This website is dedicated to Judy Marsolek and our fight to stop farmers from growing tobacco.
I met Judy when I was in the Air National Guard back in early 1968. We were called to active duty in support of the Vietnam War. While waiting for our orders we were stationed at Buckley Air Guard Base. After work hours we were free to go home. A bunch of us would go to a restaurant and lounge close to the base and one night when we went in and there were two pretty girls setting at the end of the bar. One of which was gorgeous. I got a beer and went down to talk to them.
I started talking to the prettiest one, looking straight into her eyes and I’ll be darn if she didn’t do the same to me. I introduced myself and she did to, her name was Judy. We talked and drank and smoked for hours. I asked her out on a date for the next night and she said yes. I told her I would pick her up and she told me where she lived and it turned out to be across the street from me. It is a small world out there. Needless to say, we fell in love.
Time was getting short for me and within in a week I received my orders to go to Vietnam. I could not tell her where I was going, but she knew it was going to be bad. I told her that I could be gone 12 months or even 18 months or I might not be coming home at all. She set and looked at me and with a tear in her eye and said “I’ll wait for you.” A short time before I was to leave the intelligence ship Pueblo was seized by North Koreans and the crew taken hostage. My orders were changed and I was sent to South Korea. I was there for 18 months. Judy and I wrote daily and up on my return we got married. I was a smoker and so was Judy.
We bought our first home and wanted some life insurance. I was told that I had very high blood pressure on the medical exam and they felt it was my smoking. They refused to sell me life insurance. It was recommended that I give up smoking. Judy said that if I would give up smoking, she would too. I've given it up for 48 years and Judy gave up for 48 hours. She tried to stop so many times.
It took a stay in the hospital for some minor surgery to get her to quit. What happened was she shared a room with another lady who had serious breathing problems. She started talking to Judy and asked her if she smoked. Judy said yes. The lady said you should quit or else you will be like me - tethered to air machines. This upset Judy badly. She told me what happened and said she wouldn't live that way. We walked out the door and bought every stop smoking aid on the market. It was too little too late.
In about 15 years, she started having breathing problems. At first, they thought it was just the after math of pneumonia she had just gotten over. It wasn’t that at all. They did a lot of tests and came up with the diagnoses of COPD, or as several doctors have said it is known as "slow strangulation". For the next few years she lived ok but was breathless more often. Then she caught pneumonia again and the breathing problem got much worse.
At this point she was put on oxygen 24/7. As time went along, she had to keep increasing the amount of oxygen the machine could produce. The last three years took their toll on her heart and other organs. At this point, I’ll spare you the details. She passed away last year in September. The doctors were so right calling it “slow strangulation”.
A few weeks before her passing she said she wanted me to see what I could do about putting a stop to tobacco use. I said I would. It will be known as “Judy’s Law.”