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Donny Ingram From Donny Ingram
Donny Ingram Donny Ingram
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Birmingham , AL
Monday, June 18, 2018

It was 9:15 on Thursday evening when our flight landed at the Royal Jordanian Airport near Amman, Jordan.  As we departed the airplane, tensions were high, we were very nervous and didn’t know exactly what to expect.  I had traveled to this part of the country several times as a member of the United States Air Force assigned to Central Command in Tampa, Florida, but this was my first trip traveling commercially through airports with my family.  I was now a member of a Foreign Military Sales Team assigned to the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

My wife, Charlotte, remembered the smell of my clothes when I would return from my trips to this part of the world.  The closer we came to the terminal entrance the stronger that smell became.  The smell brought back memories of previous trips that were not so pleasant.  When we stepped into the terminal the first thing we encountered was people sleeping everywhere, in every corner and down both sides of the walkway.   Exhausted from the thirty-six-hour trip with three small children, Charlotte looked at me and immediately said, “I’m going home, book me a flight now I’m taking the kids and leaving here.."  She felt the same as I had every time I visited this part of the world.  The tension in the air was extremely heavy.  Almost everyone in the terminal looked angry and upset.

As we entered the customs area we were met by my counterpart from the American Embassy.  He was there to assist us in getting from the airport to downtown Amman, where we were to stay.  He was excited to see us, as he should have been, because I was his replacement!  He and his family were scheduled to depart in two days to return to the United States.  He asked if we wanted to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel across from the American Embassy or go to our house which had been prepared for our arrival.  He said it was recommended that we go to the hotel, but we chose to go to the house.  I talked Charlotte into staying the weekend and promised, if she still wanted to return to the United States on Monday, I would make the arrangements and send her and the boys back home.  She agreed, and off to Amman we went.

When we drove up to the front of the house, Charlotte looked at me and said, “I think I’ll stay for a while.."  The house was beautiful.  It was very large with an iron gate opening to a marble walkway leading up to the front door.  The entire place was enclosed by an eight-foot brick wall with iron fencing on top.  It was magnificent, to say the least.  It had over 3,600 square feet of living space with maid’s quarters downstairs and a sun porch that was gorgeous.  It was furnished with new cherry furniture and a tremendous master suite called a safe-haven.  This safe-haven had a bullet proof door and steel shutters that rolled down over the windows for protection.  This began an experience we would never forget, and one that would shape the remainder of our lives.

Many years later, as Charlotte and I sat drinking coffee in our den, reminiscing about the past, she asked, “How did we get where we are today?."  Before I could answer, she continued, “What changed our lives, why are we so blessed?."  Her questions made me stop and examine the past and evaluate our journey from the very beginning.

As I reflected, I began to remember people, events and books that helped us discover how to enjoy life by simply taking personal responsibility in every area of our lives.  It really started when we entered the United States Air Force.  Throughout my career, I was assigned to work for and with individuals who continually exhibited excellence.  It wasn’t just in the performance of their Air Force duties; it was in every aspect of their life.  They truly lived the Air Force core valu

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