AN INSPIRING STORY OF REDEMPTION, FAMILY, FAITH
|U.S. Army Veteran Ronnie Gotzon with his|
inventions at one of his many shows
Now, years later, Ronnie has never gotten over the death of his friend (his close cousin) for 46 years. He has carried this guilt for all these years because his unit went, his friend went, his cousin went and he was passed over to go to Vietnam. He could not speak of the loss of his unit, friends and cousin for all these years. He would just break down and get all choked up. He ended up in a hospital in the spring of 2015 because of all of this. At the hospital one of the nurses helped him get through all of this. She said you were spared because God needed you to share this story. This has helped him so much he doesn’t break down as much telling his story.
My friend and fellow minister US Marine Corps Captain John S. experienced the same guilt when he felt he should have been part of the huge contingent called up to Beirut in 1983, where we lost 241 servicemen in a horrific attack on October 23, 1983. Marine John S. later became a chopper pilot during the infamous Blackhawk down incident in Somalia, and once told me he tried everything he could to get himself in extreme danger as, the guilt (from Beirut), being so overbearing. John went on to be led to Christ by a little African pastor in Somalia, and is now also a pastor.
Ronnie went on to build a family of three, two girls and one boy. Everyone lives in Pennsylvania and has prosperous positions. Marcus is an world wide distributor selling and opening many franchises of fine eye glass wear. Jennifer* is an Actress from LA. (www.jenngotzon.com) Michelle is a model and has tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader’s. Jennifer and Michelle Gotzon are now models on the main packaging for GotzonGetzit “Hooked 2 You
|Ronnie with his girls Jenn and Michelle|
(Father's Day 2015)
Ronnie drove that point home in a wide-ranging interview recently. He said “we really don’t know (the physical pain is, the horror, the knowing etc.) of getting shot at or getting shot....or what it’s like to see a buddy get killed or wounded. We don’t really know what these guys go through losing their fellow soldiers to snipers or (booby-trapped) explosives or being in a true firefight knowing you could be killed or hurt very badly ...we have no idea!”
|Patriotic and other lures are tournament hits!|
Ronnie over all those years suffered in silence, at times mentioning this to others. Daily thinking of his other troopers and his cousin who are MIA or who were KIA. Only service men and woman and their families would truly understand the honest feelings a serviceman and woman can feel. On the surface, all seemed well with the Northampton Pennsylvania man, but he suffered in silence all these years. He was close to what many call it now “ the dark night of the soul” today.
Ronnie worked as an operating engineer for Lucent Technologies for 30 years as he continued to manufacture Shad Darts and only two spinners in the land where the Bethlehem Steel defined an era, in that part of Pennsylvania. Jenn Gotzon said "my dad has many skills which God blessed him with. He likes to save money fixing things around his house because he was blessed with talents that he does not have to pay anyone to do that job. I’m so proud of him and his skills. My dad can cook a meal, landscape the pool area from scatch, take a transmission out from an engine and be a #1 encourager to his family. I’m so proud of him and his skills. He tells me he will need to do this or that and minutes later it is already done. He waste no time getting his ideas done. One day he had an idea for a fishing lure. I watched him create the lure, go upstairs and create the advertising, the packaging and within one hour he was off to the post office to mail an order."
|All Gotzon Getzit lures are handmade in the USA|
The Shad fish is a popular game fish which swims up most of the eastern rivers after it leaves the ocean to spawn. When fishing for them back in 1984 the fisherman would use a dart called a Shad Dart. Ronnie has a machine shop in which he made 29 different mold styles of Shad darts with every color possible out there for every fisherman. His biggest creation was the Weedless shad dart. Ronnie applied for the Guinness Book of Records in 1992 with his 200 pound shad dart and his tiniest shad dart of 5 grams with a number 28 fly hook.
Even though the fisherman made fun of him back then and even today because there were no weeds in the river, he knew that this guard would save your dart from getting caught, he exploded from this into building and inventing 60 different lures. The smallest being a Lady Bug lure to the biggest the Striper Flutter Spinner Lure. He sells to stores and does shows weekly. Today after the plant he worked at closed, he continues manufacturing lures and selling all over at every show or possible store. He even has a store in Alaska which took a order of Spinners and Weedless Shad Darts.
|Jenn wearing GotzonGetzit "Hooked 2 You"|
pearl earrings in one of her recent movies
However, what Ronnie, Jo-Ann, Jenn, Michelle and Marcus are really pleased about is his Newest lure for the Troopers (SERVICEMAN OR SERVICE WOMAN). He made a spinner in honor of all the service people who served or did serve our country. He calls this new lure the USA PATRIOT SPINNER. Back during Desert Storm, more than 20 years ago he also invented another lure. He built all the molds for this new lure in his machine shop to honor our troopers. He called this lure the Patriot Scud Buster. A missile spinner bait which looked like the Patriot missile which shot the Scud out of the skies. The propellers spun, the body spun the back clevis spinner spun. This lure would peal line off reels and not get tangled. He made them red, white and blue. He then made them in all colors.
When His USA Patriot Spinners are sold, GOTZONGETZIT LURES DONATE 10% TO THE WOUNDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION. He and his family feels so good when a fellow soldier or customer purchases these products so he could donate and help others. This OUTSTANDING AND UNIQUE BUSINESS, ALL AMERICAN MADE, ONE AT A TIME custom fishing lures or earrings with the highest quality still hid all the pain and “survivors guilt” Psychologist describe this Survivors Guilt as a response typical to those who work in small groups (for instance (basic training/boot camp) and then go into combat or other similar environments. When one loses a member a small group unit like this depression can stay with the survivor for a lifetime… if not dealt with. Like everything in life, spiritual healing from creator God is the only answer.
|Michelle Gotzon (right) and Jenn |
with new line of earrings
“That Thanksgiving was the best ever”, said Jenn Gotzon. “I felt as if I got my dad back…and our home has never been better. I have never seen my mom and dad so happy, full of joy and looking forward to the future!” A complete change of healing direction among members of the US Military from the Viet Nam era to now is a very rare thing. The main reason is the treatment, for the most part, leaves out the One Who can really heal – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Speaking with and listening to Ronnie Gotzon is to listen to a man reborn with a new mission in life. We spoke of now using his fishing business and all his shows to converse with, assist and even minister to fellow veterans. With the influx of Afghan and Iraq US veterans returning with PTSD, survivor’s guilt and trauma, it will not be too difficult to find a US military vet from 26-76 years old, in any part of the United States.
“God gave me new lease on life, so maybe I can help somebody else”, he said. “Veteran speaking to veteran has a lot of credibility and….you know what? From now on, instead of just asking a fellow soldier “how are you doing” ….which is the usual with its automatic response (incorrect or not), I am going to start asking them: ‘how are you REALLY doing?’ as a way to start talking with them about their experiences and how we can help…..I think this is what I am going to do.
“I will also tell them that God (kept me around) and gave me a new purpose in life so I can help someone else. My goal is to make them feel comfortable enough to share and not create more pain and guilt.” I mentioned to him that more and more US military personnel coming back from the wars which began with the Iraq invasion in 2003, are committing suicide. I asked Ronnie Gotzon if he had any advice for helping soldiers cope with all the PTSD, Survivor’s guilt and this alarming growth in young veterans suicides. He said “I would tell them to think about what you’re going to do….and the pain and guilt. you will cause your family. We can’t tell these guys NOT to do something because we cannot understand what they are going through.
“What I would like to do is speak with some of them, one and one in a room for one, maybe two days. At first, there would be no talking until they are ready to open up and then, I can share with them and (show) what God has done in my life.“ said Ronnie Gotzon. His daughter Jenn agrees. She has just begun a new ministry to take comfort, joy and the saving Truth of God, through Christ to many. But her dad, the happy fishing lure warrior – Ronnie Gotzon – still has miles to go, and promises to keep.
Whether it is Father’s Day, The Fourth of July, Veterans’ Day or Thanksgiving Day, we still have men and women in uniform who need a loving listening and friendly ear…who still need to hear that life is still full of possibility and joy…who still need to be shown they matter and their families love them…who still need to know that Jesus loves them and wants to give them an abundant life, on earth and in eternity…who still need us to pray for them – without ceasing. This is the takeaway from this great Viet Nam veteran and father, Ronnie Gotzon. It is a testimony that new phases in life and within reach, even at age 65.
Gotzon-Getzit Fishing Lures & Sportsman Jewelry
*(Jennifer is the well-known and well-loved Christian movie actress Jenn Gotzon whose career took off after her role as Tricia Cox (President Nixon’s daughter) in Ron Howard’s Academy award nominated “Frost/Nixon) in 2009. Jenn is in huge demand for several current and future films, but is well known for her roles in God’s Country, Doonby and the upcoming sequel GOD’s NOT DEAD 2.)
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