A Collector Series Story
Charles W. Bird
©2011 - 2014
Josiah Meister was a lonely, unhappy old man at age 65. His only child, Josiah Meister, Jr. had just been returned to him in a body bag from Iraq and he was returning to his West Texas ranch after burying his boy, Captain Josiah Meister, United States Army. He had lost the boy's Mother in childbirth and had raised his son on their 6,000 acre cattle and horse ranch. Josiah Meister, Jr., always known just as Jr., had gone away to college at Texas A & M and then joined the United States Army to "do his duty". As he had in college, Jr. excelled in the Army, winning early promotion and commanded a battle tank company. The two had been extremely close, more like brothers than Father and Son, the Father cringed every time the telephone rang, but it was the arrival of a black car and a tall Army Officer stepping out of it that nearly crumpled him to the floor. He knew, before the officer ever knocked on his door what the message was. Now, as he drove back to his empty home, it was as if he had died himself.
Boy's Town JM2 Style
Joe agreed to spend some time with Gil and the boys, Joseph Duncan, Carl Anders and Donnie Phelps. Joseph started out, "Mr. Joe, there is a lot that us older boys could help with. I don't mean running errands and the like, although we would be glad to do that, too. We are talking about a JM2 Marine Jr. ROTC group!"
Carl continued, "We want to help the Marines and make this place safe for all our brothers!"
Donnie took up the spiel, "In my old high school, we had Jr. ROTC and they performed traffic duty and crowd control at the football games and helped visitors to the school."
Gil spoke up, "Joe, I think it is a great idea and will make the boys feel more part of the JM2, a sense of ownership!"
Joe asked, "How many boys are interested?"
Gil replied, "Six boys, including Billy and Antonio."
Joe thought for a while, and could see some real benefits to such a plan, so he said, "OK, but I want you, Gil, to be their advisor."
Gil grinned and said, "OK guys, go put your uniforms on!" Joe realized that he had been set up from the git-go!
The first place to get a cadet "ON DUTY" was the new Communication Center. Lenny Radford had designed a complete Communication Center, with an automatic telephone switchboard and a radio communication system that used the latest technology available for both short range and long range transmission.
He had equipped all the management staff with belt radios of the latest micro-technology and all the vehicles had dash mounted long range radios. They had tested it with Bobby over at Junction and he came in as clear as if he were still on the property.
Sheriff Jeans had drooled with envy over the system!
The Cadets all had uniforms similar to the JM2 Marines'; desert cammies with JM2 MCJROTC over their left chest on the right had their individual names. Antonio was appointed Cadet 1st Lt. Commanding, Carl Anders 1st Sergeant, Billy Corporal, and Donnie, David and Joseph all Privates First Class.
Each morning they raised the American Flag on the old flag pole and retrieved it each evening. In less than a week, there was a waiting list to join, that included almost every boy on the ranch!
From the end of school to midnight, there was a cadet manning the Radio Room and on weekends, from 8 am to midnight. Lenny drilled them in correct radio protocol and they were as professional sounding as any law enforcement dispatch center. By the end of summer, there were fifteen Cadets and still a long waiting list.
Juan was extremely proud of his son, Antonio, and more so when Gil promoted him to Cadet Captain! Carl and Billy were promoted to Cadets 1st Lieutenant and each commanded a squad! Donnie Phelps was promoted to Chief Radio Operator.
As soon as the laundry was completed, David Mentzer and Bert Fowler stepped forward and asked to run the facility. They found that by running it just 3 days a week provided clean clothes for the entire JM2!
Just before school was to resume, Donnie was manning the radio room when he got a call from Bobby Bidwell at the Junction well site, "Ranch 1, this is Oil 1, over…"
"Oil 1, this is Ranch 1, go ahead….."
"Ranch 1, Oil 1 The driller found three boys hiding in the drill shack, one boy has rag bandages on both legs. Be advised I am transporting to JM2, fastest, over..."
"Oil 1, Ranch 1, you are authorized RED LIGHT. We will wait your arrival. Ranch 1, OUT."
Donnie hit the emergency button that had just been installed and a siren on the radio tower began to scream! He then picked up the microphone and switched it to "Hailer". He announced, "Emergency transport inbound from Junction, FASTEST – RED LIGHT AUTHORIZED. Medic, standby!"
The yard was cleared immediately and Carl opened the double doors to the Infirmary. Everyone waited in silence, in what seemed like forever, they heard a siren coming on the dirt road shortcut that came cross country from the Interstate Highway.
Bobby's big F-250 Ford 4 X 4 pulled up at the doors to the Infirmary and Bobby jumped out, one of the drillers jumped out the other door and they both grabbed the stretcher and carried it into the Infirmary where Carl was set up waiting.
Two young boys climbed out the back door of the cab and stared all around, clearly very frightened. Antonio walked up to them and said, "Hi, I'm Cadet Captain Antonio Juarez, come with me and I'll get you something to drink."
Both boys began crying, one said, "But, but… What about Rollie, he's our big brother and he's hurt!"
Antonio wrapped his arms around both boys and said, "Dr. Carl will take best care of your brother, let's get you two inside."
Carl began by cutting away the dirty rags that had been tied to the boy's legs. Billy stayed to assist him and the putrid smell from the rags nearly gagged the two men. The boy was delirious and thrashing around, Carl shouted out to whoever heard him, to call Dr. Bob, RED LIGHT!
When they got rid of the rags, they saw that both legs were broken and the bones protruding out the skin! Billy and his squad of Cadets were standing by to provide emergency assistance, Carl shouted to Billy to get the portable x-ray machine rolled over to the treatment room.
Donnie had already notified Dr. Bob. He then radioed Sheriff Jeans and asked him to provide emergency transport for the Dr. He explained it was a RED LIGHT situation!
Dr. Bob came running through the Infirmary door in less than 10 minutes. Carl had just completed the x-ray pictures and had them ready for Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob and Carl, assisted by Billy and one other cadet, both whom scrubbed alongside the Dr. and Carl, they operated on the boy for 4 hours before Dr. Bob was satisfied.
When it was over, Billy had decided what he wanted to be in life, a DOCTOR!
After things calmed down a bit Carl reported to Antonio about an occurrence that took place that morning. He said, "You had just raised the flag, when I looked past the school building and saw a man on horseback. He was just sitting there watching. He looked almost like an Indian!"
Antonio told him to just keep a lookout and let him know if he saw the man again. Antonio reported the incident to Gil, who was concerned enough that he repeated it to Joe.
Joe didn't think that any of Hammond's bunch would be on horseback, so he didn't think it was any danger to the JM2. More, the Hammond bunch would rather die than have a "dirty Indian" among them!
The ranch school started for the fall term, the man was seen again. Gorman Bidwell saw him and waved. The man slowly rode toward the Ranch House and seemed to be carrying a bundle.
Gorman told Antonio to call out his Cadets and have someone notify Gil.
Antonio walked up to the horseman, who said, "Boy needs help."
Antonio grabbed his belt radio and hit the "Panic Button", which activated the Emergency Siren.
He then said, "Can you give me the hurt boy?" The man leaned over and handed Antonio a young boy, wrapped in a blanket.
By that time, all the cadets had "Fallen In" and were ready to support Antonio.
Antonio pulled the blanket away from the boy and saw blood! He screamed at Billy to notify Carl and started running for the Infirmary, carrying the boy.
Carl, who had been in the Infirmary, inventorying supplies, opened the double doors and rushed to meet Antonio. Together, they carried the boy to the Infirmary and began opening the blanket.
What Carl found both angered him and frightened him! The boy had been beaten, nearly to death!
When the alarm siren had sounded, Lenny immediately manned the Radio Room. Billy, seeing the look on Carl's face snatched his belt radio off his waist and called, "Radio 1, this is Cadet 2, over…"
Lenny replied, "Cadet 2, Radio 1, go ahead.."
"Radio 1, call Dr. Bob, RED LIGHT, Cadet 2 out".
Billy and his squad of cadets assembled to provide support to Carl and Antonio. He rolled to portable x-ray machine into place in case Carl needed it and he, along with his Assistant Squad Leader Roy Melton, scrubbed, just in case.
In the meantime, the horseman seemed to have disappeared.
Sheriff Jeans had been listening in on the radio traffic coming from the JM2, so he intercepted Dr. Bob and led him to the JM2 with siren and flashing lights.
It took Carl and Dr. Bob nearly 3 hours to repair the damage done to the boy.
Billy was determined to talk to his Dad, Joe, about a career in medicine!
Carl placed the recovering boy in the small ward adjacent to the Infirmary and thanked Dr. Bob and all his cadet assistants for helping save the boy, for in fact, the boy had been near death!
Antonio recognized the blanket that had covered the boy was a very valuable handmade creation and was likely someone's prized possession, so he carried it over to the laundry and asked that it be specially cleaned of blood and returned to him.
Life settled back down to near normal and school was resumed. The boy regained consciousness that evening, Billy was sitting with him to give Carl a supper break.
The boy cried out weakly and Billy immediately held his hand, saying, "You are safe now, we have mended your hurts and you are in the JM2 Infirmary" The boy began crying and shaking in fear, Billy held him and assured him all was ok.
The boys said in a trembling voice, "Where is Papa?"
Billy replied, "I don't know who your Papa is, but the man who brought you here has left." The boy began crying uncontrollably, so Billy called Radio Central to have Carl come to the Infirmary ASAP! Carl administered a sedative to the boy and he returned to his healing sleep.
The next morning, again as school was about to start, the man on horseback was staring at JM2. Gorman walked over to him and asked, "Are you the hurt boy's father?"
The man nodded, without speaking and Gorman continued, "Would you like to see your son?" Again, the man nodded yes. Gorman then led the man to the Infirmary and knocked on the door.
When Carl opened the door, he saw the man on the horse and said, "Your son has been asking for you. Would you like to see him?"
The man nodded yes and dismounted his horse. He said to Carl, "I am Joseph Big Wolf. The boy is named Coran Little Bear. He is not my blood son, but I have raised him all his life."
Carl led the man into the ward and left the two of them to talk privately. He then notified Joe and John Leki so they could speak and counsel both the Boy and his Father.
After Joseph Big Wolf emerged from the ward, John Leki went in to talk with the boy and Joe walked with the Man out to his horse. Joe said, "Mr. Big Wolf…"
The man replied, "Just Joseph, if you will. I know much of what you are going to say. All I ask is that you care for Coran Little Bear and give him what I cannot. The Reverend Hammond did this to him after his mother ran out from us."
Joe started again, "Joseph, caring for boys is what we do here, I ask you, do you want to be a part of raising Coran?"
The man nodded, yes, so Joe continued, "Why do you not stay, then, and be part of Coran's life?"
The man replied, "But I am Indian, you do not want me here. Coran is only half Indian!"
Joe looked at him, "Are you not his father? The one he keeps calling for, PAPA?" Continuing, Joe said, "Joseph, a boy needs his Father in his life if it is at all possible! That boy NEEDS YOU!"
At that moment, a voice in the ward called, "Papa, Papa"
Joe led Joseph Big Wolf back into the ward and told them both, "We will make a cottage available for you and your son, please stay with us."
Coran looked at his Father and said, "Papa, it is time. They don't care if we are Indians, they only care for us. Can we stay, please? I will not if you will not."
Joseph Big Wolf looked Joe in the eye and said, "If you can accept me, then Coran and I will live here, but I must have work. I cannot live on charity."
Joe's only reply was, "DONE and DONE!" Joe left Joseph Big Wolf with his son and returned to his office. He put in a call to Sheriff Jeans, "Johnny, what do you know about a man named Joseph Big Wolf?"
The Sherriff replied, "Well I know that he was an Honors Graduate at UT-Austin and worked for Boeing until his daddy got sick. He has a son, his wife recently left him. I know that the Hammond bunch was harassing the boy for being a half-breed. Beyond that, they keep to themselves pretty much. Why?"
Joe replied, "Well, he has been watching the JM2 for a couple of days, yesterday morning he brought in a boy near beat to a pulp! Now, I have talked him into staying here with the boy, Coran Little Bear, and I just wanted to know what kind of fellow he is."
The Sheriff added, "Well, I know he is one smart man, some kind of aeronautics engineer. If it was me, I'd find a way to keep him!"
Joe replied, "Thanks, bye."
During lunch, Joe related the Sheriff's comments to Gorman and wondered if maybe they could offer an advanced math course to the high school students?
Gorman replied, "And how about Texas history from the Indian's point of view?"
Joe replied, "Thanks, I'll see what he has to say." After lunch, Joe strolled over to the Infirmary. He saw that Joseph's horse was still there. Seeing Joseph, he said, "Joseph, have you ever considered teaching boys what you know?"
Joseph gave him a blank look. Joe continued, "Oh yes, I know about you Mr. Big Wolf, UT Honors Graduate, Boeing Engineer, one smart man!"
Joseph looked stunned and then replied, "White Boys wouldn't listen to an Indian!"
Joe started to get angry, "Now, you listen to me! YOU are an educated man! You have knowledge that OUR boys could learn, I don't care if you are green and from Mars, if you can help our boys, I want you in that classroom and teaching kids what YOU know!"
Joseph looked a bit stunned and then replied, "Coran brought home a fanciful fairy tale about a man named, Mr. Joe. I told him that someone was blowing peyote smoke at him. I was WRONG, Mr. Joe, I will teach anything and everything I can to OUR boys!"
That semester, Joseph Big Wolf taught Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, Texas History and, in addition, he took boys camping on weekends, teaching them Native American lore! He became a favorite teacher and would teach at JM2 for nearly 20 years before a heart attack felled him. Coran Little Bear would follow his footsteps and teach at JM2 High School also.
As fall progressed, Hammond and his followers were convicted of attempted murder, assault and assault on multiple minors. It would be many years before they saw the outside of prison.
Gil added another squad to the JM2 MC JROTC and promoted David to 1st Lt. and Squad 3 Leader. His assistant Squad Leader was Paul Wright. There were now twenty-six JM2 MC JROTC Cadets and still a waiting list remained.
David's "little" brother, Liam had taken a growth spurt and was now approaching six feet tall. He asked to take the job of Dining Hall coordinator, a job he excelled at.
The new oil well at Junction came in, producing 1500 barrels of Texas Light Crude per day! Bobby was delighted that his predictions had been right on target. Joe took options on two more tracts of land closer to Fort Stockton. Bobby told him that they, more likely, would be gas producers.
Rollie James recovered from his two broken legs, but he would never be as robust as he once was. His two younger brothers, Edison and Carl, made sure he did not over do or reinjure his legs.
Rollie told Joe that they had run from separate foster homes in Oklahoma City, where they had been placed after the death of their parents. He said that his two younger brothers were sexually assaulted in their foster homes and they decided to run.
Joe had legal action taken against the foster homes and the state Child Services. They were now wards of JM2 Boys Home of Texas!
Coran fully recovered from his beating and charges were added to the Hammond case.
Christmas was approaching and mysterious packages kept arriving by UPS and hidden away before anyone could "peek"!
On Christmas Morning, the dining hall door was locked! A sign on the door said that breakfast would be served at the school. There was a squad of JM2 MC JROTC cadets stationed at the door to enforce the sign.
The dining room monitors rolled out wheeled hot tubs full of Mama Rosa's famous sticky buns, scrambled eggs Mexicanos, milk, coffee and tortillas.
When the last crumb had been gobbled down, Cadet Captain Antonio Juarez announced, "Line up in alphabetical order, starting with Z!"
That threw them for a loop at first, but soon forty boys and three girls were lined up. All the boys and all the staff's children were to get Santa Claus gifts!
When the group arrived at the Dining Hall, there were stacks of saddles, piles of clothing, rifles, chaps, boots, hats, several drawing easels and pads, two professional photography cameras and tripods, and a pile of fishing poles.
After the boys and the few girls had passed through the room, nothing was left.
Several boys were sitting on the floor, drowning in tears, Rollie had his brothers in his lap, Bert and Frank Fowler were holding onto each other for dear life, and Joe was being suffocated by crying boys.
To say that emotions were running high would be like saying water was wet!
Sheriff Jeans had come for the celebration. He was heard to say, "God Bless You, Mr. Joe!"
The cadets organized a New Years Eve vigil and asked the Leki Brothers to lead a brief chaplain service at midnight. After the two brothers had given their talks, Antonio stood and looked all around.
He began, "My Brothers, we are here warm, well fed, clean and dry. How many boys are still out there, huddled under a bush, hiding in a trash dumpster, shivering next to fence? How many are out there, hungry, wet and cold? How many are out there who will die this night? We have been blessed by having Mr. Joe. How many are out there who still need their own Mr. Joe?"
Many of the boys were near tears as he continued, "My cadets will lead. How many of you will join us in helping the boys still out there, hungry, cold, wet, frightened and dying?"
He shouted, "If you will join us, STAND UP NOW!"
A wild crowd of boys stood, cheering and screaming, "I WILL HELP!"
Antonio motioned for Gil to come forward, Antonio said, "We have six JM2 Marines. They will lead patrols, some by horse, some in trucks. Every boy we see, who looks lost, tired, hungry, hurt or frightened shall be offered a place with us."
Antonio continued, "WE START TOMORROW! We have six Cadet Corporals. Find one and be part of his RESCUE SQUAD. Remember, we need boys here to receive and help incoming boys, to help in the Infirmary, to help feed, clothe and comfort those boys who have not these things!"
Even the children of the staff and ranch hands volunteered for service.
The next morning Juan, Joseph Big Wolf and Jordan led twenty boys in different directions on horseback.
Gil's JM2 Marines took another twenty boys in five pickup trucks and fanned out on the highways as far as El Paso, all looking for boys in need.
The remainder and the girls opened the Infirmary, set up special dining facilities and readied the showers and laundry. The two remaining cottages were opened and the beds made up, ready to be occupied.
The first group to return was Joseph Big Wolf's group. They had five boys sitting with the riders that they had come upon, walking the road from Presdio. The boys were cold and wet, and had not eaten in days.
As soon as they were headed to the showers, Albert Stevens and his truck of cadets arrived with two hurt boys from Marfa. Dr. Bob and Carl were standing by and began treatment almost before they boys were off the truck.
Juan was next to return, he rode into the JM2 yard and a dead gallop, his crew skidding to a stop behind him, they had two unconscious boys they had found in the hills near Alpine.
Carl called for more help in the Infirmary, Mrs. Bidwell and Mama Rosa came running! Billy had scrubbed and was assisting Dr. Bob.
Unknown to anyone, Coran Little Bear had set out on his horse and returned with a boy who had fallen down a cliff and was severely injured. Coran carefully lifted the boy off his horse and carried him into the Infirmary.
Kenneth LeHay and his crew went as far as Fort Stockton and collected eight boys, all cold, hungry and wet.
The last two to return were Gil and Paul, along with their crews. They had gone to El Paso and returned, laden with a total of fifteen boys! The truck crews had hung signs on the cabs "Mr. Joe's Crew"!
Paul had stopped his truck at a rest stop and almost immediately they were mobbed by six boys wanting to know if Mr. Joe had sent them!
The boys from the JM2 performed this service once a month and by spring they had collected over one hundred boys who needed shelter.
Jordan called in two contractors who were willing to brave the winter weather to construct cottages for the new arrivals. The carpenters claimed that the nails had not had enough time to cool off before boys were carrying their blankets and belongings into the new cottages!
Work was begun on a new high school and a shared gymnasium to be used by the grade school and the high school. The boy population was nearing two hundred by spring! Chet Neumann was kept busy almost every day filing legal papers to assume custody of the boys.
The State of Texas Department of Child Services was beginning to take notice of the JM2 and sent inspectors to harass and intimidate Joe. After all, by their way of thinking, a private person could not take care of abandoned boys!
The first thing Joe did was to go to court, down in Austin, and have Chet Neumann get an injunction again the DCS.
He then drove, with Jordan, over to Alpine to talk with the Dean of the School of Social Sciences. They decided to start a semester long course in the field. Students would spend the semester working at the JM2 for credit towards their teaching degree.
Ten students signed up immediately and were "on campus" by the first of June for the summer semester. One of the students, John Carston, said that the JM2 Boys had it 100% better than he did growing up at home!
Towards the end of the summer semester, John came to Joe and said, "Mr. Joe, I would like to work for you after I graduate, would that be possible?"
Joe, who had already been impressed with John's caring relationship with the boys assigned to him, replied, "John, if your grades are as good as they are right now, I will hire you the day you graduate!"
The watch in the Radio Room received an alert, "Radio 1, this is Oil 1, Over."
"Oil 1, Radio 1, go, ahead."
"Radio 1, Can you get Mr. Joe to the Radio? Over."
"Oil 1, Radio 1, Mr. Joe is standing by, over."
"Radio 1, Oil 1, Well 23 in the Fort Stockton Gas Field just came in, JOE, ITS A GUSHER! Over."
"Oil 1, Radio 1, Bobby, dinner is on me. Come on home! Radio 1 out."
Joe strolled over to Chet Neumann's office and sat down. "Chet, I am concerned that the state will cause us problems with the Boy's Home. I want to transfer all the oil and gas properties to a new corporation, "JM2 Boys' Town of Texas." He continued, "I want the schools, the cottages, dining and laundry facilities, the pool and the stables all part of the new corporation."
Chet replied, "That is not a problem and it would make it almost impossible for the state to meddle in the Boy's affairs!"
Joe's only reply was, "DO IT!"
The once a month rescue operations started by Antonio Juarez continued. One notable rescue took place just before the Fourth of July holiday. Billy's Squad was in a truck being driven by Gil, as they headed towards El Paso they saw a teen boy carrying a small boy in his arms, walking alongside the road. Gil jammed on the brakes and Billy was out of the truck before it had come to a complete stop.
He carefully approached the two boys, not wanting to frighten them. The teen spotted Billy's tee shirt, which read, "I AM FROM MR. JOE".
The teen began crying, "Please take care of my baby brother. Don't worry about me, just take care of Jeffy."
By that time, the rest of the squad had surrounded the two boys. Billy said, "We will care for you BOTH. Please let me carry your brother for you." He continued, "These are MY brothers and they will carry you also."
As Billy lifted the small child, blood began to drip through his fingers. He screamed, "Gil, turn the truck around and we return to JM2, RED LIGHT!" At that, he jumped into the cab of the truck, still holding the small boy.
The rest of the squad picked up the older brother and carried him gently to the back seat, where two of them supported the boy to keep him from falling.
Billy grabbed the dash mic and radioed the JM2, "Radio 1, this is Rescue Squad 3. We have an EMERGENCY, over."
"Rescue Squad 3, Radio 1, state your emergency, over …"
"Radio 1, Rescue Squad 3, we have an injured boy, about 3 years old and his older brother who looks to be going into shock. Request permission for transport RED LIGHT, over…"
"Rescue Squad 3, Radio 1, RED LIGHT is authorized. Report your location, over."
"Radio 1, Rescue Squad 3, we are on Presidio Highway approximately 20 minutes away, Rescue Squad 3 out…"
Sheriff Jeans' dispatcher had been monitoring the radio traffic and dispatched a Deputy to run traffic interference for the rescue.
Gil ran the course at full throttle, arriving at the JM2 Infirmary in slightly more than 15 minutes. The Deputy pulled up directly behind them to give whatever assistance he could.
Billy carried the small boy into the Infirmary and laid him on the treatment table. He immediately began scrubbing as Carl removed the child's blanket and clothing.
What he saw shocked him to his very core, the child had been beaten with a small diameter metal rod, perhaps a clothes hanger! There was almost no spot on the child's body that was not bleeding.
He immediately told one of the cadets to locate Dr. Bob and get him there ASAP! By that time, several more cadets had arrived, as well as JM2 Marines.
Antonio looked in and saw the boy, his face went a mottled red and he put his arm around the teen brother, saying, "I am Cadet Captain Antonio Juarez, your little brother is in the best possible hands and will be taken good care of. Please come with me so that I can get your names and particulars."
He led the shaking and sobbing boy to an empty office and sat him down, holding his hands and said, gently, "You know that you both are JM2 Boys now, let us help you."
At that, the teen broke down sobbing and telling his story, "I am Roger Tellman and my brother is Jeffery Tellman. Our daddy is dead and our Mom started drinking after Dad died. Yesterday, she was falling down drunk and Jeffy was crying because we had not eaten in two days! She began to beat Jeffy with a coat hanger to make him stop crying. I couldn't stand it anymore, so I slugged her, wrapped Jeffy in a blanket and ran." I have been walking since last night. Nobody would stop or help us. I didn't know where to go, just get away from our mother!" "Is Jeffy gonna die?"
Antonio replied, "I don't know yet, but if anyone can save him, it is Dr. Bob and Carl!"
Dr. Bob, Carl and Billy worked on the little boy far into the night, but in the end, his injuries were so severe that he just could not survive.
Billy was so upset, he collapsed and had to be treated himself.
Dr. Bob's anger mounted until he grabbed the Deputy and swore out a Criminal Complaint against the boys' mother. Sheriff Jeans had her arrested and in a cell before daylight.
It was a somber group the next morning. They laid the little boy out, freshly dressed in clean clothing. All two hundred-fifty boys, the Ranch Staff and all off duty Sheriff Deputies, along with Sheriff Jeans came to pay their respects.
Roger had to be sedated, his grief was beyond bearing.
Antonio, as Chairman of the combined Student Body of both the High School and the Elementary School, called an emergency meeting of the Student Council.
He opened the meeting, "My Brothers, we have a sad duty to perform, we have lost one of our own."
The Council designated the next 2 days as days of mourning and then set aside a space to be used as a JM2 Boys Town Cemetery.
Later in the day, Representatives of the County Government asked to pay their respects, Antonio told them, "Today, it is BOY'S BUSINESS and no outsiders will be allowed on the grounds. One year from today, we will hold a public Day of Remembrance for Jeffery Tellman and you may pay your respects then."
At that, Gil's JM2 Marines closed the front gate, allowing only two people from Marfa Funeral Parlor to come in to prepare the body and deliver a casket.
The Marines stood Guard Duty at the gate allowing none to enter.
The newly formed JM2 Boys Pipe and Drum Squad frantically practiced "Amazing Grace" on the Bagpipes.
All the Cadet Officers of the JM2 MC JROTC were to serve as pallbearers and the five Squads as Honor Guard.
The day of the funeral arrived to that dreadful dirge, "Amazing Grace". The drums beat a slow cadence as students, teachers and Ranch Staff slowly marched from the Rotunda of the two schools to the new Graveyard.
Antonio Joseph Juarez, Cadet Captain, JM2 MC JROTC, Commanding, marched slowly to the center, before the grave and spoke, "Today, we bury a boy, but in a greater sense, we bury our own innocence. The innocence of assumed safety, the innocence of the sanctity of our bodies and person, the innocence of our childhood."
He paused to wipe his tears, and then continued, "In its place, we must resolve to conquer abuse, to eliminate cruelty, to wipe out bigotry. We must stand firm in our protection of childhood, provide safety, shelter, food and love to every child. Let us resolve here and now that we dedicate ourselves to these things. This must never happen again, not here, not anywhere. Let each and every one of us take up this challenge as a personal goal. WE ARE MR. JOE'S BOYS AND WE STAND FOR THE PROTECTION OF ALL CHILDREN!"
He sat down to utter and complete silence until the pipes took up, again, their dirge and the casket was slowly lowered into the ground, that little Jeffery Tellman, finally, might have peace.
Each boy walked slowly by the open grave and poured a handful of dirt into that awful hole and, in that way, promising Jeffery that they would personally take up the standard his death proclaimed.
It would be several days before Roger was strong enough to face his new brothers. The future for Roger Tellman was set. He would go on to college and become a militant force for Children's Rights for the remainder of his life.
William Joseph Meister resolved from that moment on to be a medical doctor, a goal he eventually attained with great distinction.
The remainder of the summer remained quiet. The monthly Rescue trips resulted in an increase of another forty boys.
Joe's plans to insulate JM2 Boy's Town from the state CPS were successful and Joe began a campaign to fund scholarships at several universities in the state where "Joe's Boys" might go for further education.
As a new school year began, Antonio was now a senior and Billy a junior.
Billy was elected Chairman of the combined student body.
Both boys excelled scholastically, Antonio had expressed a desire to go to Texas A & M, a goal his father, Juan, wholly supported. Little did Juan or Antonio know that Antonio already had a fully paid 4 year scholarship to that institution.
Billy had told his father that he wanted to be a medical doctor, so Joe set him up with scholarships that would see him through his undergraduate days as well as Medical School. He set up the remainder of the Senior Class with scholarships at Sul Ross and UT-Austin.
One boy had expressed a desire to a degree in Marine Science, so his scholarship was to Texas A & M Galveston Campus.
The JM2 Boys Town Scholarship fund now stood at $22,000,000 as it received all the income from JM2 Petroleum Production Company, less those funds needed to operate the school and home for boys.
Antonio's senior year was "all business" for him. He had determined he wanted a career in the military, preferably the Marine Corps.
Gil's professionalism and general demeanor was a beacon in Antonio's life. His grades were always top of the class, but now that he had a goal, he pushed excellence even further.
He challenged Dr. Big Wolf and then collaborated with him on a special project.
When Dr. Big Wolf's Theory was published, Mr. Antonio Joseph Juarez was listed as COLLABORATOR!
That theory, the mathematic matrix to break up limestone formations and release entrapped natural gas would ultimately more than double the natural gas reserves of the United States. The practical evolution of their process would later be called "fracking".
Antonio dedicated his share of the rewards of that collaboration to JM2 Boys Town! In just the years of Antonio's College Education, that amounted to more than $100,000,000! JM2 was now the most highly endowed institution of its kind in the world!
Dr. Big Wolf, known to all the boys as Joseph Big Wolf and to Coran Little Bear as Daddy, donated his share to the JM2 Boys Scholarship Fund, making it the largest such fund in the Western World!
Just as things were going straight and steady, catastrophe struck, in a form that staggered all of the boys and Ranch Staff! Joe was riding his horse when it stepped into a gopher hole, throwing him over the horse's head and onto the rocks. He was dead before anyone even recognized what had happened.
His body was carried home.
Billy was paralyzed in grief so severe he needed to be treated with tranquilizers! Nobody could console Billy. He spent days crying until Antonio took him in hand.
The day of Joe's funeral, Antonio walked into Billy's room, turned on all the lights and opened the shades.
Billy started to scream, but Antonio ignored him, he started to throw clothing at Billy and forced him to dress.
After Billy was fully dressed, Antonio dragged Billy out into the living room and pointed to Joe's portrait hanging on the wall.
He demanded, "WHO IS THAT?"
Billy screamed in reply, "MY DAD."
Antonio retorted, "OH, do you think he would claim you like this?"
Billy was silent, and then he wept, "Oh my God, what have I done?"
Antonio held the boy and said to him, "He knows that you loved him, and now he knows that you honor him. Be strong, Billy, for now YOU are Mr. Billy!"
He continued, "You must carry on what Mr. Joe started, you cannot allow Joe's dream to die and ONLY YOU can carry on his work!"
Billy wiped his eyes dry and stood straight, saying, "Let us go bury my Father that I may carry on for him."
Billy never spoke of the matter again, but his closeness to his Brother, Antonio, lasted their lifetimes. There was a love between the two young men that neither could ever acknowledge.
Chet Neumann moved quickly to have Billy declared an "Emancipated Minor" and then as sole inheritor of all that Joe possessed, before any of the "grasping alligators" could weasel their way in and rob Billy of his inheritance.
Billy assured all the boys that NOTHING would change, including him going to school with THEM.
Billy followed Joe's blueprint for success and the JM2 prospered.
At the end of the school year, Antonio joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve and, as soon as he entered Texas A & M, he transferred to the MC ROTC, where he again rose to the top of excellence!
Billy refused to have the student body logo changed. They were still Mr. Joe's Boys!
He continued the practice of "rescue runs" and the JM2 Boy population slowly grew. A new High School was constructed and the Elementary School moved into the old High School buildings. The old Elementary School buildings were converted into a recreation facility for both schools.
At the end of Billy's senior year, the Boy Population had risen to five hundred!
College type dormitories were erected as there were just too many to house in cottages. The cottages were converted to faculty housing and the dining hall was enlarged once again.
Mama Rosa retired as did Mrs. Bidwell and Professor Bidwell. However, it would have taken armed guards to keep any of them off campus!
Gil refused to allow Billy to go out on "rescues", telling him that the whole place depended upon him alone. What teen boy wants to hear that? However, after getting caught almost every time he tried to sneak off to join a rescue run, Billy gave up trying, kind of!
Billy's academic excellence had colleges and universities parading offers to him, but his Dad had planned on him going to UT-Austin and THAT is where he was going! End of discussion!
The stature of JM2 Boys Town had grown nationwide and other branches of the Armed Forces asked to institute JROTC programs, but Billy was adamant, The United States Marine Corps had helped them when they were struggling. No other branch was needed nor wanted.
That summer, construction was started for a modern, multi-story JM2 Hospital. Carl was to be the Director. It would have one hundred-fifty beds, an Emergency Room and a Pediatric Wing.
They contracted with UT-Austin to make it a Teaching Facility! A year later, a School of Nursing was added in association with UT-Austin.
When finished, The Facility was dedicated as THE JOSEPH MEISTER MEMORIAL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL.
The School of Nursing specialized in educating ex-military medical corpsmen to be Registered Nurses and Physicians' Assistants. A few went on to gain their Medical Degrees and Billy saw to it that their entire course was covered by scholarships.
At long last, the criminal trial of Roger's mother, Mrs. Tellman was announced. Billy, Roger and Mr. Neumann attended, guarded by Gil and all of his JM2 Marines.
It began to look like she might get off, until Billy asked the prosecutor if he might testify. The prosecutor was uneasy, but he finally agreed.
When Billy was called, he approached the witness chair with two objects in his hands.
When the prosecutor asked, Billy held up the first object, the bloody blanket that little Jeffery Tellman had been wrapped in.
Two of the jurors vomited on the floor.
After a short recess, the prosecutor asked Billy if he had further testimony to give, without a word, Billy opened the second parcel, a life sized photograph of a beaten, bloody, dead Jeffery Tellman!
Again the trial had to be recessed in order that the jurors could compose themselves. Although the judge had to rule the picture as inadmissible, the blood on the blanket was proven to be that of Jeffery Tellman.
The verdict was unanimous and Barbara Tellman received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
As Billy was graduating from his High School years, it became apparent that he would not be able to attend to the day to day operation of JM2 while away at the University, so Juan was elected as President of JM2 Companies and Billy became the Chief Executive Officer.
Marine Corps Officer Candidate Antonio Joseph Juarez was named Chairman of the Board and Dr. Joseph Big Wolf was named Superintendent of Education.
Mr. Edward Strong was hired as High School Principal and Abner Leki was named Elementary School Principal. John Leki continued as Chaplain and Head Counselor for both schools.
The schools and JM2 Boys Town had gained a nationwide record for excellence, there were waiting lists for both, however, the practice of making Rescue Runs was continued and there were no waiting list required for any rescued boy.
A companion group asked and was given permission to copy the JM2 program and adapted it for girls.
It was located near Fort Worth.
Time Marches On
Antonio Graduated from Texas A & M with Highest Honors, he had been number one in his class all four years! He was promptly commissioned Second Lieutenant, United State Marine Corps.
It was a proud Billy and Juan who pinned his "butter bars" to his uniform while Antonio's Grandmother, Mama Rosa wept. Billy and Juan both had tears as Antonio was shipped off to serve his country and both prayed daily for his safety.
The next year, Billy graduated summa cum laude from UT-Austin and he immediately entered Medical School. He, also, was number one in all his classes!
All of Billy's spare time was occupied by JM2. He loved to spend weekends mingling with His Boys! He assisted Carl and a now aging Dr. Bob.
Dr. Bob had brought his nephew into his practice and the boys called him Dr. Lee. That Medical Practice now was primarily the JMS Boy's Home and the JM2 Ranch.
Every leave that Antonio got was spent at the JM2. His Grandmother, Mama Rosa lived for his annual 30 day leave periods.
The JM2 MC JROTC Cadets were in awe of Lt. Juarez and when he made Captain, he sat next to God in their eyes!
Billy graduated Medical School and started his residency at Baylor Hospital, specializing in Pediatric Surgery.
As Billy was nearing completion of his residency, he received a telephone call, "BILLY!!!"
"It's me, Antonio!"
"Oh, my God Tony, WHERE ARE YOU?"
"I'm in AUSTIN YOU DOOFUS!"
Antonio was being assigned a tour as instructor at A & M!
What a reunion it was, The Main Rotunda at the JM2 School for Boys was decorated in Marine Green and both schools, now numbering over one thousand students, were given a two day holiday to celebrate!
Mama Rosa came out of retirement and cooked all of Antonio's favorite foods by the wagon load. Nothing was ever returned for garbage!
Billy's delight in having his brother nearby was evident by his non-stop smiles!
Antonio met Mary Rose Tremaine, she was doing a Counseling Internship from Sul Ross University.
Their romance bloomed and before the end of Antonio's two year tour, Billy was standing as Best Man at his Brother's Wedding!
Mary Rose traveled with Antonio every time he was transferred, except those stations in war zones. They had three children, 2 boys, Juanito and Billy, and their youngest was a girl, Rosa!
Billy was Godfather and Uncle to all three!
June 2, 2052
It was COMMEMCEMENT Sunday at JM2 Boys Town High School, Dr. Coran Little Bear stood at the podium and announced, "Our Commencement Speaker is a man known to you all, please welcome General Antonio Joseph Juarez, Commandant, United States Marine Corps."
He continued, "General Juarez is one of our own. He saved many of us, myself included. I give you General Juarez!"
Antonio stood, looking out over the crowd of six hundred High School Graduating Seniors. He began, "My Brothers, we have come a long ways together. We have stood the test of time and have not been found wanting. From the very beginning, as Mr. Joe's Boys, we made brothers of every boy in need. We succored the needy, we healed the hurt, we clothed the naked and, yes, we buried those too hurt to carry on."
He paused to wipe his eyes, remembering little Jeffery Tellman.
He continued, "Our Rescue Runs continue, our Hospital cares for hurt boys, our Schools educate boys for a bright future and our Home feeds, clothes and nurtures boys to adulthood. Due to the foresight of Mr. Joe, all this will continue, undiminished, for as long as there are boys in need. I have one announcement before Dr. Little Bear starts passing out your diplomas… well two announcements, I guess. The first, The Scholarship Committee has approved each and EVERY one of your scholarship requests this year!"
A thunderous applause came back at him.
Continuing, he said, "A new President of the combined JM2 Companies has been named, a man who is not only YOUR BROTHER, but also MINE! Please Welcome Dr. William Josiah Meister, Retiring Surgeon General of the United States!"
He turned and drew Billy to the front, hugging him and whispering to him, "Welcome Home BROTHER!"
But not the end of the series.