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 Bob Wetzel, a 62-year-old retired major, and his 27-year-old son, Bobby Wetzel, want to get out the message what a huge difference last year's Lawton/Southwest Oklahoma Stand Down made in their lives.

Son: Stand Down saved my father's life

Bobby Wetzel believes that going to the first-ever Lawton/Southwest Oklahoma Stand Down saved his father's life.

Bobby is a 27-year-old waiter at El Chico Restaurant in Central Mall. His father is Bob Wetzel, who had attained the rank of major when his wife, Lisa Kay Wetzel, died unexpectedly at the age of 26. Her story made news in the spring of 1990 because she was only four weeks from completing her associate degree in nursing, and Cameron University presented the family with a posthumous degree.

Her death left Bob a single parent with two young children to bring up. Bobby was 2 at the time and his sister was 1. Bob was in the active Army and decided to get out when he got orders a year and a half later to go to Germany. He raised both children himself and never remarried.

Bob had a total of 17 years in the active Army and 24 in the Reserve. He does not yet have a full pension, though he is still pursuing one.

"It's kind of hard," he said. "There's kind of a bureaucracy out there. Depending on who you call and who you talk to and who you're referred to, it's really incredible. It really is. In some aspects it's a shame that it's that hard to get things done," he said.

"That Stand Down was incredible. It changed my life. I mean that," Bob Wetzel said.

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