Biloxi wildlife that depended on him for food revealed a soft side of retired Air Force Col. Norman Kriehn, whose regular gym workouts at age 89 made him an inspiration to all ages.
Any time a bird got hurt, he tried to rescue it. When one of the backyard birds that occasionally flew into Kriehn's large windows ended up with a broken beak and could not feed itself normally, he hand fed it, recalled his son, Tim Kriehn of Jacksonville, Fla.
"Dad started feeding it very small pieces of bread that the bird could pick up," he said. "Eventually, the bird started following Dad around outside waiting for meals. This went on for months until the bird disappeared."
And then there were the Gulf Coast box turtles he fed, which routinely showed up on the back porch, waiting for a meal.
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"If the curtains were closed, or if Dad did not see them," said Kriehn, "they would tap their noses on the sliding glass doors until they got his attention. I would not have believed this, but I saw it happen many times."
Sadly, because the area was under several feet of water for several hours, he said, the turtles were washed away. Only one appeared to survive, a small one who showed up the Thursday after the storm and was so scared it refused to eat.