Happy Veteran’s Day!

10 Nov

By Pamela White Wolsey, Membership Coordinator

Please join us for light refreshments and conversation as we honor those who have served on Tuesday, November 11 from 11-1:00pm in the Multi Purpose Room.

In addition to our many members who have served, several of our staff have also served in the military. It has been an honor to discuss with each of them their memories (good and bad times) and I am excited to share their stories.

Johnny Michael Little (Mike), Bus Driver, entered the US Army when he was just 19 years old and was commonly referred to as the “old man.” Mike served our country for four years as a Cannonier. During this time he was stationed at Ft. Hood, TX, and he also spent 6 months in Germany on a special weapons training expedition.   Mike says that he learned so much from his time in the service, including attention to detail and discipline, but also adds that because his mother instilled so many values in him as a child, he already felt like a soldier when he entered the military. His toughest challenge was being out in the field for weeks at a time.

053Kitty Schmidt, Aquatics Coordinator, served in the US Navy for 5 years as a nurse and was stationed all over the west coast. Often new soldiers are advised not to volunteer for anything, but Kitty recalls volunteering for everything and loving it.  Kitty says that the best part about her time in the service was that she received the best medical experience of her career. The hardest part about those years was being away from family.

010Lifeguard Eric Vess was in the US Navy for four years. He was one of only 16 to graduate from the BUDs/SEAL class. He served the majority of his time in Little Creek, Virginia with Seal Team IV. Eric refers to his time in the service as, “the best job in the world because I got to jump out of airplanes, scuba dive, work out, and blow stuff up.” Like Kitty, Eric recalls the hardest part being his separation from his wife. To this day, Eric continues to help people prepare for military service.

???????????????????????????????Robert Grant in our Maintenance Department served in the US Air Force as a maintenance technician for 7 years, 2 months and 29 days. He traveled extensively during his time in the service. Stateside, Robert served in Las Vegas and Tampa; while abroad he traveled to Thailand, Japan and Korea. His favorite part about this time of his life was working on different aircraft, especially the F4 Phantom. His least favorite part occurred in Thailand when he was often sent to recover the black boxes from downed aircraft. Robert would have continued in the military, but he was offered a job with Carolina Power & Light where he worked 29 years.

???????????????????????????????Charlton Owens spent 6 years in the Marines and was stationed in Quantico, Virginia. He recalls this time as a positive experience because it taught him leadership skills. The most difficult parts about the Marines were the obstacle courses, leeches, and sand fleas.

005Bus driver Eddie Tolbert served the longest duration in the military out of all the employees at the YWCA – 10 years. Like Robert, Eddie’s enlistment in the US Army as a Heavy Weapons Specialist sent him to a variety of different places: Kansas, Georgia, Korea, Germany and Hawaii. Because of all this travel, he feels that the best part about the job was that it taught him how to respect other cultures. Sadly, the toughest part was being stationed in the (DMZ) Demilitarized zone where he said, “a lot of stuff was going on that the world didn’t know about.”

049And I, Pamela White Wolsey, was also in the service for 6 years, ending my service as an Ammunition Specialist in Ft. Hood, Texas. My experience in the US Army taught me to respect those who have served. I certainly had my tough times, but I have no regrets. Serving in the military is a whole other kind of education …in many ways.

To all the Veterans out there, present and past all over the world (not only on November 11, but every day), THANK YOU for toughing it out and sacrificing so much for our country!

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