Gold Star Mothers and Hugs from Home

John KennyI was recently asked by a World War II veteran to participate at an event at my local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post in Redmond, WA. To be perfectly honest I usually shy away from this type of thing because the said WWII Vet, John Kenny, seen right, usually makes a big deal in front of everyone that I’m an Iraq vet. Like most veterans, I want the veteran’s cause to get attention but don’t really want any myself. However, when a member of the Greatest Generation asked you to be somewhere, you show up. This is especially true when that person fought with the U.S Army in the island campaigns of World War II and was wounded multiple times.

There were two reasons for my being asked to attend. First, I was to briefly describe to the attendees my good friend Ed Marini is currently deployed with the Marine Special Forces overseas. We were all, in part, gathered to send Ed and his comrades care packages so that they might enjoy some “creature comforts” from home. This allows us folks back home the opportunity to show our appreciation and hopefully lets our troops overseas know that they have not been forgotten.

Unknown-1The second reason for my being invited was to escort a Gold Star Mother to pack box number 17,000 that the Redmond VFW has sent to forward deployed troops. Monica McNeal, pictured left, lost her son Eric in February 2010 when he was killed in combat in Afghanistan. To hear her speak was incredibly moving and brought painful reality and insight to the personal toll that war takes on our families. Everything she said hit home, but I was especially struck by the fact that she said after 6 years she was just now able to say Eric’s name out loud. Lastly, I was extremely impressed how Monica is able to continue to work with and serve veterans, despite the obvious pain it must cause her to do so.

These types of experiences are eye opening to me since I’ve now seen the deployments from both angles, as a serviceman deploying and as a patriot/friend/family member waiting at home. I can tell you firsthand that for the ones that are lucky enough to make it back, the transition out of the military is much harder than anything that he or she had to deal with while serving. This may seem counterintuitive, but regardless of the dire hardships abroad, the deployed soldier/sailor/Marine/airman has a sense of duty and purpose that is nearly impossible to replicate upon re-entry to civilian life. Veteran suicides are still three times the national average, and I would encourage anyone looking to donate time, money or resources to consider the veterans.

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Posted on January 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm
Steve Harwood | Category: Veterans in Real Estate | Tagged , ,

One response to “Gold Star Mothers and Hugs from Home”

  1. Joe DeGennaro says:

    This is a great article Steve. Well done my man! Thanks for your service to our country!

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