So many of us feel such gratitude towards the veterans we meet and read about. The Medal of Honor winner, Kyle Carpenter (no relationship) comes to mind.
There’s so many high level vets, with great stories to be retold for generations to come. But we all have stories of family and friends who served in their own way. Vets who dropped into Normandy. And vets who drove up the beaches after it was secured. Vets who volunteered for missions they can’t talk about, in Vietnam. And vets who were drafted and manned a post for their whole tour. These men, and now women, deserve our honor and respect. Their sacrifices have continued to make America great. Briefly, I want to turn you on to one of the best injured veteran organizations I’ve come across. I’ve had the blessing of attending SHOTshow for the last 3 years, and met with several veteran organizations to fill the gaps and care well for our vets. Two in particular are top notch.
- Wishes for Warriors – 100% of their proceeds go to injured vets. One of the few organizations I’ve actually donated.
- AmericanSnipers.org – These guys support our sniper community, retired, injured, and deployed. They help out with gear and support that help bridge the gap between what the DOD provides, and what they actually need. The only other veteran organizations I’ve donated.
I make every attempt to tell identifiable vets my gratefulness for their service. Living near an Air Force Base, I get that opportunity often. I grew up in Ventura County, watching my parents extend their gratefulness towards the massive amount of US Navy vets in that community.
Today, I want to honor one particular veteran, my cousin Geoff. He joined the USMC not too far from graduating from high school. Then served his first enlistment as an Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAV) driver. Those guys deliver Marines from ship to shore, and beyond. When deployed, they’re often a part of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). I can’t add too much, but Geoff was blessed with the opportunity to stand guard atop the USS Cole after it was attacked by Islamic extremists. After his enlistment, and having spent so much time in the San Diego area, he eventually migrated back to the area, away from Ventura County, where the bulk of our immediate family resides. This was hard for some, as traditions evolve, and families aren’t the best and vocalizing their desires. But I hold his bravery to move away in high regard because it almost gave Deanna and I permission to do the same. We left the VC for northern Santa Barbara County not too long later. He broke the mold that gave us the freedom to do the same.
Not too long after his move, he took advantage of his working community to re-enlist, in the reserve Marine Corps. He not continues to progress and serve in the US Marines. He’s no longer stuck in amphibious buses, but working in a training role that suits his professional career and benefits the USMC quite well.
I’m super proud of his commitments and the following through of service to his fellow man and woman. Today, I hope he understands and feels the tremendous honor and respect I have for him and his fellow service members.
Happy Veteran’s Day!