The night Hurricane Sandy tore up the East Coast wreaking havoc from North Carolina to New Hampshire, Jake and I attended a talk at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, which was unaffected by the storm.
The talk was given by a Lieutenant Colonel Jake met during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. His speech was heart felt and thought provoking, but the most moving and illuminating part of the evening was what he said afterward.
As Jake and the Lt. Colonel caught up briefly afterward while I listened in, the Lt. Col. mentioned he had to dash up to Maryland that night – his home state some three hours away – because in addition to his duties as an army officer, he was also a Maryland national guardsmen on orders from the governor to assist in any fallout from Sandy (which turned out to be less catastrophic than in states north).
When he said this, my jaw kinda dropped. Here is a man who not only volunteered to risk his life in Taliban country for a year, but on the very same night of his lecture, he had to race up to Maryland to perform rescue operations and provide assistance — distributing fuel, food, cold-weather clothing – to his fellow Marylanders in the middle of a hurricane when most normal humans would prefer to cower in their bathtubs and pray the roof doesn’t go airbone.
Do you know how much states pay their guardsmen for such service? Twelve dollars an hour! Twelve dollars an hour to go save lives in a hurricane.
But as the Lt. Colonel explained, he doesn’t do it for money. That’s obvious! He does it because his state — our entire country! — needs men and women like him.
Man, if there’s ever a time to tip your hat to a veteran, this Sunday, November 11 – Veteran’s Day — is the day to do it.
Right now, there are 6,618 National Guard personnel from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and West Virginia assisting in response and recovery efforts post hurricane, and a good percentage of these guys are veterans. They deserve some serious gratitude, don’t you think?
Here are seven ways to give back to service members this Sunday.
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