Hi Folks!!! My name is Cyndia Rios-Myers but you can all call me Cindy. I am stepping in for Rachel this week to update her blog for her and let me apologize in advance for the length of this entry!!
As all of you know, Rachel is in the fight of her life. She is currently taking a breather after a rough round of chemo in order to recover for a bit before she jumps back in the fight. Actually, even as she is trying to recover some of her strength, she is currently plotting an alternate method of attack against the cancer.
You know, I almost feel bad for the cancer as I would never want to get on Rachel's bad side. I have been in awe of her ever since I met her. It was a cool day of October in 1994 when I first met her. (Actually, I don't remember the weather of the day when I first met her. It was the second or the third day after arriving at Great Lakes Naval Training Center for boot camp; I was too damned frazzled and shell-shocked to know what was going on.) The people who organized the groups of recruits that would comprise separate companies had us all sit down at tables in a huge conference room. I was a scared little seventeen year old who looked at the red-rope wearing Petty Officers with a mixture of fear and admiration. Sitting at my table was a jaded and unimpressed looking girl wearing the same Navy blue sweats that I was. She actually looked kind of bored which stood out to me as the rest of the booters like me seemed to be freaked out. Breaking the silence was a Petty Officer who went to the podium and spoke over a microphone to get everyones attention. The Petty Officer alerted us that we had arrived at the "Time of Truth". Apparently, it was our last chance to be able to come forth with any crime or trouble we had gotten into that we had not divulged to our recruiter or had not come up during whatever cursory investigation they do to potential Navy recruits at MEPS. Immediately, I freaked out. I was sure that there was something in my background that the Navy would find out about me (it didn't matter that no such thing existed). A recruit then asked the girl with the bored look if she had anything to report. She laughed a bit and said that she had done some stuff but that no, she would not report it. She said that she was sure that no Navy Petty Officer was going to go to her town in bumfrack Ohio to find out what she did. I was in shock and awe. We got grouped up into the same company - Company 903. Seaman Recruit George got along with everyone as everyone liked her. Even our Company Commander liked her. The next time Seaman Recruit George impressed me was in the gas chamber. She was one of two recruits whom the gas chamber had no affect on. She laughed at the Damage Control Petty Officers when they kept her after everyone else left the atrocious room. I stood outside the gas chamber, drooling like a basset hound while tears and glow-in-the-dark green snot dripped off my face when George came out of the Gas Chamber with a smile on her face. Her and the Damage Control Petty Officers were really tight then.
I lost contact with Rachel after Boot Camp as I was a Seaman who went to Florida and she was an Airman that went...somewhere kind of boring, I think. I found her again on a military reunion website back in 2008. We caught up on old times and I marvelled at how beautiful her first daughter was. I bragged about my son too and it was almost like old times with the only difference being that I could relate to her better then as we had very similar lives. Then, my husband (who is a Sailor) got orders to California in 2009 which is where we are now. The day that Rachel updated her Facebook status with her diagnosis of cancer floored me. I still remember the updates she made while she was at the hospital.
I am still so proud to be Rachel's friend. I don't know when (if ever) I'll see her face-to-face again, but I still count her as one of the people who has known me through some of the huge milestones of my life. I check her updates on Facebook and I read her blog. I am Catholic and I pray for her at Mass every Sunday. When we pray the rosary every night, I name her too.
What I know is that Rachel George-Greenwalt, a.k.a. Seaman Recruit George, is as tough as they come. She is a calculating fighter who knows how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of her opponents which is what she is doing right now. Stay tuned, folks. Rachel's got so much in store for everyone.
You can follow my blog at http://www.cindyrios.blogspot.com/ if you are bored and have nothing better to do.