By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
My heart is heavy today as one of my longtime friends has begun his final journey here on earth.
Bill Bauers was a Navy SEAL – one of the best. He was a casino boss, an inventor and a business man. We met in the arena of politics years ago and became the best of friends.
Always brave, he suffered a catastrophic accident over 35 years ago. He was going up to Mt. Charleston to breed a dog of his and a herd of wild horses landed on his car, snapping his neck. Bill survived, but as a quadriplegic.
Always the optimist, he has survived all these years because he loves life. Several months ago, he was diagnosed with stage 4 spinal cancer. It has taken its toll. And now a brave, brave good man is showing what it means to travel to the end of this life with dignity, grace and fortitude. While my tears flow, he is strong – always the warrior. Bill doesn’t fear what is next. He is just sad to leave us behind.
Today he entered the hospital as the pain has become too extreme. He does not expect to come out. My heart is heavy, but I hold faith, love and a knowledge that where he goes there will be no more pain and brave men and women find peace, happiness and fulfillment.
God speed my friend. It is only my selfishness that desperately wishes that you could stay.
By: Garry L. Hamilton
Back in 1992, in the heady days of the Ross Perot campaign, my wife and I met a man to whom we would become close — family close — over the ensuing years.
William Bauers, former Navy SEAL, engineer, inventor, business owner, and political orphan (as so many of us were), was sitting at our table, but in a different kind of chair. His had wheels.
He was irrepressible and indefatigable. A big guy, even sitting down, he had been confined to that chair ever since a freak accident had left him paralyzed.
He parlayed that into a favorable factor when he challenged the limo licensing in Las Vegas, and became the first new licensee in decades. He had designed and built a limo that accommodated wheelchair-bound passengers while they were still in the chair. He ran that company successfully until a couple of his employees sabotaged the operation. It was never proven, but the tells were all there for interference by one of the other large carriage companies.
He had the weirdest sense of humor, and a large collection of dirty jokes. He would meet someone — like a waitress or other staffer — and, when he saw that they were awkward about his condition, he would say something snarky like, “you only treat me different because I’m black.” (Bill is as white as they come.) Or, “you just say that because you’re hot for my body.” It could be really hard to keep a straight face around Bill.
My older sister worked for him as a live-in for a time when his other gal moved to be with family.
He had a motor home that he’d adapted to his chair with a large map of the USA on the back, with each state he’d visited colored in. He was only missing about ten states.
Eventually, his wife died, and one after another his live-in assistants died or had to leave, putting him at last in the helpless position of depending on the VA for nearly everything. And so it has been for these last seven years.
Now, it looks like he may be headed for one last muster.
He has spinal cancer, has had it for a while now, and he’s about to enter the hospital for what he believes will be the last time.
He has no fear of what is in store for him. In the last 35 years of being stuck in that chair, he’s pretty much had time to come to terms with it all. He hates leaving his friends behind.
He talked to my wife today. She wrote a thing. She’s kind of a mess just now.
Prayers for our friend Bill. He’s prepping for a trip to his new home in Valhalla.
We’ll miss him.
Oh, and BTW, Bill called some of his old compadres in the SEALs to confirm the Bin Laden thing. The essential story being told is true. There are a couple of additional elements that really add nothing to the story (how the body was weighted, stuff like that) but the basic event is as reported. And that made Bill happy.