina left her mark. The drive through south Louisiana showcased both the awesome power and total devastation of both Gustav and IKE. Homes and highways as far as the eye could see are underwater, roof tops and windows gone, power lines and trees flattened, buildings destroyed. So much destruction and misery.

But then there are the people. Volunteers everywhere helping neighbors and strangers. Miles and miles of trucks lining the highways from all across America heading straight into the disaster zone. From Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, and Oklahoma just to name a few states, I saw electrical, tree service, telecom, home builders, flood service companies, food service companies, EMS, Fire and Police all coming to help. As I got closer to Houston, only a few places had gas and food. The lines for both were hours long but everyone was helpful. People I have never met before and will probably never see again reached out with a helpful hand and word. That is what America is! That is what makes America great! I just don’t know exactly why it takes a disaster to bring it out of us.

Now as I sit here in a deserted downtown Houston watching all of the individuals working together cleaning the debris away, trying to restart this great city, I know that these are the real athletes. These are the moms and dads who love their families, love their friends and neighbors, love their communities and most importantly love this country. These are the ATHLETES FOR AMERICA that I want on our team. These are the ATHLETES who really understand what it means to PROTECT * SERVE * EDUCATE and MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our country.

It is strange but every great tragedy seems to bring with it some unexpected gift. I saw that gift today. It came in the hearts of all these volunteers. It came in the people who have traveled from all across America to help rebuild the lives of those they have never met. It came from a young couple who offered me some food at the truck stop on Interstate 10. An unexpected gift of kindness from strangers, it’s just that simple……….. and so is AFA.