Posts by Martin Willems »

Friends and Attitudes

Posted by Martin Willems on November 14, 2010

I suffered a spinal cord injury at C2 in 2005 that paralyzed me from the shoulders down. It was a difficult adjustment after being so active at work, hobbies, etc. While going through rehab at 57 yrs old, I had a lot of time to reflect back on my life. One of the things that kept my attitude in check and positive is when I reflected back on two high school friends. After graduating, I went on to college. David and Raymond joined the Army. They were both sent to Vietnam and died there fighting for democracy. They were only nineteen years old. This was a sad irony for Raymond because as an American Indian, he fought for democracy that was not originally offered to his forefathers. I was safe at that time, due to a college deferment. Was this fair to David and Ray? No! Life has treated me very well. I got married, have a wonderful wife, two wonderful children, and four beautiful grandchildren. I made many friends while working in three different industries over the years. I’ve experienced many of our nations unique vacation spots. David and Ray didn't have a chance to do any of these things. They continue to inspire me to keep my attitude positive and avoid depression.

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From Pickin' Cotton to Speech Recognition

Posted by Martin Willems on July 27, 2010

In my sixty-one years of life, I've seen a tremendous technology leap.  As I was growing up on the farm, when I was eight years old, I picked cotton by hand.  When I was fourteen, I picked cotton with a totally mechanized two row cotton picker.  Also, when I was eight years old, I hoed cotton and soybeans to remove the weeds in the field -  by the time I was fifteen I saw the development of herbicides to control weed growth, and later saw the development of engineered seeds that improved yield and allowed the use the Round-up to control weeds without hurting the crop.

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