Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Coping with the Unexpected


Veteran retiree appreciates the living benefits of life insurance.

Hurlburt was just 21 years old when he came face to face with his own
mortality. It was 1967, and he’d been drafted. As a member of the U.S.
Naval Reserve, Preston was sent to work aboard the USS Forrestal
aircraft carrier, to support combat missions in North Vietnam.

On the
morning of July 29, the planes were lined up on deck, with pilots
strapped in and preparing to launch. Suddenly an electrical malfunction
caused one plane’s rocket to discharge. In its Aug. 11, 1967, cover
story, LIFE magazine called the resulting series of explosions and fire
an inferno at sea.

“The explosion blew down through 11 decks, and the
ship started taking on water,” remembers Preston, his voice cracking.
He was responsible for destroying radar equipment before the ship sank,
to prevent the technology from landing in enemy hands. Though the USS
Forrestal did not sink and was later repaired, the fire claimed 134

A new challenge
Fast forward 45 years and Preston now faces
a new challenge. He recently retired from a 30-year career at an
industrial construction company, but he isn’t living the carefree life
of a new retiree. “I wanted to wait until I was 66 to retire, to draw
full Social Security,” says Preston. “But about eight months ago, I was
diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.”

During an annual life insurance
review with his Modern Woodmen representative, Wayne Averett, Tupelo,
Miss., Preston discovered his life insurance certificate contained a
waiver of monthly deductions rider. The rider provides for premium
payments in the event of disability.

“I’d forgotten about the rider,”
says Preston, “but Wayne took care of getting the benefit for me. I get
to keep my certificate for the next five years without paying on it. I
appreciate what Wayne did for me. He really cares for people.”

As for
the Parkinson’s diagnosis, Preston isn’t letting it get the best of
him. “I used to work for a living,” he says, “and now I exercise for a
living. I’m keeping my body fit, and I’m not giving up.” by Leah

Founded in 1883 as a fraternal benefit society, Modern Woodmen of America offers financial services and fraternal member benefits to individuals and families throughout the United States. If you have any questions contact your local Modern Woodmen representative Ruth Ahnen in Bennendorf Iowa at 563-508-0842 or visit Ruth.Ahnen@mwarep.org.