May5, 2103-

– Happy Military Appreciation month!
Today I am going to recognize my brother in law Capt. Tim Johnson. TIm joined the National Guard when he was in college. He was already married to my sister, so unlike me, she became a military wife after they married. Tim started his career as an enlisted soldier and then earned his commission upon completion of his degree- which is a story of its own. Tim is that guy you want on your side- brilliant in that quiet pragmatic & confident way- he is our family’s true Mcgyver. He helped my son with a project for school in 6th grade- they made a Trebuchets – you know that throwing arm thing used by medeval armies. He made Ian figure out the math for the angle, etc. It could launch marshmallows 10 feet. (If left to me, Ian would have had a solar system made of cookies because that is what I could’ve managed!) Potato guns and homemade computers- that is the fun one can expect with Uncle Tim. Tim left his 2 year old son and pregnant wife to serve a tour in Iraq- coming home on leave for the birth of his twins. His decorated tour included being recognized for a business plan to reopen a factory and put Iraqis back to work – ultimately making the streets safer for our troops. He recently returned from a 10 month tour in Afghanistan with the Polish troops where de won the Bronze star for the work he did while deployed. Tim is a hero in every sense of the word. Committed to God, Family and Country – his every choice has demonstrated his devotion. He is a natural servant leader making everyone around him a better person for knowing him. He finds the solution- whether it is a straight path or the work around- to best serve his troops and his mission. I am immensely proud of TIm and honored to have him in my family. Tim is the type of hero the world needs. I am grateful we have him in our family. Tim is active duty National Guard and is a liaison between the regular Army and the guard.

May 6, 2013

Happy Military Appreciation Month! I am recognizing someone related to the military every day in the month of May. Today I am honoring Guy Ando. Guy served with my husband on the USS Kidd.They became best friends. They made it through the long days of deployment playing cribbage. Both from Massachusetts, they shared a love for the Patriots and working on cars. Guy is that guy- funny, smart and loyal to the core. He is part of our family. He lived with us for a couple years, becoming a big brother to our children. He left the Navy and began work as an electrician. Escaping a fateful Hurricane, Guy returned to Andover for the weekend and the rest is history. Guy married Kristen Ando and moved back to Mass. He opened his own successful business. After his children were born, he went to college and is now a teacher. Guy is everything you want in a man- hard working, loving, and committed to what he believes in. He will protect what he loves without hesitation. There is no more loyal friend. Guy served his country and then returned home to continue to serve his country building the minds of the next generation. I appreciate having Guy in my life everyday. I thank you for your service.

May 7, 2013- Happy Military Appreciation Month. I am celebrating by honoring someone in my life who has served the military every day in the month of May.
Today, I am honoring my friend Dick Hattan. Dick served in the US Army in 1969.
He was drafted and sent to Vietnam. He grew up a lot while 9,000 miles away from his family and friends. Dick did a lot of thinking while looking at rice paddies and ultimately came home to pursue a career in healthcare administration. For the next 35 years, Dick worked as a healthcare executive. We met while attending a community based leadership program. My challenge day was on raising awareness around Veterans- who they are, the roles they serve in the community, and the resources available. Recognizing Dick for his service was part of my day. Afterwards, I approached Dick about facilitating a writers group for Veterans with me. Veterans Voices was born. For the past 18 months, Dick and I have facilitated a group of veterans from various branches and eras through the art of storytelling. It has been an incredible journey. Along the way, my friendship and appreciation for him has grown. Last fall, I was fortunate enough to attend a art show that featured some of Dick’s poetry. On May 20th of 2013, I will be privileged to witness Dick receive his Doctorate of Divinity, fulfilling his life long ambition of becoming a religious layperson. It has been an honor to work with Dick. Like many who serve during a time of conflict, he carries both pride and struggle around his service to his country. Through his faith and his writing, he has found both peace and purpose. With his new degree, Dick intends to work with veterans as a Chaplin. Blessed are those who hear the call to serve.

May 8, 2013- Happy military Appreciation month! I am honoring a veteran in my life every day in the month of May. Today, I was to honor Robert ””Bob” Gibson. Bob served in the U.S. Navy serving both in WWII and Korea. He was decorated combat vet earning numerous awards including, the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the WWII victory medal. When he returned from WWII, he married his beautiful, young bride Dorothy only to be deployed again for Korea. “Her daddy was fit to be tied” he told me with his trademark grin. Never afraid of hard work, Bob walked 4 miles everyday from his home to the VFW to help set the hall up. He was recognized by his post for his life long service. He carried colors every year in the parades in and around Woodstock. It was really hard to complain about the long, hot walk when I would look up to see his 85+ year old smiling face waiting for us to catch up. Bob was one of the happiest men I know; quick with a smile or a pat on the back. He lived by a simple motto- do something useful everyday.
For Bob, his visits to Guantanamo base were filled with beautiful girls and dancing at the Red barn. For Jack, it was chained linked fence and bleachers by a stop light- – it is unrecognizable today.
When my daughter joined the Navy, Bob introduced her to every member present at his VFW- he was so proud of her. My children adored Bob- he was bigger then life in his quiet way. Sadly, Bob passed away on March 9th, 2013 surrounded by loved ones. He was 93 years young. I will never forget his beaming smile and the joy that filled my heart when he would give me a big hug. The world lost a hero that day. We were fortunate to know Bob Gibson and he will live forever in our hearts.