Posted by: brandextenders | May 29, 2011

A Story as American as Apple Pie

On this Memorial Day, I’m blessed to say I was recently witness to an event that makes me proud to be an American and a father.

Our oldest son Zachary became interested in law enforcement and joined the Dunwoody Police Explorers Post two years ago. The Explorers are a “Learning for Life” subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America and members usually join a post in a career field that interests them including police, fire, health, law, aviation and many others. Zach joined the police Explorers on a whim and it changed his life, uncovering a passion for police work. When we searched for colleges he decided on a small, beautiful school in North Georgia in the town of Dahlonega that offers a criminal justice degree. For many years North Georgia College and State University was an all-male military school, on par with West Point and the Naval Academy, but changed over the years and is now about 13% military ROTC with the rest civilian students. Zach really wasn’t interested in the ROTC until earlier this year when he learned many in law enforcement had a military background.

His mom and I never pushed him in one direction or the other, but made sure we challenged him with questions to make sure he understood what joining the military meant. With counseling from his police mentors, the college and us he finally decided to join the Army Reserve and go to basic training immediately after his graduation from high school. He told us he feels like he owes something to those who have come before and given their lives to preserve this country, a very mature thought for an 18 year-old.

He walked across the stage and picked up his diploma and spent the next few days visiting with friends, writing thank you notes for graduation gifts and getting ready to ship off to basic training at a base in the middle of nowhere (literally!). On the day he was slated to leave he packed the few items he could take with him and got ready to head out. I was standing in his bedroom and happened to look out the window a few minutes before we were to leave and saw some friend’s cars pull up. I was a little irritated because enough was enough already and went downstairs to tell them their timing wasn’t good. More and more people were pulling onto our street now; friends of ours, friends of Zachary’s and neighbors and I realized this was more than an inconvenience and that something bigger was happening.

Zach's Patriotic "Flash Mob" sends him Off with love

When Zach walked outside with Army backpack in hand, he was greeted by close to 50 people who had come not to say goodbye, but to send him off with a memory he will never forget. All had flags and upon seeing Zachary started cheering and clapping their hands and spontaneously broke out singing God Bless America. People he loved, had gone to school with and had grown up with took time out of their busy days to let him know they were behind him 100% and would keep him in their prayers over the next 18 weeks of his training. The tears were flowing all around as he hugged and shook hands, pictures were taken and then it was time to go. One of Dunwoody’s finest had shown up in his police car, a friend from the force, and gave Zach and I an escort to the city limits with lights flashing and siren blaring and then sent us off with a thumbs up; smiling and proud to see this young man starting down a path that won’t be easy, but is his passion and his future.

Things have quieted down and I know Zach’s 15 year-old brother misses him and now I guess I’ll have to be the one that takes up the wrestling and horseplay they engaged in. Despite all the doom and gloom we hear about America becoming a second-rate country, it’s stories like these, that I was blessed to be a part of, that give me hope that this great country will continue to thrive. Take time to say thank you to a veteran, to express your pride in our country and say a prayer for those who gave us this freedom that we must protect each and every day.

I work with my customers to evaluate their promotional marketing needs and develop creative and measurable solutions based on those needs. I build long-term relationships to become a trusted advisor my clients turn to for their brand extension, promotional product, incentive and other branding needs. Contact me at stephen.woodburn@staplespromoproducts.com

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing your story…. and prayers and good wishes to all of you as your son begins this new stage in his life!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: