Serviceman misses his “Ozarks family”

My name is IT2 John Baxter currently stationed aboard the USS John C Stennis embarked on deployment overseas. I was looking through The Courier and noticed the article about the Shepard of the Hills car show. I thought I’d tell you about the generosity and friendship of one participant. His name is Jason Krattli from Kimberling City.

Shortly after moving to the area from Upstate NY eleven years ago, I became friends with Jason. Since my dad was my only family there and the rest in NY, the Krattli’s stepped to the plate and helped fill the void that was missing. Jason and I are as close to brothers as can be. We’ve been together through thick and thin.

After enlisting in the Navy, we’ve tried to keep in touch. It’s hard at times with the time difference and phone conversations are just not the same. In April of 2003, Jason, his wife and young daughter were involved in a serious car accident. A drunk driver hit them head on. They were hospitalized and I got back as quickly as possible. It was hard to see them laid up in the hospital as they were but I tried my best to put on a smile and be supportive.

Jason is left pretty much handicapped with no vision in his left eye, metal rods in his right leg and left arm that will forever limit his movement. His wife Kimberly has overcome her injuries as well as their daughter, Ravona with a little better outcome. At this point with sky rocketing hospital expenses and lawyers that never seem to have a solution, they are getting by on Kimberly’s income alone.

Jason and I have started a Missouri Chapter of Outkast Kustoms car club. He keeps busy working on other’s custom rides. When his truck’s motor blew up a week or so before the Shepard’s show, I told him to take mine. He has put many hours into my truck and continues too. He has also contributed to the show by making up flyers courtesy of Outkast Kustoms Mo Chapter. With the physical limitations Jason has encountered, he maintains a busy schedule and I have not once heard him complain when the chips were stacked against him.

I’m counting days till I’m back in the Branson area for good and can’t wait to personally thank Jason for what he’s done for me and others. He is one example of the great people that make up our community. I’m not homesick for the area alone, I’m homesick for the quality of people that make up Branson and the Ozarks like my brother, Jason Krattli. John, USS John C Stennis

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