Soul Growth is the Purpose of Life

Janet's Story

 

Janet Vaughn became a runner and weight lifter at age 12 as a means of finding her power.   She ran on the Boys' track team in High School and went to the University of Oklahoma on a scholarship as a distance runner.  She won the state of Oklahoma Weight Lifting Championship in the 114 pound category 3 years in a row -- having to compete in the Mens category since there was no such event for women in the 1970s! She also won the Oklahoma Body Building Championships 3 times and competed in the first Miss Olympia competition in 1979.

Janet, while an American Airlines flight attendant, lost her youngest son, Army Private First Class Anthony Landers, age 19, in 2003.  She turned her tragedy into a healing mission for herself and then thousands of other Americians by founding Adopt-A-Soldier Now.  Its mission was to support U.S. troops when deployed in the Iraq & Afghanistan wars and do wounded warrior house building projects once returned home.  

 

She learned from Anthony that 38% of enlisted soldiers had no family, either being orphans or from Foster homes.  And getting a letter at mail call when deployed was the highlight of their day.

Janet was awarded in 2005 the Army's Molly Pitcher Medal for her already remarkable accomplishments in support of American troops. 

Also in 2005, one of Janet's adopted soldiers, Kyle Burleson, 21, returned home from Iraq a quadriplegic. He would be on a ventilator for life and he, his wife (20) and their two small children had nowhere to go to adequately meet his needs.

 

So Janet wanted to find a way to get him a house built with the help of other AA flight attendants.  She and a friend borrowed a video camera to shoot footage of Kyle and his family at the Dallas Veterans' Administration Hospital.

Their next project came in a call from Major General David Ralston of Fort Sill to get a house built in Lawton, Oklahoma for retired sergeant Gene Westbrook and his family.  Gene returned from Iraq a triplegic in 2003.

 

Then in 2005 an automobile accident left his 9-year-old son, James, a paraplegic.  Now with father and son in wheelchairs they needed a new home for their new needs.  With cameras in hand Janet and Jimmy went to Lawton to tell their story and get that house built.

 

Thanks to the Fort Sill soldiers and the people of Lawton, the Westbrooks got their new home.

Through two mutual friends away, Jimmy blindly volunteered to produce a film for Adopt-A-Soldier Now to help get that house built.  After he finished the film and met Janet, he knew within an hour of talking with her that this was the girl of his dreams, the one he had waited for his whole life.  She was 51 and he was 54. They were inseparable from that moment on. Combining their talents, they have been a magical force ever since then.

 

Janet, Jimmy, her friends and building volunteers got that house built using the DVD he produced. NBC Nightly News closed their national broadcast on 11/14/2006 with the Kyle Burleson house-building story.

ABC's Extreme Makeover - Home Edition picked up Janet & Jimmy's film of the Gene Westbrook family tragedy and built the Westbrooks a state-of-the-art, handicap-accessible house.

Janet and Jimmy were given the "Key to the City"  of Lawton for their work in bringing Extreme Makeover to Lawton, OK.

By pure conincidence (or was it?) Janet and Jimmy were married that afternoon at Old Post Chapel on Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which was exactly two years later to the day from their magic meeting.

The Gene Westbrook Family story aired nationally on ABCs' Extreme Makeover - Home Edition April 22, 2007. 

On November 7, 2015 Anthony Landers, Janet's son, was inducted to

Veterans Memorial Park Wall in McKinney, Texas for giving his life in service to our country.

Jimmy has been a Texas real estate broker/investor since 1980 and Janet got her Oklahoma real estate license and started buying and selling real estate in 1975, while still in college.   Now  they have combined their talents in Dallas, as you can see their work in 2016 alone in the video below.

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