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Mike Rowe writes to military mom, thanking her dying son for his sacrifices to keep America free

TV personality Mike Rowe , host of "Dirty Jobs", takes part in a roundtable discussion on manufacturing with Republican presidential candidate Mitt RomneySeptember 26, 2012 American Spring Wire in Bedford Heights, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

Television host Mike Rowe regularly takes time to respond to fans who post on his Facebook page. Not every response gets attention, but a recent response to a military mom who wrote Rowe has gone viral.

Diane Dodson recently posted on Rowe's Facebook wall thanking him for a recent package that he sent her son, Justin — "a strong willed, a special forces military" — who is dying from ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Dodson wrote:

Dear Mike: I sit here in tears, because of you.

Our son Justin - a strong willed, a special forces military man who fought in countries where most of us will never go, loves to watch and read about you. "Totally an admirable man." That’s what he always says about you.

Our son is dying from ALS. Later this afternoon, he had a horrible experience causing him great discomfort both physical and emotional. After a little time to calm down, and with the help of his girlfriend, they opened his mail, and found what you sent. It brought tears to his eyes just knowing you took the time out to acknowledge him.

So, from two parents who are watching their son die a slow and horrible death, brought on by defending our freedom in other countries, we send you our deepest gratitude.

Rowe, in response, said that he was very humbled by the fact that Justin thought of a man like him to be "admirable" and that he — and every American — is in Justin's debt for the sacrifices that he made to ensure that America remains free.

The host of former TV show "Dirty Jobs" wrote:

I suspect words like “Merry” and “Happy” are difficult to hear at the moment, so I’ll forego the holiday greetings, and simply say “you’re welcome.”

I was very sad to learn of your son’s illness, and deeply humbled that a man like Justin finds me “admirable.” Please assure him the feeling is mutual.

The truth is, acknowledging Justin’s service is both an honor and a privilege. I know that my freedom and my liberty were bought and paid for by people like your son. I know his freedom is now being removed one day at a time. I know that his liberty is being slowly denied, by an enemy he cannot overcome.

I would like you to know, that your note reminded me of just how tenuous it all is. Our freedom. Our liberty. Our health. It’s all so fragile. And so damn easy to take for granted.

Sooner or later, our bodies will fail us. There are no exceptions. But what Justin did with his body while it was still in his control, has left me forever in his debt, and mindful of what matters most. Because ultimately, there is no greater threat to our freedom, than a lack of gratitude to those who provide it.

In the end, Rowe said that Dodson's note served as a reminder for him to acknowledge soldiers like Justin and to count his "many blessings."

"Actually Diane, it's more than a reminder – it's a gift. A gift from you and your son," he wrote. "A gift for which we, the undersigned, are most grateful."

See Rowe's full post below:

One last thing…
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