Episode 367 Karl Porfirio Gold Star Dad Shares a Heartfelt Story Transcript

This transcript is from episode 367 with guest Karl Porfirio.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Karl Porfirio. Karl is a gold star, father and author of the book, my Daddy’s Heart is Purple and he’s here today to discuss the loss of his son, senior Airman Airman, uh, Tre Porfirio, and how his book is honoring the Memory and legacy that his son left behind.

So welcome to the show, Karl. I’m really glad to have you here.

Karl Porfirio: Thank you Scott. I, I’m honored to be here. I appreciate you asking me on

Scott DeLuzio: Okay? Yeah,

Karl Porfirio: opportunity. Opportunity. My.

Scott DeLuzio: I, I [00:01:00] know, and before we start started recording, uh, you know, we, we shared how, uh, you know, we both have a, you know, common connection being, uh, you know, part of a gold star family. And, uh, that’s, uh, uh, one of those titles that nobody wants to have, uh, you know, put on them. But once when you have it, there’s, there’s no taking it off.

There’s no giving it back, uh, unfortunately. Um, and, and with that, I, I’d like to give you a moment to honor your son and his memory. Can you tell us a little bit about him and, and who he was?

Karl Porfirio: Uh, yes. Uh, so my son, Tre, uh, he always wanted to serve in some capacity. He, he said either he is gonna be an LEO or go to the military or something. I remember, um, we’re from Tennessee and I, I, I remember, you know, taking him, there was a Coast Guard recruitment station or something, , and we went in, it was probably about 16, and they said.

We don’t need anybody . It’s like, what? They we’re full, we don’t need anybody here’s, and they gave them a mug or something. And I’m like, okay. Then, um, [00:02:00] I, I always wanted to, so I love the mountains, you know, we’re from Tennessee, I love the mountains. We, you know, the Smokies, we got the Appalachians and, but you know, everyone from Tennessee, once a year we go to the beach.

So I take the boys to the beach, you know, everybody goes. And I, so I said one day I took my finger and I said, there’s gotta be a sleepy little town. I mean, we’re poor. So I said, there’s gotta be a sleepy little town that I can afford by the beach, you know? So I traced my finger down and I found St.

Mary’s, Georgia. And um, I inquired a few people about it. And now I didn’t know that was the home of Kings Bay for the Navy. They know. I didn’t know that was the home of Kings Bay submarine base. ’cause you know, it’s just called St. Mary’s and then it’s, you know, but I didn’t know anything about it. And, um, not being from a military family myself so much, I just didn’t know.

So I went, took the kids. Went down there, went to the beach, did a lookie. He said, yeah, this is where I wanna be. It took about two years, went down there, uh, he went to a real nice high school. [00:03:00] He loved it down there. And then we went to the recruiters again. He was about to, you know, before he graduated, about a year before he graduated.

And, um, he was in the N-J-R-O-T-C, uh, for three years in, in high school. And, um, he went on a sea cruise and he, my son was like six foot at the time. He was probably six two or whatever. And he came back, he goes, dad, I can’t join the Navy. I’m too tall. He goes, I keep hitting my head every time I go through a gangway, I hit my head.

I hit my head. And, you know, and I always wondered why all the guys in my town were so short and they’re , you know, Navy guys short as a rule, because, you know, it’s pretty cramped in a submarine if you’ve ever been a submarine.

Scott DeLuzio: I have. Yeah. Yeah.

Karl Porfirio: Um, so yeah, I went on one two and I said, not for me, I’m too claustrophobic.

But, um, so, you know, we went toward the army, toward the, you know, and everything. And I, I selfishly thought, oh, pick the Air Force, you know, nothing will happen to you. The Air Force, nothing will happen to you, the Air Force, you’ll be safe in the Air Force, you know? And he said, you know, so we [00:04:00] checked out the Army and, you know, and he said, and I knew if I suggested it, you know, with a teenager.

So I kept my mouth shut. And then he said, well, let’s go check out the Air Force. And I was like, thank you, God, thank you. You know, so we did. And you know, the recruiter, it was a little cocky, but um, you know, sat down and we kind of did the early enlistment and it’s really what he wanted to do, you know, serve.

And, uh, you know, of course I was all for it. And, uh, I just told the recruiter, I said, find my son a good job. Find my son a good job. And you know, he got the call right. Graduation Graduat, you know, he didn’t even get that last summer after high school graduation. He went straight in. He got like two weeks at the most, went straight in.

So, um, that’s what he always wanted to do. And that’s what he did.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s, that’s great that he was able to find something to serve his country in a way. Uh, I know it’s, it’s kind of what you wanted to, like, you’re like, okay, if you’re gonna do this, do it. Do it here. [00:05:00] Be safer. But, you know, he, he kind of found that path on his own. Um, and it’s, it’s always interesting to hear how people find their way to whatever it is that they, they end up doing.

Um, and, and this, that was a great story. Thank you for, uh, sharing, uh, you know, just that, that little snapshot into, into his life and, and who he was. Um, now in the beginning, I mentioned the book that you wrote, uh, which again is My Daddy’s Heart is Purple. Um, and as a grieving parent, um, you know, you lost, lost Your Son, uh, like we said, um, how you, you wrote this book designed to be at Children’s Book.

Right. How did you, how did you balance the . The, the gravity of the topic of, you know, losing your son over there, um, while keeping it still on topic for a, a, a children’s book. Something that, I don’t wanna say children’s friendly, but you know, it, the, [00:06:00] there’s a, a, you know, a degree of what they’re able to, to kind of process and handle.

Karl Porfirio: well. I was a single dad. I raised, uh, I was a single dad, uh, you know, not by choice, but, uh, and so I had all my boys and you know, it’s like, okay guys, you gotta figure out something to do here. You gotta go to college, you gotta go to work, you gotta do something. And, um, it’s funny, I always said when my kid was little, I, I always went by dad and me.

I even had on my tag dad and me, this dad and me that, and I thought up this book and I said, I’m gonna write a series called Dad and Me. And I started to, but I never did. It never came to fruition. I never did it. And I always said, so that really didn’t carry on to this. This was almost, so my son left behind a son.

Let’s preface it with that. My son left behind a son. He was eight months old when my son passed. So my son got shot three times in Afghanistan, but he did make it home only to pass away later, after many surgeries and all that. [00:07:00] And anyway, um, so he left behind a son and I said, well. My grandson’s mother just wouldn’t talk about my son. We didn’t want to talk about him, didn’t want her son to know about my son, and it was, and it was torture for me. And, but she did let me see my grandson after a year. I, I went by the whole year and I, and I got to see him and, and everything and got to bond with him and, um, you know, he was my whole heart.

And so I said, you know, I, I wasn’t allowed to talk about him. And I, it was almost like a dream that I dreamed up this book. I mean, I, like, literally, I don’t know how it, it, it was. And I just, I went out on my back porch. I had a nice screening porch after I moved down here to, you know, up here to Georgia.

Um, the North Georgian, uh, came up here because my grandson lives up here. He lives in the Atlanta area. So that’s why I moved and came up here. And, um, I just went out on the, just started pecking out a book and it’s just a [00:08:00] short book. You could read it in five minutes. It’s children’s book. And I wanted to express. To a child what a Purple Heart was. ’cause my son did receive his Purple Heart before he passed. So I’ve never even got to see it. I’ve never seen it in person. She’s got it. I’ve never got to see it, and I know. Got it. And, um, I don’t know where I came up with it, you know, I don’t, I’m telling you I can’t, it’s like, it just la boom.

It just like came to me like a thunderstorm all at once. And I mean, I couldn’t stop typing. I just, just just banged this book out. And, um, you know, and I went and self publish. Did, like I said, I didn’t think anybody would see the book except my grandson who, who’s my grandson. And next thing I know, somebody’s sending me a picture of their child holding the book.

And we love your book. And it’s got five stars on Amazon and I’m freaking out. I’m like, I, I mean, I was just crying. I was like, [00:09:00] I wasn’t prepared for, I. Somebody else to be into this story, somebody else to be into my life with this. I wasn’t prepared for that other than my family. And, um, you know, I didn’t wanna go around known as, oh, there’s, there’s the guy who lost his son.

You know, I didn’t wanna be that person. And, you know, um, I, I, like I said, I was surrounded by the military. I lived in Kings Bay. My son, you know, was in the N Jro TC and I was surrounded by, and everybody I worked with was either a Navy wife or, uh, in the Navy in the Coast Guard. It was, you know, so, and I moved across the river to Florida, ’cause I, I couldn’t look at the uniforms anymore.

These were young kids that my son went to high school with basically. And I, I just, you know, anyway, back to the book. So. I wrote the book, I was freaking out because the book was about to come out and I said, oh my God, what am I gonna do when she finds out this book is out? And [00:10:00] I didn’t even, wouldn’t even mention my grandson.

I wanted to call the little boy in the book, Landon, that’s my grandson’s name. But I was afraid to, I said, oh, she’ll come after me. She’ll sue me. She’ll and I, I’ve heard these horror stories from other actually gold star parents who never get to see their grandchildren. It’s, it’s, it’s tragic. I have appealed to some members in Congress and said, you’ve, you’ve got to write a bill saying when these grandparents, you know, such as your parents, if they lose a, a, a child, a son, or a daughter, that they still have access to those children, to their grandchildren.

Because I have ran into other gold star parents. They never get to see their grandchildren. So I guess I’m fortunate, you know, people say, oh, you’re lucky, and it, it kind of insults me. People say, you’re lucky you get to see your grandson. I’m like, oh, I’m lucky. I mean, should I not be entitled to see my grandson, you know, the son of my son that sacrificed his life and I know.


Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that, I mean, that, that’s, that is tough. [00:11:00] Having, uh, having not only the loss of your son, which is obviously permanent, but then, uh, then also having the, that loss as well of not being able to see your grandchildren. Uh, just as, to me, it seems like it’s pouring salt in the wound. Um, you know,

Karl Porfirio: it’s.

Scott DeLuzio: you, you know, I mean, I understand life circumstances happen and maybe, you know, uh, someone has to move to another part of the country or something like that, and maybe you don’t see them as often as you would like for, you know, life happens.

I, I get that. Um, but if you’re within the same, you know, local geographic region within a, you know, at least a couple hours drive should be a, um,

Karl Porfirio: You know, but I wasn’t,

Scott DeLuzio: uh, yeah. Yeah. That, that’s true.

Karl Porfirio: I wasn’t, so I moved, um,

Scott DeLuzio: So you did what you needed to do Right. To to

Karl Porfirio: you’re emotional. And they, they, they tell you, I, I, I’m too [00:12:00] emotional of a person. I’m Italian. It it, it comes from my dad , my mother’s German. She’s not emotional at all. I

Scott DeLuzio: think would mellow out kind of middle of

Karl Porfirio: I call her Gilda. She’s just, yeah, there’s this there. And I’m like, I, I see why they were, I mean, my dad was like the sweetest.

He’s like, he never met a stranger. I mean, my mom’s nice too. I don’t wanna you dispar my mother, but she, she’s, it’s not the same. You know, we’re Italians. Every, we gotta kiss everybody. We gotta hug everybody. I, I gotta be careful not to, uh, you know, uh, kiss and hug the wrong people. And you know, people ESP and then Covid came and, oh my God, don’t even get near me.

So, you know, kind of hard being the Italian guy. And, you know, I’m, I’m, I always taught my sons never to be ashamed, never to be ashamed. Um, one time when my son came home for a visit, you know, from the Air Force, you know, before he deployed to Afghanistan, he came home for a visit. And, and I dropped him off at the airport and he got outta the car and he kissed me.

And I [00:13:00] was shocked. I was shocked, you know, I was like, wow. You know, it just. It just translated, you know? And, and you know, I still as old as I was, I go to, my father lives in Italy and you know, I still kiss my father and everything, and I never kiss my mother . It’s like, whatcha doing?

Scott DeLuzio: Right, right.

Karl Porfirio: What, what, what? You know, she’s, she’s just, she’s just different.

And, uh, you know, but my dad was always the huggy kissy guy and, you know, and, uh, so I just became that guy with my sons. I’m like, I love you. I love you. You know, the last words I said to my son was, I love you. And so I, I’ll never regret that, ’cause that was the last words I spoke to him. And so, you know, um, it, it’s just something I, it’s something being, I’m too emotional.

Some parents, you know, grandparents can see their grandkids once a year and they’re just happy with it. And I just felt at that time I needed to be close to him. It was more about [00:14:00] me, I’m sure, because, you know, he was an extension of my son. That’s when I needed to be, you know, I just wanted to be in his life and I wanted him to be in my life.

So I moved around, chased him around, gone, broke, moving and moving and moving. And um, now he’s about to turn 14, and I, he doesn’t speak to me because he’s a teenager and he is always got a phone in his hand and a game in his hand. And Fortnite is, you know, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. You know?

So I’m like, okay, now I can die in peace, I guess. I don’t know, but

Scott DeLuzio: I, I have a 14-year-old of my own, so I’m, I’m familiar with

Karl Porfirio: oh my God, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. A girl or boy

Scott DeLuzio: a boy.

Karl Porfirio: does he speak to you?

Scott DeLuzio: He does. Yeah. You

Karl Porfirio: lucky.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. But I mean, we’re trapped in the same house, so it’s, it’s kind of like inevitable that eventually he is gonna

Karl Porfirio: My grandson comes over, I finished the room upstairs. I said, this is your room. There was room over the garage. I said, this is gonna be your bedroom when you come to visit. And I finished the room and he, I walked him up the stairs. [00:15:00] He was so excited. It’s a great big room. I decorated in all Star Wars, you know, vintage Star Wars and all that stuff.

And he, you know, now he comes over, goes straight up the stairs, never see him until he comes down for dinner. And I usually have to call him three times for that. Comes down, eats dinner and hails it. He’s back up the stairs. I don’t see him. His mother comes and picks him up. Bye. And that’s it.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, no.

Karl Porfirio: I don’t see him.

And it, it’s like he, he is, you know, he is got a computer and he can do his fingers on his computer and his other hand on his phone. And I don’t know how he does it, but he does it. So, um, I don’t know. I don’t understand how they do it.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah. So let’s, um, you know, kind of going back to the, the book and, and kind of what your, um, what you and your family kind of went through. I know, uh, when I lost my brother, uh, in Afghanistan just couple, couple months before your son was killed, um, you know, o obviously there’s a sadness, right? [00:16:00] That’s a, a given with, with any loss like that, that there’s just gonna be that kind of sadness.

But then there’s, on the other side, there’s, at least for me anyways, there’s, there’s a sense of pride. Um. The way that he was. He died that he, he, he died fighting his country. Um, he, uh, I think I, I had mentioned to you, uh, that he had reenlisted so that he could go to Afghanistan and be with the guys that he served with previously in Iraq.

Um, so, you know, there’s that kind of noble, uh, pursuit that he was, he was going after. Right. And that’s a difficult dy dynamic to digest, especially, um, when you’re, when you’re talking to children who might not understand, they may understand like good and bad and, uh, you know, evil and, and, and, you know, the, the good guy and the bad guy and that type of thing.


Karl Porfirio: Exactly.

Scott DeLuzio: how, how could you, how [00:17:00] do you, uh, kind of break down that dynamic and, um, you know, or, or did you even, uh, you know, try to attempt to break down that dynamic? Uh, you know, as far as children go.

Karl Porfirio: Actually, actually, I did, um, the, the preface of my book, uh, let’s see. On the back it says, um, because his son also left behind his son. The goal is for all children who have experienced this loss can also share the pride, which you just said, pride of their parents who loved and served their country. So you. I, I got to go read this book to 600 elementary school students, and they were very, you know, and you know, some of the kids raise their hand and go, well, were, you know, like, were you sad? Well, yes, of course I was sad. But e exactly what you said, like, like your brother and, you know, pride in yourself that you served and you know, your brother, I, I’ve said this many times, A lot of people don’t get it, but you’ll get it.

I have the privilege [00:18:00] of saying my son died for his country. My son died honorably, my son. You know, there’s many ways you can die. And, uh, I think Seth McFarland made a movie about that a thousand Ways to Die.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Karl Porfirio: You know, everyone said I bought him a motorcycle when he was in high school. And being a single dad, I was, I said, okay, I can be cool, dad, now I can, you know? ’cause the wife is gonna say, hell no, you ain’t getting the kid a motorcycle. So he came to me one day and he goes, dad, and because we lived in Florida and it’s flat as a ribbon, and the roads are straight.

And I never would’ve bought him one in Tennessee, but I said, yeah, we live Florida now. The roads are straight. If you wreck, he wrecks in sand and not in concrete. And you know, so everyone, he’s gonna get killed. He’s gonna get killed. He’s gonna get killed. Well, no, he got killed in serving his country. He didn’t get killed on the motorcycle.

So there, you know, and, and so I’m fortunate in that respect. I always say I’m fortunate my son didn’t die, a drug dealer. My son didn’t die from, from drugs. My son didn’t die in a gang fight. My [00:19:00] son didn’t die. You know, he died honorably. He, he’s in a cemetery with honorable men and women. And I, I take pride in that.

I, I, you know, I take . Some comfort in that knowing that he did what he wanted to do and, and, and that’s the way he died, you know, doing what he wanted to do, um, serving. And, and that is a comfort to me. Uh, it, and I want, that was part of the book to teach children. I know you’re sad, you lost grandma or your brother, your mother, your father, but you can still be proud.

You can walk around and say, I’m proud of my daddy. I’m proud of my mommy. You know, I’m proud of my sister and my brother because they served their country when they passed away. And, you know, and even if, even if they didn’t die in battle, they served their, they, they were a veteran or served their country or whatever, you know, they could take pride.

But you know, also, like I said, . It was to teach children what a purple [00:20:00] heart was. So many people, dunno what a purple heart medal is. I had to do my research. Where did it come from? You know, how did it come to be? And I didn’t know General George Washington made the Purple Heart. I didn’t know that was his face in the middle of it, you know?

Um, know, and why he made it. And so that’s what the whole book explains. It’s, it’s a grandfather explaining to a grandson what a Purple heart is. So, um, you know, and brings up his father. I don’t use the word death in the book. Um, uh, you know, so, you know, I I I try to make it very, and, and the adults seem to really like the book, you know?

’cause it’s a book you’re gonna read to your kid more than you’re just gonna hand to your kid. And that’s what I wanted it to be. And you know, it’s like that Dr. Seuss, I’m not so.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, you know, I think as, as a parent, um, who. Has had conversations like this with [00:21:00] his children. Um, you know, like my kids asked about my brother, their uncle, um, you know, like who was he? What happened to him? And things like that. And like, yeah, death is a tough topic to talk about with kids. Um, and I think for the parents out there who maybe have experienced that type of thing, who have young children, having a book like this is like finding gold because it, it can kind of help

Karl Porfirio: Well, thank you. I.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, no, seriously, because, because thinking to myself, how do I, how do I explain that to a, a young child, right? Sitting down, and I, we used to do this all the time, especially when the kids were younger. Um, we would, before bed, we, we would read ’em a story and, you know, they’re having questions about certain things.

Like maybe that’s a story that you, you want to incorporate. Maybe not a bedtime story. I don’t know, maybe it is. Depends on your, [00:22:00] your family’s situation, whatever you think is appropriate. But, um, you know, sit down and read it with them and they have questions. You, you answer those questions and you, you talk to them about it.

And, um, you know, but, but at least that, that introduces the topic. And I think this, this book could go even beyond military. I know it, it talks about the Purple Heart, which is unique to the military. Um, but it could also be, uh, appropriate maybe for, uh, folks who are dealing with the loss of a, you know, law enforcement or, or firefighter or some other, um, you know, loss like that as well.

Um, because it, it kind of broaches that difficult topic of, uh, you know, someone who’s. Gone before, I’ll, I’ll call it gone before their time. Um, you know, they’re, they had a lot of life left to live, but they, they sacrificed and they, they gave up the remaining years that they had, uh, so that others could have a better life.

And that’s,

Karl Porfirio: definitely gone before their time.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, for sure. You know, I mean, that’s, um, [00:23:00] you, you can fit several of those lifetimes in, in somebody else’s lifetime. And, um, you know, that’s, it’s just, it’s sad when they, they’re gone so soon. Um, but, but especially to somebody who’s so young who just doesn’t understand death, um. Like, that person was just always here.

Where did they go? You know, , like that’s, there, there there’s some big questions there. Where, where did they go? If they’re not here, where are they? You know? And, uh, you know, trying to, trying to talk to a child about that, uh, can be kind of difficult. So, so I think having a book like yours is, uh, is truly amazing to, to have.

Karl Porfirio: Well, thank you. And, and she won’t let me really talk about my son to him. She didn’t tell him until he was eight years old that he had another father. And then, which was wrong. ’cause then that freaked him out. She thought her, he thought her current husband was, that was the only man he knew. So he thought that was his partner.

And so, um, they kind of freaked him out and she let me tell him, and then, then she [00:24:00] put the gag order back on me and Okay, you told him, now shut up. You can’t talk to him about it anymore. So he knows the book exists. I don’t even know if he read the book from cover to cover. I, it sits on my counter. He could pick it up anytime he wants to, but she’s got him.

So I think freaked out about death now that, you know, oh, don’t talk about death, because that, that, that just, that upsets him. I’m like, well, you know. He’s gotta face this reality the same way you and I had to face reality of losing somebody. And as sad as it is, but like you said, the book, um, can I show the book?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, sure. Absolutely. Please

Karl Porfirio: and, uh, I’m gonna have to put my glasses on because , but let’s, so here’s the book. There’s the, um,

Scott DeLuzio: heart is purple. Yep. And with the, the cover there. Yep.

Karl Porfirio: yes. And um, you know, so, and there’s, you know, the Purple Heart

Scott DeLuzio: Mm-Hmm.

Karl Porfirio: so everyone, you know, can see the Purple Heart. And then, um, you know, the book’s [00:25:00] not all sad. And, you know, some people, the adults, you know, some, it bothered me ’cause I didn’t want the book to make anybody cry. And some of the all said, oh, you know, they, it made me cry.

It made me cry. And I’m like, oh God, what did I do? Because, sorry about it, bumping the camera. Um, I said that I didn’t intend to. To be a sad book or to make people cry. And I ended up, you know, my last page is my favorite page. Last page was the hardest to come up with, you know, how do you end this? How do you end this little story?

And, um, and I came up with a, I thought was a very nice last page. And so, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s cute, it’s uplifting. Like I said, you know, we lost somebody, but we’re gonna be proud of them. That’s the message that the book was to send. Yes. Um, that’s what it’s gotta send to these kids. And I, I was so honored when the principal called me.

Um, I, I had [00:26:00] donated the book to our local library, which I, I was, I wanted to make sure they were patriotic. Well, it just so happened that the lady in the, that runs the children’s library also has a son in the Air Force. He’s a pilot in the Air Force. So I was very fortunate that she, yeah. Said, oh, definitely, definitely will display your book or whatever.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s great.

Karl Porfirio: I live in a small hick town, so that’s not going anywhere. , I was on the, I was on the front cover of the newspaper and maybe two people saw it, so, you know. Yeah. So, and then there was, well, when I gave her the book, she had called somebody apparently. And so the local newspaper again came down and, and took a picture of me handing her the book.

So then that’s how the principal called me of the elementary school. And I was a little ticked off, ’cause I’m old and when I was a kid we were off for Veterans Day. So it really, yeah, it really disturbed me that the kids were no longer getting off for Veterans Day. But then when I found out we live in a patriotic community, and it depends on the community you live in, I guess that supports the military.[00:27:00]

And then when I found out that the teachers were actually talking about the military and veterans and what Veterans Day was, I was very elated about that. I said, well, that’s, that’s better than getting the day off

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, yeah. My, my kids had had something very similar. Um, we, we homeschool our kids now, but um, when, when they were in school, they, they had Veterans Day where they had to go to school, but it was all about veterans and, and we live not even 10 miles from a air, uh, air Force base, uh, Luke Air Force base out here in Arizona.

And, um, so. Tons of military, uh, around this area, uh, between, you know, currently serving and, uh, you know, veterans and everything like that. Um, and they actually had an assembly where they invited the parents who were veterans, uh, to come in and, uh, the kids did, they sang patriotic songs, and they did all sorts of things like that.

Um, and, and some of the, the older veterans of World War [00:28:00] ii, uh, veterans and, uh, Korea veterans, they, they would get up and give speeches and talk to the kids and, and all that kind of stuff. But like, like you said to me, I was like, that’s, that’s better than having a day off where they just sit in front of the television or, you know, play video games or whatever, where they, they don’t even know why they have the day off.

Um, I’d rather have them go to school and actually learn about what’s, what’s this day about? What, why, why is this even an important day? Uh, you know, and so, um, so yeah, you’re absolutely right. I, I think that’s, that’s the best way to do it. Um. And so you’re talking about, uh, you know, the, the happiness and, you know, the sadness and all that kinda stuff As far as the book goes, um, I, I know when I wrote my book, um, it, it, I, I tried to incorporate, um, it was kind of a rollercoaster of emotions because obviously it’s a sad topic, you know, emotional and, and things like that.

But I tried to include the funny stuff too. Um, and so I think like if someone was to just sit down and read my book cover to cover, [00:29:00] they’d, they’d be, they’d have tears for, for maybe two reasons. One, because they’re laughing so damn much , but, but another, because, you know, they might’ve, they might’ve cried too.

Um. But even in the writing process, I found it to be kind of a rollercoaster of emotions, reliving some of the things. Um, it’s therapeutic at times to, to write about the, the topic, but um, other times it was really sad and it was really difficult. Took me, you know, I’d, I’d write half a page and be like, I, I’m, I can’t keep going right now.

I gotta take a break. And, um, you know, then, then I, I’ll come back to it and, and maybe I can get back into it, but, um, what was your experience like writing, uh, the book? Was it therapeutic for you? Was it, was it difficult? Um, I know you said it kind of just came to you, but, um, what was that like?

Karl Porfirio: Well, , I read it and then I’ll cry , and then it’s like, it, it’s like, you know, triggering it. I’m, but I’m very empathetic, I guess, and, and emotional. I’m too emotional. That’s my problem. And, um, it [00:30:00] was, but like I said, it just came so quickly. I was like, I mean, I didn’t even have to edit. I went back and my son, that was my youngest son, he, he, he reads four books a week.

So I handed him the manuscript and I said, okay, edit this for me. And he, he went through it and he said, there’s dad, there’s nothing I would change. And um, I think the publisher, they asked me to ch there was one thing, one line, something they said, I think this would sound better. What do you think? They, you know, they gave me whatever.

And. I’m like, oh, okay, whatever. I can’t even remember what it was. Maybe I repeated myself or something, you know? Um, I could see you doing that . But anyway, um, it, again, I, you know, my main goal was selfish. It was for my grandson. It was a legacy to my grandson. It’s like, if I drop dead tomorrow, my grandson can open this book and know how [00:31:00] I felt and know how I felt. Feel that he should feel about his father, um, because he doesn’t know anything about his father.

Nothing about his father. And again, I’m not allowed to speak and I’m in that position. And, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s speak about him and you won’t see your grandson anymore. So, you know, so I keep counting the days he’s turning 14. I guess I gotta live four more years till he turns 18. And I, I get under out from under the shackles, you know?

And, um, you know, so. I gotta look four more years, folks pray. I gotta look four more years. Um, but that’s it. And like I said, when, when, and, and I don’t know how you feel about your book and people reading your book, and unfortunately I haven’t got to read your book. Um, but when the, I saw that when somebody had sent me the, the picture email me because I concluded my email in the book actually.

And I said, tell me how you feel about the book and you can email me. And [00:32:00] when I got that picture of a child reading my book, I was just blown away, . I was like, I don’t know this child. I don’t know this person. I just, I didn’t expect it. I said, nobody will buy my book. Nobody cares. Nobody. You know, and, and, and even now, it’s still okay.

It’s more towards children. It’s more toward the military. So, um, you know, it’s in a small category and for people, you know. To see it. And, but yet everybody that’s seen it, not that many people has seen it say they love it, say they love the illustration, they love the book, they love the story. And I’m like, well, you know, my, my son’s always saying, write another book, dad, write another book write.

I’m like, no. I just don’t. I just don’t think I have it in me. I don’t, I don’t, um,

Scott DeLuzio: Well, you know, I, I, I, I think, I think when, when you’re writing a book like this and you, you start getting that, that outreach where people are, are writing to you and they’re, they’re sending pictures [00:33:00] and they’re sending notes of, um, you know. Basically how the book has helped them and, and they’re sharing that type of stuff.

Um, I know for me, when, with my book, I, I’ve gotten similar messages from people. Um, and some of the people were, were people I knew, people I grew up with or, or people that knew my brother. Um, but others are, were complete strangers. And they had, uh, you know, maybe a similar circumstance where they, uh, they lost a, a, a loved one.

And, um, the, they write to me and they, they say, uh, you know, how much the book had had helped them and, uh, how much they enjoyed reading the book and, and things like that. But the one, the one thing that, that really, um, struck me as odd, um, I had done a bunch of television, radio, and other interviews and stuff like that, um, to kind of help promote the book and, and get the word out, uh, about that.

Um, but I was in the grocery store one day and this guy yells out my name and I turned around. I, I’m looking for a face. I [00:34:00] recognize, I’m like, who? You know. Who, who is yelling my name? Couldn’t find anybody that I recognized. And there’s this guy walking towards me, uh, with his hand out, like, he’s gonna, you know, he wants to shake my hand.

I’m like, oh, okay, fine. You know, uh, like this must’ve been the guy, and, and I’m racking my brain. Who is this guy? Did, did I meet him someplace at some event? I just forgot who this person is and whatever. No, he had seen me on, on television and, and he recognized me. And so he, he called my name out and, um, you know, it was, to me it was like the most bizarre thing to get recognized for something like that.

But, um, but also knowing that the message got out there to somebody, you know, that that was a, a good thing, you know,

Karl Porfirio: Absolutely.

Scott DeLuzio: so,

Karl Porfirio: Absolutely. It’s like, like I said, you know, I’m, I’m not gonna be recognized, nor did I, you know, I, you know, my, my thing would be if this book would be in every elementary school, because like I said, and you know yourself as a veteran, the [00:35:00] way times are changing and veterans just are not getting the respect that they got, you know, 50 years ago or

Even before then, you know, um, you know, I watched you watch the old movies, like even the Three Stooges, you’re watching how much a veteran, you know, you, you, you know, you picked up the, the soldier on the side of the road. You bought, you know, you know, I’ve taught my children to always, you know, the guys that wear the cap and I said, always go think a veteran.

And I, my children always go walk up and think a veteran. And you know, I remember my son telling me that the pilot, um, the pilot, he, he was flying one day and he was flying in uniform and the pilot bought him lunch. You know, he got off the plane and then the pilot bought him lunch or something. And it’s like, you know, that’s the way our soldiers used to be treated, you know, and you know, I’ll be in the airport and I don’t carry much cash ’cause everyone uses a plastic card now.

And, you know, I’ll dig for some cash and I’ll, you know, I’ll see a soldier and I’ll say, Hey, go buy a cup of coffee on me, or whatever, you know, just [00:36:00] to let them know that I appreciate them and I appreciate their service. And you know what they do and you know, and then, you know, it was different living in Kings Bay, you know, every, everybody’s in the Navy and it’s like, you know, and, and you know, people who haven’t experienced that, it’s, it’s a whole different lifestyle.

So they’re here today, gone tomorrow somewhere, you know, uh,

Scott DeLuzio: that’s right. Yeah.

Karl Porfirio: the, the kids are, well, I don’t know if I’ll be around, you know, daddy’s gonna get deployed, mama’s gonna get deployed, or we’re gonna get transferred somewhere else. So we don’t know where we’ll be living next year. But, and it’s nice knowing you , you know, it’s nice knowing you so, you know, the life of an army bratt or, you know, whatever, a military bratt.

So, um, you know, and that’s what they did to me with my grandson. He, they. New daddies in the military as well. And they kept telling me, oh, we’re, we’re, we’re putting in for Japan. And, you know, my heart was broken. I said, okay, I’ve chased him from here. I’ve chased him from there. I’m not chasing my grandson to Japan.

I can’t go to [00:37:00] Japan. You know, I, I, you know, and my heart was broken. Well, then he didn’t go to Japan. And then I, you know, it just emotional turmoil for me all the time. You know, I was just gearing up for that loss. And then, oh, guess what? We’re not going to Japan. Well, I’m so happy you’re here, but now, now I’ve gotta reprogram myself to welcome you back home or whatever.

It’s just,

Scott DeLuzio: It, it, it is a, it sounds like a, a rollercoaster there with, with emotions, you know, going, you know, from the ups to the downs and, you know, like, but, but the ups sometimes maybe don’t feel like they’re, they’re quite ups. It’s like, you know, a, a quasi victory, but, you know, it was like, at least you’re not going to Japan, but, you know, still not, not as close maybe as, as you might wanna be.

Um, was there anything else outside of the, the kind of family, uh, you know, family issues as far as like what the, the military support, like the, the support that you got through the Air Force, um, or, or anything like that, that you felt was maybe lacking or anything that you, you would like to see changed [00:38:00] or different?

Um, from on the military side.

Karl Porfirio: yeah. Like I said, originally, I, I, I think somebody in congress needs to write a bill to protect. Parents such as your parents and, and myself. You know, when there’s grandchildren, I have heard this horror story from many gold star families that they never saw their grandchildren. You know, she took the kids and split and they never, you know, and it’s like, okay, you know, I lost my son or I lost my daughter, and now you’re gonna rip away my grandchildren from me.

You’re gonna keep my grandchildren from me, you know, and she has all the power and I have none. And, um, it was hard, you know, I, I just worked hard and I’m sure your parents can relate to this. I’m sure they would agree with me. Every parent’s fear after losing a child, is that child being forgotten?

Scott DeLuzio: Mm-Hmm.

Karl Porfirio: It’s, you know, and, um, I don’t even go to family functions anymore because, [00:39:00] you know, I.

Initially, I’m, I’m jealous. I’m, I, I’m jealous. I’m jealous. I love my nieces and nephews, but I’m jealous that they’re all growing up and having their careers and, and graduating college and doing all the things that I never got to experience, you know, losing my son so early in life. And then, um, you know, and then I see them playing as kids.

You know, my son was, he was always the cut up. He would sit , my sister’s got three girls, and my son would sit there and let you know as a teenager, as a, as a 13-year-old and, and let the girls do his hair and put little clips in his hair and do his hair and put lipstick on him. And he would let that, he loved kids and he would let the kids do that to him.

And he pretended he dressed up like a Turkey once he laid on a floor and pretended he was a Turkey. And, you know, just, and anyway, you know, and he. He was a smart ass too. You know, I’d always say he liked to be a smart [00:40:00] ass. So, um, you know, uh, he made Airman of the Year. He made Airman of the Year, his second year in I I, and this was terrible of me.

I hate myself. It’s like he, he calls me up, he goes, dad, I just got this email that, uh, I, I’m Airmen of the Year. And I go, Tre, come on. Someone’s yanking your chain. I, I, I, I, I said, God, I hate myself to this day. I said, Tre, come on. Someone’s yanking your chain. ’cause you’re, he’s, he was, he was a sweet guy.

He would do anything. And he was gullible in, in that sense. ’cause he, he was a sweet kid. And I go too sweet of a kid. And I go, um, come on, come on, Tre, come on some, you know. So then finally he gets an, an email from someone high up, you know, some command and says Congratulations. You know, he, the airman, he was fir I think he was still first class then or whatever.

And. You know, you’ve won Airman of the Year for your division. You know, he was, he was in the 88 Communication Squadron. So, you know, people, [00:41:00] he, he’s not the airman of the entire Air Force of the year, but a, a, you know, 88 commun air, which was a big deal. And, um, what is it the highest open the Air Force?

The Senior Master. Senior master sergeant. Is that what whatever the high you know of own. And he comes up to me and he goes, I didn’t know your son. He goes, do you know how difficult that is to, to get that? You know, my son’s in. He goes, my son never got anything, you know? And, and I, I didn’t know. I didn’t know.

And, um, so, so he, he came home and he brought me the, the award, a little crystal award about yay high or whatever. I should have brought out the Odyssey, but that’s just bragging. Since it was a Navy town, I said, I’m going to the newspaper and I’m gonna make sure. And he goes, don’t do it dead. And I go, I’m doing it.

And I went to newspaper. I made him take a picture of that award and put it in the newspaper. You know, ’cause I got so sick and tired of hearing Navy, Navy, Navy, Navy, all the damn time. Like they were the only, you know, it’s all we heard about. And so, you know, I said, oh [00:42:00] no, you know, there’s, there’s other branches of the military here, son.

And I’m, they’re gonna make damn well, you know, you live here and they’re gonna know you. So, and I called my congressman and I got the big sign put up on the side of the road. And you know, at

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, that’s awesome.

Karl Porfirio: it’s not on 95, if y’all ever go to the beach, um, in the Atlantic side, you guys are all gonna go to the Pacific side, I guess.

But, um, anyway, uh, , you know, so, you know, he did that. He also, now also, if anybody in here is medical, he also made medical history. So when he was shot, you know, he didn’t lose his arms and legs. He lost all the . Inside parts. So he definitely was, I never knew the definition of exit wounds until it happened to my son.

So he lost a lot of parts, uh, on the inside. And one of them was his pancreas. Well, you can’t live very well without a pancreas, [00:43:00] and it makes you, you know, instantly a diabetic, a brittle diabetic. And the pancreas does other things. It produces enzymes and does other things. So, um, for your audience doesn’t know what the pancreas does, you know, it makes your insulin and without one, you’re a diabetic.

So, um, this doctor in, at the University of Miami Medical School, Dr. Ricki, he runs the Diabetes Research Institute all over the world. It’s called Diabetes Research Institute. And he swears he is gonna cure diabetes before he dies. And I think he just hit 80, so he better hurry. So he developed this process. My son was kind of the Guinea pig, uh, in, in, but he, he had, he’d already done it, but my son was the first person ever get it due to a trauma. You know, they had moved it due to cancer or something, but due to a trauma. So he was the first one. So he, he made medical history around the world. I mean, there was ticker tapes and, and I mean, he was in the Miami Herald all the way to the LA Times with these stories.

[00:44:00] I, I was in shock. The Reader’s Digest did a story on him called Saving Tre before he died. He was in the Reader’s Digest. There’s a picture of him, his baby and baby mama and all that stuff. And it was called Saving Tre. The stories. Reader’s Digest. Ridiculous. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s for entertainment.

It’s the Reader’s Digest. Not disparaging the Reader’s Digest, but, you know, a lot of the story was, no, no, that’s not, they called me, they called me to fact check, and I was like, you know what, just, just just print what you, they’re like, no, but just print what you wanna print. And so they did. And you know, but it was a good story.

And, but then he, he’s in the New England general Medicine. He made a lot of doctors, uh, be known because of it. And, um, but anyway, so he had no pancreas. They injected these cells into his liver. His liver started producing insulin. Um, somebody went down to Florida to Ripley’s, believe it or not. And I get this picture from someone in the Army [00:45:00] that knew my son.

And the, I get this picture from Ripley’s, believe it or not, and there’s a big poster of my son in there. It says he, it’s, believe it or not, this man lived without a pancreas and his liver produced insulin and he wasn’t on insulin. And, um, he told me the story after he left Walter Reed and he was, you know, he was still active duty on medical leave, I guess is what they call it.

And, uh, ’cause I kept saying they were gonna throw him out. I thought they were gonna throw him out, but then they didn’t throw him out because his body was producing insulin. So I had high hopes that he was gonna make it. And, uh, he, he just laid down one day and he didn’t get back up. But, um, I always say, you can’t live on, you can’t live on mountain doing morphine is what I’ve always said.

Can’t live my mouth doing morphine. He said, he said it was painful to eat. Uh, he could, you know, he lost so many organs and he said it was just painful. And, um. Uh, but yet he was living without a [00:46:00] pancreas and no insulin. So it was a medical miracle. And um, like I said, it got a lot of, if, if, if you Google his name, it’s just, I can’t, I was a realtor and I try to check up on myself.

Let’s see how this guy’s doing. Is anyone talking about him? And I type, I can’t type in my name because story after story of him. ’cause who am I? I’m a nobody. But story after story of him, because he made this medical history pops up and pictures that I never saw pictures of him in Afghanistan, pictures of him pictures I never saw.

Uh, I saw an interview, him doing an interview, uh, a TV interview with somebody at some local station and I had to turn it off. I just, it just tore me up. I couldn’t, I couldn’t take it. And um, you know, he was ex explaining graphically, you know, about himself and you know, how his lunch was in his hands and things like that.

And, um, you know. Somebody had to put him kind of back together, throw him on a helicopter, [00:47:00] get him to Kabul, and, and then get him, then he went to, uh, I would say this around R Reinstein. Ryan Stein, yeah. . I was, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: never, I’ve never been there, so I don’t know.

Karl Porfirio: to Germany. He went from Afg, Afghanistan to Germany to Walter Reed, and that’s where he stayed most of the last part of his life in Walter Reed.

Scott DeLuzio: And how, how long, how long did he live after the,

Karl Porfirio: like a year and a week, like a year and a week. And, and he, he destroyed Thanksgiving. He, he had his first surgery on Thanksgiving Day. These doctors gave up their Thanksgiving. They came, um, one of the doctors said to me, look, we don’t know if he’s really gonna make it through the surgery. Just want you to know.

And I sat out in the rain. And I thought it was very appropriate ’cause it was raining and you know, with my phone waiting for him to come outta surgery to see, you know, they, that’s when they were doing the, the, the transplant surgery. And um, he, you know, he was a lot worse than I was told. [00:48:00] You know, they, oh, you know, you’re, you know, and I was, I don’t know, I was expecting something like a, a cartoon, you know, I was expecting to see my son sitting up being a smart ass, you know, with a couple bandages around his, him and I had no clue he was as bad as, as he was.

So, um, you know, he was in intensive care and, and, um, I woke him up. I regretted that to this day, um, because he was in so much pain. You know, they had him in the propofol coma, so to speak, and, and I said, um, they said, you know, we’re, we’re just having a hard time waking him up. And I said. You know, he was intubated, you know, and watching her kid with 50 tubes running in and out of him and, and being, you know, intubated and everything, and least hearing the breathing and all the pumps.

And, and I’m a nurse so I was kind of used to that, but not with your own child, . [00:49:00] And then I

Scott DeLuzio: it’s different. Yeah,

Karl Porfirio: and I said to the doc, I go, if I can wake him up, will you, will you take the tube out? And they said, they looked at me all, they said, well, if he can breathe on his own, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll take out the tube if he can breathe on his own.

And, um, I woke him up. He woke up, he responded to my voice, sorry,

Scott DeLuzio: it’s okay.

Karl Porfirio: 13 years and I can’t get through that. Um.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, I, I think, I think it doesn’t matter if it was a hundred years, um, it, it’ll, it’ll still be difficult, um,

Karl Porfirio: I just, I always regretted, I always regretted waking him up because he was in so much pain.

Scott DeLuzio: Mm-Hmm.

Karl Porfirio: And I said, can you put him back? Can he, you know, can you put him back to sleep? And they said, Nope, . And I said, oh. So then he stayed awake and he talked and he was [00:50:00] happy I was there. And he chatted and he says, where am I?

And I told him, and, you know, and all he said was, he said, you know, that bastard shot me And I said, yeah, he did. And I said, um, I said, let’s not talk about him. Let’s talk about you. You know, how you doing? Oh, okay. You know, he, and he had no clue what was wrong with him. He had no clue. So, you know, he was in really bad shape.

Um, he thought, , and this is a funny part, shouldn’t be funny, but, so the next day, you know, we’re intensive care and we. The nurse came in and he, he was cranky with her. , he was real cranky with her. And I said, Tre, stop. I’m cranky with the nurse, you know, and I know you’re in a lot of pain, but he said, you’re hurting me and all this stuff.

And, and the nurse wasn’t liking his attitude. And, and, uh, he said, dad, I want you to give me a bath and or something like that. And I said, [00:51:00] Hmm, why ? He goes, do you do it? And I’m like, oh, gee, thanks. And, uh, you know, so anyway, I, my sister had, she just jumped on a plane and came to support me and, and, and, uh, you know, his, his fiance was there with, you know, with child and, you know, she was pregnant.

And, uh, he said, I said something to him about, um. Dre, if you, if you, because I said he was a smart, I says, you smart off like that to me again, and I’m going to, I’m gonna slam that door with your two something. Uh, and he said, dad, I don’t, I said something to his parts and he said, dad, I don’t have a penis. I said, what? And he goes, I don’t have a penis, . And I said, yes, you do, Tre. And he goes, I’ll bet you [00:52:00] $500. I don’t. And I said, ladies, ladies, leave the room. Please leave the room.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh gosh.

Karl Porfirio: And they all left the room. And I called the nurse and I said, nurse, would you please show my son his penis and tell him he has a penis and. All I could think of. My son, you know, I was a nurse, but he wasn’t medical. All I could think of is my son heard son, he heard, sir, you don’t have a pancreas. That’s what he heard. You

Scott DeLuzio: Oh my gosh.

Karl Porfirio: And he heard he didn’t have a pancreas and he heard penis and he thought he didn’t have a penis anymore.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh wow.

Karl Porfirio: And of course he’s, you know, under all this morphine and the, the everything. And so, yeah. So, um, yeah, I laid, I later told that story under my tears at a, a banquet later after he had passed. I was invited to, um, it’s a banquet from, I don’t know for familiar with the Maupin story, the Matt [00:53:00] Maupin story. He was, hi, his unit was taken hostage in Iraq and um, in what year?

Oh six or, anyway, um, and his son never came back. Keith Maupin, he’s been on the news a lot. He, he started the yellow ribbon. . So he, have you seen my son? So he was sending the packages. Have you seen my son, him and his wife? Have you seen my son? Have you seen my son? Well, it turned out they had killed him and it took, he had to fight Congress to get the remains sent back.

So every year there’s a banquet in Ohio, it’s called the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship Fund. And we go and, and, and they raise money. And then I give a scholarship away in my son’s name at his high school. So, which was a really nice thing that he started. And, um, but like I said, it’s, I, I, so I was asked, I called and I, they said, would you like to come to this banquet?

And I said, well, okay. And they said, we’ll, we’ll fly you here and, and [00:54:00] Paul put you up in a room. And I said, oh, okay. I was a little, you know. My son had just passed. I was still in shock. I, but somebody had told these people that she lived, she was from Ohio, she was from that area and, and she’s also a veteran, and her husband’s also was a friend of my son’s in the Air Force.

So show up to this place and then she said, oh, would you like to say a few words? And I’m like, okay. So , I show up to this place, I’m thinking, I’m thinking, oh, this is gonna be a church basement. You know, 50 people.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Karl Porfirio: I show up to this banquet, there’s 800 people. I’m on a stage with spotlights and there’s senators there, and people from the Cincinnati Bengals are there.

And I’m like, oh. So I told the story that I just told your audience about. I didn’t know what to say. And so I, I, I was trying not to cry. So I told the story, and, and the doctor, the doctor actually had come and sponsored the, [00:55:00] that was, that developed the thing. And he was like shaking and said, you’re, you’re telling it all wrong.

You’re telling it all wrong about the transplant. But he was like, you know, yes and no. And I could see

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, right.

Karl Porfirio: about the transplant surgery, but it,

Scott DeLuzio: You got the gist. Anyways, for the, as

Karl Porfirio: then I went to the bathroom and yeah, then I went to the bathroom and cried. So, um, you know, ’cause I, I had a hard time, I don’t know about your parents, but I couldn’t even say his name.

I literally, it took me five years to be able to speak his name without crying. And I go, God, what the hell is wrong with me? I just, I, I couldn’t even speak his name and, and I’m sorry I lost it there. I just, I, I’m, so, I’m still so upset with myself with that guilt of waking him up. And every time I, I think about I, I, I, I just, I hated that I woke him up and I just.

Regretted it, but I was scared that if he didn’t wake up, that I would never see him again. That, that was the end. I, I, you know, I,

Scott DeLuzio: Well, you know what though? [00:56:00] He, you said this, um, that, you know, he, he was talking with you. He was, he was happy to see you. Um, you know, that, that type of thing, um, you know. You gave, gave them that. Right. Um, that was, you know, if I’m thinking of, you know, how, how would I want to, to go out? I, I don’t want to be going out in a drug induced coma.

Uh, you know, I, I, I want to have the, my, my loved ones around me and, and be able to, uh, you know, see them talk to them, and, you know, right up to, to the end, that’s me. You know, I don’t know. Everybody’s gonna be different, you know, but, um, and even, even how, how you handle, uh, the, the loss, the grief, um, I think that’s, that’s important for folks to remember too, is there’s no right way to handle it.

I mean, there, um, everyone’s gonna handle it differently. Um, you know, there’s certainly wrong things. You don’t wanna, you know, seep into a depression where you’re drinking and doing drugs and doing all these

Karl Porfirio: I, I planned [00:57:00] on that. I, I, I did, I planned on that. I said, I am going to sit like, well, the kids are in school. I’m gonna sit at the bar, cry in my beer, and I’m gonna get drunk. And the the weird part is, I, it’s like after my son died, I just lost my desire. I, I, I wasn’t much of a drinker anyway, but I lost my desire for alcohol.

I just, like, I just did not even want, I did not even want to, and I didn’t want to go on antidepressants. I didn’t wanna, I should have, I’m sure I would’ve been much easier to get along with, um, . So I didn’t even wanna sleep in my bed. I slept in, I, I, I honestly had, I, I sat there and I watched Reruns of everybody.

Everybody loves Raymond I, I had to watch, the only thing that got me through the biggest part of my depression was watching sitcoms. I, I love sitcoms. I love to laugh. I, I used to be cut up guy. The life of the party. I’m always, I, I, I’m always [00:58:00] got come back with the smart ass jokes. Um, I mean, that’s just me.

I’m the, I’m the, that’s what she said, guy. You know, I’m the, I’m the guy, you know, and, and my kids raising all boys, it’s pretty bad because, you know, we just get pretty bad sometimes and it’s like, okay, kids, we’re gonna be around the ladies. We gotta, you know, curb it, curb it a little bit, and my sisters roll their eyes, you know, and all that stuff, you know, it’s like, so yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: I.

Karl Porfirio: You know, I wanna be that guy again. I, so, you know, my, my one sister that’s under me, you know, we’re close and, you know, she’s in Tennessee and she’s a nurse and, and she’s always like, oh, please come. Please come to my party. Please, please, p please, you’re the life of the party. Everyone gets boring and you always, you know, I’m just a smart ass and I just, you know, say stuff that other people won’t say and it’s, it’s not like dirty stuff or bad stuff.

I just, you know, it’s like, you know,

Scott DeLuzio: It, it’s, it’s keeping life fun, right? It, it’s, it’s [00:59:00] just having, uh, enjoying the, the, the conversation, you know, make, making, uh, you know, little jokes, um, sometimes catches people off guard, which is, I think, part of being funny. If, if it was, uh, predictable and you knew it was coming, it wouldn’t be all that funny, you know?

But you, you gotta be a little spontaneous with it, right?

Karl Porfirio: my baby sister. My baby sister is a handful. She’s, she’s just, she’s, and, you know, I think she’s spoiled and she thinks she’s, you know, abused and, uh, you know, the abused child. And we all think she’s a spoiled child. And so, so it’s just, so we, I, I go to visit her one day again, she’s, we’re all in Tennessee.

And I go to visit her and she holds up this big b that’s about her, her, her last name starts with a B, and she’s got this big B and she holds it up and, and she wanted to hang it over her fireplace. And she goes, . And her husband was sitting there and her husband, he’s scared of her. He is just like, anything, don’t say anything.

And [01:00:00] um, you know, she’s my baby sister. I don’t give a crap. It’s like, you’re my baby sister. I’m the big brother. Shut up. So she goes, what do you think of my Big B? And I said, well, if it stands for bitch, it’s very appropriate. And and her husband just almost fell out of the chair. He was just dying, and she just got this. Look on her face. Guess what? The bee came down, she took it down And it’s there no more So I mean, that’s, that’s just kind of my witty sense of humor. I’ll say things. And my, then my other sisters are older. They’re like, you know,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Right.

Karl Porfirio: they’re, oh, God always doesn’t start on me, you know, and it’s like, and you know, they’ll start on me and they, they know better ’cause I’ll get ’em back really good.

And, you know, ’cause I’m the only brother of four sisters and it’s just, it’s hell. It’s hell, you know? I, you know, and, and I feel bad for you, Scott. You know, you lost your brother and I mean, that’s, I know that’s hard. I know that’s, I mean, you know, I always wish I had a brother. I have a half brother, but we weren’t raised [01:01:00] together.

You know, he’s the second family. I, I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that. So, you know, and then, you know, my dad remarried a woman and he went back to Italy. I kind of, I had him deported. I tell everyone I had him deported. I said, dad, just back to Italy, you’re not. American, you know, speaks perfect English.

I, I, I speak spaghetti. Do you speak Italian?

Scott DeLuzio: No. No.

Karl Porfirio: know, I speak shitty Italian and, and uh, you know, he never spoke Italian. ’cause my mom was German, so he always spoke English and, and you know, I always regretted ’cause I, I didn’t meet my grandparents till I was 19.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, wow.

Karl Porfirio: And I mean, I instantly fell in love with my grandmother and my grandfather and I had never met him.

And I only saw them two months of my whole life before they passed away. So, you know, he is from a little village. And, uh, I said Dad, you know, his, his father had passed, his mother had a stroke. I said, dad, go be with your mother. He said something about moving with me. I said, you wouldn’t be happy in Tennessee?

’cause he lived in [01:02:00] Chicago. No, no, no. I said, you’ll never be happy in Tennessee. You won’t be happy here. Uh, you know, and, um, he was very social and. I said, just go back to Italy. Go back and be with your mother. Spend your spend. Her last days with her. So he did. And then he met a woman from Albania, Albania, Albania, all the women.

And he had Albania. So she’s a nice lady. She took very good care of him up until the day he died. She did take very good care of him. She’s a wonderful person. And, um, you know, but we’re different. Very different. Albanian and American.

Scott DeLuzio: sure.

Karl Porfirio: Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, before we, we wrap up this show, I, I got a couple things here, uh, that I wanna, I wanna put out there. Um, first, uh, towards the end of the show, I like to add a little bit of humor. I know we, we kind of had a little, little bit of laugh, uh, just a minute ago. Um, but sometimes the topics that we talked about, that kind of heavy, dark, you know, kind of topics and, you [01:03:00] know, having a little humor at the end of the episode, I, I kind of equate it to having dessert at the end of a meal.

Kind of puts a good taste in your mouth and, you know, makes you, makes you a little bit happy Sometimes that might be the only smile someone gets on their face all day, so what the hell? Uh, I’m willing to make a fool outta myself with a corny joke if, if it’ll put a smile on somebody’s face. So, um, if you, if you don’t mind humoring me just for, for a second, for just

Karl Porfirio: No, I love humor. I’m all about humor,

Scott DeLuzio: I know, I kind of figured you wouldn’t mind.


Karl Porfirio: no, I don’t mind. I don’t

Scott DeLuzio: though this is kind of, kind of corny, um, so.

Karl Porfirio: it doesn’t have, I don’t care. I’m not offended.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. So I told my boss that there were three companies that were after me and I, I needed a raise to stay at my job. And so we haggled for a few minutes and he gave me a 5% raise. And as I was leaving his office, he stopped and he asked me, by the way, which companies were, were after you. And I said, the gas, electric, and cable companies.

Karl Porfirio: Yeah, and I think you need more than 5%[01:04:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. At this point, yeah. We need a little bit more than that. That was, that was maybe, uh, underestimating how much, how much you might need. But, um, Karl, before we wrap this up, um, uh, it has been a pleasure speaking with you, learn about, uh, you and your family and, uh, everything that, that you went through and also, uh, learning about the book, uh, that you wrote.

Um, you know, again, the book is, my Daddy’s Heart is Purple. Um, for the,

Karl Porfirio: showed

Scott DeLuzio: uh, the, oh, the photo of your son? No. Um, yeah. So, uh, that’s your son there. And,

Karl Porfirio: That was right before, see, that’s when we lived in Florida, the tan. He came down and got a tan. That was it. That was right before he deployed to Afghanistan.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you look, you kinda looked like a beach bum in the, the picture there.

Karl Porfirio: He was right before we deployed and he, yeah, he loved, he loved the beach life. He love the ocean. But go ahead. I’m sorry.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, no, no, that’s fine. Um, uh, where can people go to get a copy of your book?

Karl Porfirio: Um, you know, anywhere it, it’s, you know, it’s mostly online. You have to order it, you know, it’s print [01:05:00] on demand. And, uh, here, here it’s again, if people want to see the cover of it or whatever, if they can see this. Um, and so mostly Amazon, um,

Scott DeLuzio: sure.

Karl Porfirio: and I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s on a Barnes and Noble has it, and I actually, I think you can go on eBay and type it into eBay and

Scott DeLuzio: Probably could find it there too. Yeah, I, I, I found that too with, with my book after, after a little while after it’s been out, people sell it on, you know, secondhand market, you know, things like that. So, um, so yeah, you can find it probably just about anywhere, but I’ll, I’ll, I’ll put a link, uh, to the book in the show notes for the listeners so you can grab a copy of the book.

Um, and, uh, uh, again, Karl, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you. And I, I appreciate you taking the time to, to come on and share your story.

Karl Porfirio: Well, I appreciate you having Scott. I mean, and I appreciate your service very much, you know, to you and your sacrifice and, and your parents. And, um, please tell your [01:06:00] parents, my heart goes out to them. I know what they’re going through and I hope people understand it, whether it’s 13 days, 13 years. You know, my son ruined Thanksgiving and Christmas for me.

I mean, he, you know, I go Really, Tre really, you know, uh, I haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving. ’cause he passed on that week and, and you know, the, the year before he was having surgery on Thanksgiving Day at Walter Reed, and then the year later he passed away at Thanksgiving weekend. And I said, really, Tre?

And then. I’m shopping for funeral clothes for my kids and the Christmas music is playing. ’cause I, I buried him the first week of summer. So I said, so now you ruined Christmas and, and, and Thanksgiving. Thank you very much. And you know, so know I kind of, I’ll look at his pictures like, yeah, it’s another Thanksgiving, but I did cook a Turkey.

Um, I have a couple foster kids and, and my son lives here. His young youngest brother. So I actually cooked a Turkey this year. I actually sucked it up and cooked a Turkey and made a nice dinner. And, uh, [01:07:00] I just don’t wanna be around people. I, you know, so

Scott DeLuzio: Well, and I think that’s a, that’s kind of an important, uh, thing to realize too, is everybody’s gonna handle the, the grief differently, and especially different times of years, different holiday, uh, you know, there might be birthdays or, or holidays like Thanksgiving

Karl Porfirio: holidays are,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah,

Karl Porfirio: and, and I wanna thank all, I wanna thank all your viewers, all the veterans and veteran supporters, and thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. Um, you know.

Scott DeLuzio: sure.

Karl Porfirio: Never stop being proud. And, and, you know, and the thing, like I would say to your parents, the same I say to every other parent in my book, I say, don’t let people tell you how to feel.

Nothing is worse than that. Everyone says, I know how you feel. And if one more person tells me they know how they feel because their dog died, I, I’m, I’m gonna lose. Well, he was like a family member to me. And I don’t know, I know you loved your dog, but it, please, please don’t equate your dog to the passing of my child.

Please don’t do that. And, and, or your [01:08:00] cat or your hamster or whatever. And, uh, that’s it. I do you have time for one little funny story.

Scott DeLuzio: I, we, we can do, we can do another one. Sure.

Karl Porfirio: Well, I know you said not to get political, but.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s okay.

Karl Porfirio: My son was not a big fan of Barack Obama, and he was in during Barack Obama’s time. So, you know, everyone in the mil, you know, all the military people kept saying, what, you know, what can we do for your son? I said, well, tell the president to come over here and give my son his purple heart.

You know, that’s what the p they go over. I, I said, I want someone, I want the president to come over. And Well, he never did. He never did. And, and so my son, you know, we weren’t, we weren’t big fans and, um, he, he would go down. He couldn’t eat much, and now he could walk. He could walk and he could talk again.

After all the rasp units went away and he would go down to the cafeteria and he lived on milkshakes and he would get a milkshake. So he was going down, he said he went down, he was, I forgot, ninth floor, whatever. He was at Walter Reed. He was, and, and he said the elevator stopped [01:09:00] halfway down and he said, the door’s open.

He said, there stood Barack Obama I said, oh, well son, what’d you do? Did you get out and shake his hand? He said, no, I let the doors close. And . I know, I, I said, and I’m sorry, I’m sorry. But

Scott DeLuzio: okay. That’s

Karl Porfirio: when he said that, I just, it’s just one moment I always remember, and I’ll never forget him, and the wait, I let the doors closed and I’m like, you know, I’m like, I don’t care if you voted for him, but I don’t care. He’s the president. You should have get out and shook his hand and or something.

And, and we did meet Joe Biden later that we did meet him. And so anyway, um, but, and he, he squeezed my knee. He did touch me. He, he, we were sitting knee to knee and he, he bent over and he squeezed my thigh. Actually, I said, I’m glad I wasn’t very elongated there because, you know, he might’ve grabbed

Scott DeLuzio: Oh my

Karl Porfirio: anyway, um, he, you know, so and I really kind of [01:10:00] defended him ’cause I said he’s just, he talks with his hands like me. And he is, he’s very animated and he is a touchy feely guy. And, uh, a lot of people complain about that. And I, I actually. Sort of depended at the beginning. I said, no, he doesn’t mean anything by it.

But then, you know, after time went on, I really couldn’t defend the hair sniffing any anymore or anything. So, but he did, he, he bent over and he grabbed my thigh and he said, if you need anything, you just call me. And that’s no bullshit. And I said, he flipped over a card and he, he wrote, I got the card.

He wrote Joe Biden, he wrote the phone number and, and, um, Jill was walking around and he didn’t know his phone number. , imagine that he didn’t , he said, and he, he said, honey, honey, she was walking and he snapped his fingers and she’d already come by and took a picture with Tre and she was walking. He said, honey, honey, uh, what’s my phone number over there?

I remember he was just vice president then. So, you know.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure.

Karl Porfirio: She said, I don’t know. And I was like, damn, [01:11:00] Like, I was like, I, I, you know, me being a smart, I wanna say, uh, lady, he’s the vice president. You don’t talk to him that way. And, uh, but anyway, um, you know, and I did show Greg, I sure respected him and you know, as he approached and I stood up, he goes, you don’t have to stand.

I said, yes, I do. You’re the vice president. And yes, I do. But so he called over his assistant that was standing in the background doing all the photos, and he stayed out of the way and he, he, he snapped and he came over. He said, what’s my phone number over there, ? And he, he jotted off the phone number. So anyway,

Scott DeLuzio: That’s funny. Oh my

Karl Porfirio: but nobody, me, I’ll, you know, I’ll say, Joe Biden touched me and they go, shut the fucking, you’re stupid. They don’t believe me. They honest to God and my hand to God. If Joe Biden didn’t squeeze me on the thigh, I will rot in hell. And it’s true. And I’ll say something, they go, okay, this guy’s, this guy’s flaky. He’s lost it. He, you know, I go, yes, I did meet Joe. I [01:12:00] did,

Scott DeLuzio: That’s funny. That’s funny. Well, thank you again for, for not only coming on the show, but thank you for sharing, uh, all these stories. I, I, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard on, on an episode with a topic, uh, you know, as, as, uh, serious as this. So I, I appreciate the, the humor and the levity that, that kind of comes along with it.

So, so thank you so much.

Karl Porfirio: Well, I appreciate you and, um, like I said, all I ask, I, if nobody wants the book, just get it and donate it to your children’s school. We, we, we, we can’t let these children forget about our veterans. We can’t let these children forget about the people who serve and sacrifice like you, Scott, and, and, and your children can’t ever, you know, you know, your children know through you, but are they gonna know through Other people are, are their friends?

You know, and, and, and we, we’ve got to let people know, and it’s just you and I and everybody on here is just one way to do that.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right.

Karl Porfirio: Keep keep the pride. Thank you. Thank [01:13:00] you for this opportunity. I appreciate it.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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