Veteran Spotlight: Nathan Clark and Clara Smith

July 27, 2023 by Morningside Ministries

Nathan Clark, our Director of Dining Services at Morningside Ministries at Menger Springs, posted a wonderful story on his LinkedIn regarding his encounter with patient Clara Smith during an orientation at our skilled nursing facility at Kendall House. He gave his permission to share his story in his words, reposted below.

So, during our campus orientation today, I was told there was a young lady in our skilled nursing facility whose husband served as a Tuskegee Airman during WWII. That’s when I met Ms. Clara Smith (100yo). I had to talk with her and hear her story, and she did not disappoint. Her husband, George Edward Cisco, was a pilot in the famed fighter group who tragically died in a plane crash. Then, I found out her brother-in-law Arnold Cisco survived the first half of the war in General Patton’s armored tank division, then was commissioned, and then went on to serve in the Tuskegee as well, but would later suffer the same fate as his brother, passing in a plane crash.

The reason that meeting her was significant to me was that during Operation Southern Watch at Al Jaber Kuwait, the USAF reactivated the 332 Air Expeditionary Wing, in which I was assigned. Being a part of the same group that the Tuskegee Airmen made famous some 50 years before me was a great sense of pride, humility, and honor during that time and was one of the coolest moments of my career. I had to tell her that side of the story and thank her and her husband for being such a part of our history, to which she responded “You never know what God has in store for any of us.” In the end, I don’t know who made the bigger impact today in the life of the other today, but we agreed it was a great day either way. What a day…

-Nathan Clark