Veterans reflect on community support and honoring those who served before them
On November 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day.
It’s a chance to show support for those who have made sacrifices in order to build America into what it is today.
For veterans like Jason Brewer, it’s about giving thanks to those who have supported him and his family.
Brewer served three years in the Navy, seven years in the Tennessee Air National Guard, and the last three years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. He currently serves as a technical sergeant in vehicle management, working with fire engines and different types of aircraft.
“I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been to multiple countries and multiple continents. It really allows you to value what you have at home, value why you are there, and why you’re doing what you are doing.”
For most military members, community support is vital. Sacrifices aren’t just made in the field. They start at home with military families.
Jason is originally from Lancaster, KY. His wife, Ariel, is a native of Stanford, KY. The couple now resides in Harrodsburg, where they raise their two children, Arabella Mae, 9, and Abel Corbett, 3.
Without the community, it would be hard on families while members are deployed, he said.
“I couldn’t ask for a better support system,” Jason said. “If you don’t have a good support system, the military is going to be a challenge. To be married, you really have to have that anchor point and my wife, Ariel, does phenomenal. She takes care of the house and the kids – literally everything.”
Jason feels that it’s a lot harder on the families at home than it is on the military member.
“Being able to have a community that supports not only you, not only the military, but your family is phenomenal,” Jason said. “The old saying, ‘It takes a village,’ never rings more true than when a military member is deployed. Your wife or your significant other can’t do it by themselves.”
GIVING BACK TO FELLOW SOLDIERS
“Veterans Day is a pause for remembrance and awareness that we are all in this together.”
Community support isn’t just about helping the families of military members while they are deployed. Sometimes it’s about support when they return home.
For Scott Hall, of Dayton, OH, it’s about combining his life’s work with his passion for serving. Hall served 12 years of active and inactive duty in the Army Reserves. Now, he teaches at the University of Dayton in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Alongside his teaching, he owns a mental health practice – Highlander Counseling, where he often works with veterans.
Originally from North Carolina, Scott’s father was in the Marine Corps. In the early 1980s, Scott followed suit and joined ROTC and then the Army in 1985.
In South Carolina, he served in a combat engineering unit and, in Ohio, he served in a special forces unit where he focused on psychological operations and was a paratrooper.
“[The military] shaped what I do today,” Scott said. “I used to be scared to death of getting up in front of people to talk. It helps you gain a level of confidence in the face of adversity and in life. […] It’s an experience that fundamentally builds character, builds a level of resilience, and a moral compass.”
He said, over the years, society as a whole has developed a deeper appreciation for what it means to be a veteran, and that’s a good thing.
This includes providing mental health support. Today, as he counsels vets, he pays attention to the mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health of the person.
“We don’t go through life as individuals,” he said. “What helps us function in a healthy way are those relationships we have. It makes the community stronger. It’s not just about the veteran. It’s about the family and the community. It’s a healthier dynamic when families and the community support veterans.”
Hall said mental health support is essential and he hopes to provide a safe space for those who need it.
Showing support is different for everyone. Marcus Carter, of South Carolina, shows support through continued active service in the military. He has served for 32 years in the Army. To him, serving in the military is just a way of life.
Pictured below is Marcus, middle, with his sons Cedric Carter (Marines) on the left and Marcus Wayne Carter II (Army) on the right.
Marcus has served all over the world – domestically he has served on bases in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Jersey. Internationally, he has served in Italy, Korea, Egypt, and Afghanistan. He served in conflicts such as Dessert Storm, Panama, the Gulf War, and did two tours in Afghanistan.
Marcus always wanted to be in the military. Once he joined in the 1980s, he was in it for life.
“Our country is exceptional,” Marcus said. “After seeing all of the other countries, there’s nothing to complain about because we are blessed.”
Marcus was an infantry ground soldier and has served in active duty during most of his Army career. He is currently stationed in South Carolina.
“I’ve learned to appreciate life more and value life more,” Marcus said. “Regardless of what we believe, I think America’s the best institution in the world.”
MEANING OF VETERANS DAY
If you were to ask Jason, Scott, and Marcus what Veterans Day means to them, they would say it is more about supporting those who served in World War II, Vietnam, and Korea.
“These are the types of veterans that didn’t get the kind of support that we have now,” Jason says. “Those guys are the ones who laid the foundation for not only our current military but our current government.”
Marcus spoke about the importance of honoring those who came before him.
“I am honored to be able to call myself a veteran,” Marcus said. “I understand the magnitude and the sacrifice that they gave in those particular wars.”
It’s also about the community mindset. Scott believes Veterans Day is a day to not only focus on individuals but also on the collective efforts of veterans everywhere.
He continued, “Veterans Day is a pause for remembrance and awareness that we are all in this together.”