Friday morning started out just like any other for Veteran and Air Force Instructor John Edens, but just like in a simulator he teaches in, a split second can change everything.
“My supervisor had just come in and he got the word, and all it was, it was a lockdown, and they were pretty sure there was an active shooter on base, and it was real time, so you don’t have time to be scared at that point,” said Edens.
A seasoned veteran, Edens jumped into action. He’s been trained for this. His only concern were those not with him in his locked down building.
“We were worried. Worried whether it was our friends that were involved. It's hard to talk about. We’re worried about who it is and their family.”
Behind the closed gates of NAS Pensacola, Edens’ wife, Kim was left in the dark.
“My first reaction was I want to get to my husband. I want to hear his voice and stuff, and then six hours later I’m finally able to put my arms around him.”
Unlike many others, what felt like a lifetime later, she would finally get that chance.
What is heavy on both of their hearts are those who won’t.
“You never think it can happen in your backyard, but with our background, we know it can happen in our backyard. You just pray to God that it never happens, but here we are. It happened,” said Edens.
John Edens, Western Area American Legion Commander, and Kim Edens, American Legion District President say they will spend the rest of the day at their second home, American Legion 240, just miles from NAS Pensacola’s back gate.
They would like to remind everyone in the community that American Legion 240’s doors will be open for those mourning over the coming weeks, as well as for any veterans or active duty military members who need anything from a hug to a helping hand.
For more information on how to get involved, click here.