Remembering those who have served

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Today is a day about remembering and honoring those who have served in our armed forces.  These brave men and women put our country first, served on the front lines, and left their families behind to protect us.

They are braver than I am.  They are more selfless than I am.  They are better than I am.

Both of my grandfathers served in the armed forces and growing up, I always felt privileged to be in their presence.  They were, and are, my heroes.  Now, in present time, I have a cousin, who I have grown up with, getting ready to leave for Japan for a two-year station.

And, there are countless others who I have come across in my life who I am honored to know.  For the first four years after college, I was a sales rep for ADS, Inc., providing solutions for the military.  My customers were the United States Navy EOD and Navy divers on the west coast.  Talking to them every day on the phone, they became friends and I still keep in touch with several.  I also worked with hundreds of prior military members at ADS, Inc.  They were some of the best people I have ever worked with.  

I am recounting all of this because this Veterans Day hits a little closer to home.

A former employee of ADS, Inc. was killed in Yemen earlier this week.  John Hamen was working as a contractor and on October 20, after just arriving in war-torn Yemen, was detained with a fellow contractor.  After two weeks being detained, he was killed.  No details surrounding his death are known and you can read the article here.

He was a loving husband and a father of seven.  My heart breaks for his family.  He was detained because of ignorance.  There, I said it.  In some reports, he was apparently accused of being a spy.  Like I said, ignorance.

Now, a family grieves and children have to grow up without a father.

It's a quick reminder of the sacrifices our service men and women face every single day on the job.  John was a retired Army Master Sergeant and still chose to serve our country as a contractor in his retirement.

While I am taking today to thank ALL of our service men and women who have served, or who are serving our country now, I am also asking for you to pray for John Hamen and his family.

There has been a memorial fund set up to help his family through this difficult time.  If you would like to donate, you can visit the Go Fund Me page here.

My grandfather L.T. Edwards

My cousin Eric Johnson.  (We are three months apart but he is HUGE compared to me!)

My grandfather Billy Pearce