Soldier Report: May is National Military Appreciation month
Editor’s note: The Star Journal will be publishing periodic articles from Sergeant Rick Peterson of Rhinelander during his deployment to Afghanistan.
May is National Military Appreciation Month and I would like to step outside of my role as a correspondent for the deployment that I am currently engaged in to address the community on behalf of veterans, active duty military personnel, reservists, guard members, and those that make it their job to support all of these personnel.
Oneida County has a strong presence of persons who support the military and its’ veterans. The County Veterans Service Officer, Tammy Walters, is a fierce advocate for veterans and service-members of all military branches. On Memorial Day, you will find her at any number of ceremonies throughout the county, and if she is not in attendance, you can be sure she had some hand in organizing or assisting with the event.
The Amvets are strong supporters of the local National Guard unit and local veterans. In the more than seven years that I have been associated with the 951st Engineer Company, the Amvets have been a constant presence, always willing to offer assistance. The local Amvets chapter hosts an ice-fishing tournament each year on Lake Nokomis, raising funds to help their cause, supporting military veterans and personnel. Local chapters of the VFW and American Legion are also great resources for veterans and those currently serving. In addition, the Wounded Warrior Project has representatives in our area. Connect with one of these, or other, organizations and seek opportunities to volunteer and/or contribute.
I encourage each of you to take a moment and think about what you can do this month to show appreciation for veterans and those currently serving. The current issue of the Army Times suggests that we each start with people we know. Family members or friends who have served or are serving can be honored with an event to celebrate their service. For those that are willing to share their experience in the military, giving them an opportunity to share their stories is an honor itself.
Schedule time this month to honor those that serve and those that are service veterans. On May 17, Armory Drive in Rhinelander will be renamed in honor of SGT Ryan Adams who was killed in action in October 2009, in Afghanistan. It would be a high honor and worthy of his sacrifice to have the citizens of Rhinelander and Oneida County attend this momentous event en masse.
On Memorial Day, take time to recall the purpose of the holiday. Remember those that have served, and particularly those that have given their lives as the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. I encourage you to attend one of the area ceremony that will be conducted on Memorial Day.
Perhaps you are unable to attend a ceremony. One simple act of kindness or the offer of assistance to a veteran or service-member can mean a great deal. Spend time with a veteran. Offer to help out with a task or simply find something that can be done to support a veteran. Raking in the fall, home repair, lawn mowing, or perhaps a ride to the grocery store or their next medical appointment are all potential ways of showing your appreciation.
Rare among us is the soldier who seeks recognition for his or her choice to serve. I know of no military member that is worth his or her salt that enlisted for personal recognition. The days and hours are long and the costs can often outweigh the benefits. They have served because they felt it was their duty. It is their job. During this National Military Appreciation Month, please make it your job to take the time to show your appreciation for the selfless service that military veterans and service-members have offered their Country.