'Saints' send soldier surprise

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For an East Texas soldier, music has been apart of his life for as long as he can remember. His music has been silenced as he serves our country in Afghanistan. An act of generosity is helping this soldier's mother give the music back to her hero son.

Shari Ratliff's son is a soldier and a musician.

"When he played, he always made guns and guitars," she said.

At age two, Ratliff's son strummed his first guitar. Later, he would perform on stage.

"Music has been his life since he was a little boy," she said.

Now, he is overseas serving our country with no guitar and no pick.

"I got to thinking how I could send him one sometime between his birthday and Christmas and started looking around at pawn shops and on eBay and trying to find a deal," said Ratliff.

Instead, the deal found her. An anonymous person bought Ratliff's son a guitar.

"It's just pretty much beyond words," she said.

An act of generosity she said will give her son an outlet for relaxation, even as he's fighting a war.

"It's going to be a stress reliever for him," she said. "It's going to be a morale builder for him. It's going to help him connect with the other guys over there and maybe even give him a chance to connect with some of the Afghani people."

"One thing we need to do as humans is be able to help other humans out, and if everybody would do that it would just be a better world to live in," said Tim Sprinkle with Sound Tech in Lufkin. Sprinkle helped Ratliff choose a guitar for her son.

Soon the sweet sounds of Texas country music will drown out the stark realities of life on the battlefield.

"I can't wait to hear how the young man over in Afghanistan receives it," said Sprinkle. "It's going to be great."

"He's going to be so surprised," said Ratliff.

It's a surprise that will live on long after her son's tour of duty ends.

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