Have you ever had to deal with something that just seems like the seemingly obvious, simple solution is just not an option? Meet Richard Saathoff.
In early 2016, a devastating flood hit the area around Barksdale AFB. Rick and his family had gone to bed on what seemed to be a normal night, but in the early morning hours, they woke up to the rush of water pouring into their home. From the time they got out of bed, when the water was only inches deep, to the time they rush out of the house just a few minutes later, the water was sweeping vehicles down the streets of their neighborhood.
We met Rick and his wife, along with their newborn, a couple of days after the flood hit. As one of the first opportunities we had to serve military families, a few tubs and a stroller were a stretch. As they proceeded to collect what little of their belongings survived, they began the long process of putting their lives back together, all while facing an imminent move overseas.
Fast forward a few YEARS and the stress that started that night still has not ended. While every other insurance claim had been settled and every other home in that neighborhood had been demolished, their home, unlivable and unoccupied since the night they ran out, just sat there. Day by day, month by month, year after year passed...creating more stress and more financial turmoil the longer it went on.
While all this is happening, one of the most genuinely kind people to ever grace the United States Military slowly but surely begins to crumble under the weight. Military life still pressed on, family life still pressed forward, yet this lingering issue, for some unknown reason, still remained unsettled. Empty promises of resolutions stacked up time and time again.
As crazy as 2020 and 2021 were, who would have thought that the beginning to middle parts of 2021 would have finally brought answers and closure?! But sure enough, while they are still overseas, this mess finally begins to sort itself out.
Today, the military is still better because of the man that is Rick Saathoff...and a flood and it's endless unsettled stress-inducing aftermath is not the only thing that contributed to who he is. A man who loves his wife and kid, leads the Warriors around him well, and cares for the well-being of others above himself, Rick is who he is today, shaped by a life that no one envies.
He would tell you today that having to say goodbye to his brother at an earlier age was one of those things that prepared him to be able to endure the hardship of the past few years. When pain pressed in from all sides, overwhelming him like the floodwaters that would eventually overwhelm their home, he picked up the pieces and pressed forward, and today, even though there is and always will be brokenness, his story is a model of perseverance. He is a picture of how anyone can press through life, day after day, and still find the value and significance that this life has to offer. And out of that flows a torrent of kindness that really does overwhelmingly flood those around him.