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Miracle on the Base

The boiler malfunction was his problem, and he hadn’t called anyone for assistance. So who was this young man who showed up to help?

By Thomas Waller, Columbus, Mississippi

As appeared in

Yes, I thought. A miracle! That’s what I needed. That was my only hope.

I knelt down, head cradled in my hands. “Dear God. I don’t know what to do. I need help. Give me the words to say to my boss. Help him understand.”

There was a knock on the door. Who could this be? I knew the building was empty. “Who is it?” I said, getting to my feet. T he door opened and in walked a young airman carrying a technician’s tool bag, spotless, as if it was being used for the first time.

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He wore an olive-green uniform, perfectly pressed, open at the collar, cap in hand. His boots, I couldn’t help but notice, were shined to a mirror finish. I looked for his name tag, but he didn’t have one.

“Mr. Waller, I’m here to get this boiler going,” he said. “You can go back to your office and look after the rest of the building. I’ve got this covered.” His voice was strong, so confident that I didn’t think to question him. I felt immediately at ease.

“That’s great. I really appreciate you coming out.” He nodded and began adjusting the knobs on the boiler. I went back to my office and watched the monitor in amazement. The boiler came on and stayed on. Slowly the temperature and the humidity levels began to rise.

How had he fixed it so easily? I had to know the answer.

I went back to the boiler room. The airman was standing in the corner. “It just needed some adjusting but it’s running fine now,” he said. “The run-through with the flight simulators in the morning should be good to go.”

“I can’t thank you enough,” I said. He was halfway through the doorway when it hit me. “I didn’t catch your name.” H e looked at me over his shoulder and said, “John.” I watched him walk down the hallway and out the door.

Except for the hum of the boiler the building was silent again. Quiet enough for me to hear John start the engine to his service vehicle. But I heard nothing. Had he walked? It was a good half-mile to the Heat Shop, the department that oversaw all the heating systems for the entire base.

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I remembered the spotless bag he had carried. Could this really have been his first day? Pretty impressive. I’d definitely make sure to tell his boss.

Later that morning, when the operator came in to take the next shift, I drove over to the Heat Shop. The supervisor was just sitting down with a cup of coffee.

“That new airman, John, the one who got sent over to fix the boiler at the Flight Sim Building last night? He really knows his stuff. I would have never got it going without...”

The supervisor looked puzzled. “We don’t have an airman in the Heat Shop named John. And I know there were no service calls last night.” He paused. “Tom, are you feeling all right? You are turning white as a sheet. You better go home and get some rest.”

I said good-bye and stumbled out to my car in a daze. For the longest time I just sat there in the driver’s seat, questions flooding my mind. Who was this John? I hadn’t imagined him. I knew that without a doubt.

But how had he known my name? Or that I had an office. About the critical performance tests for the flight simulators on Monday morning. The boiler. Yes, the boiler. He’d sure saved my bacon. As if he was responding directly to a call for help. But I hadn’t...

Then I remembered: my prayer for a miracle. God had sent me the ultimate repairman, always nearby, ready with the answer, an angel, on call 24/7.


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