Pumpkin patch grows hope for military families

KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.

EDMONDS -- Dan Eagle will be the first tell you his isn't the greatest of pumpkin patches, but to Dan, that's the beauty of it.

"It's nothing fancy. It's simple, kind of like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree," he said.

In his humble Edmonds garden are sown the seeds of something much greater than a Halloween decoration.

"Anybody who has ever lost a child knows it's the wrong order," he said, choking back tears. "It's just wrong."

Dan's son Bill developed PTSD after serving in the Persian Gulf and Guantanamo Bay. He died from an unintentional prescription drug overdose.

Bill's son Daniel, who is Dan's grandson, was just 8 years old. He never really got to know his dad.

"He looks like his dad and in many ways acts like him," said Dan. "He's a little on the stubborn side sometimes."

Stubbornness can also be deemed determination.

Daniel decided he and his grandfather should do something to honor his father and all veterans struggling in the aftermath of our nation's wars.

They embarked on a summer project.

Daniel and his grandfather lined their garden with American flags and planted pumpkin seeds. Daniel did almost all of the work. He even rigged up the irrigation system.

"I was pretty proud of him," said Dan.

More than 50 pumpkins have since come to fruition. Many have been sold to neighbors with the money going to charity.

But what ultimately grew in that garden was something much more deeply rooted.

"When we are out here together," said Dan, "it's the time he learns more about his father."

Daniel learned his dad was a proud, strong man. He was the kind of man who wouldn't have let the fact that a lot of those pumpkins ended up small and green deter him from his mission.

It seems that in this unassuming pumpkin patch, it isn't really about growing pumpkins at all. It's about a young man and his grandfather nurturing the memories of a man they lost far too soon.

"He was a good man," said Dan. "He was a very good man."

All donations from the pumpkins are going to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Edmonds Food Bank.

For information about buying a pumpkin contact Dan Eagle at danieleagle@comcast.net.

You can also make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in the name of Daniel Christopher Eagle.

The Eagles also ask people to illuminate their pumpkins with green lights in honor of America's military families.

Copyright 2016 KING


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