This Veterans Day we want to celebrate all of the men and women who have served our country so faithfully. Below are just a few stories from some of our veterans who have served over the years and are continuing to serve today.
Years Served: 1985-present day
After growing up on the streets of New York City, I enlisted in the US Army in 1985 looking for a direction and purpose in life. I spent my first eleven years as an enlisted Infantry Airborne Ranger until OCS commissioning as a Lieutenant of Infantry in 1996. In 1987, I met my wife Deborah and we began our service to the Nation and began to build our Army family. We have enjoyed all of the different assignment locations and people we were blessed to meet over the years.
Shortly after my return from the Iraq invasion in late 2003, I attended a chapel service one Sunday morning on Fort Benning and found the Lord. I finally heard His voice, receiving my direction and purpose in life. I continue to serve as a senior Army officer. I am proud to attempt to set the example for others to follow as a man of God who is unafraid to share my faith with everyone I come in contact with. Our family is very proud to call Evangel Temple our Home Church after our recent return to Fort Benning for the sixth time.
Years Served: 1984-1996 and 2010-Present
I decided to join the Air Force, based on my dad’s guidance in 1984. I met my husband and love of my life while we were both stationed in Hawaii and we continued serving together for 10 more years in Washington state and Texas. My husband served in a combat aircrew position and was deployed often, so I held down the fort at home with our kids while continuing to serve and support the mission state-side. I left active duty in 1996 but later decided to go in the Air Force Reserves in 2010. I am currently serving as a traditional reservist at Maxwell, AFB in Alabama where I work as a paralegal in the JAG Office.
The military has taught me a great deal about life and relationships. I’ve served with many not like me, but from all over the country with different backgrounds, cultures, customs and up-bringing. Still with all that diversity, we were one service, with one mission and lived by the same set of core values. Lifelong friendships and memories were made through successes and hardships experienced together, regardless of our differences. It’s been a family, much like my church family that provided the structure, support and guidance I needed to get started on my own and thrive later in life.
Prior to the military, I came to know Christ in October 1978 when a bible college student stopped at our house while doing visitation in our neighborhood for a local church. She invited me to youth group and said the church bus would pick me up. I knew God had answered my prayers! A couple years earlier, kids in my neighborhood told me my family and I were going to hell because we didn’t go to church on Easter. I panicked and ran home to tell my dad of our fate, asking if we could go to church. He said, “No, we don’t go to church, but when you get older you can find one you like and go.” There was a lot of chaos at home where struggles of a blended family and substance abuse defined our home. The lack of rules and care left me feeling unloved and insecure back then. So I decided to ask God to help me find that church each night along with the bedtime prayer my grandma taught me when I was little, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” Who knew God would hear the prayers of a lost girl and would use a faithful lady and a bus ministry to lead me to the Lord and teach me that going to church isn’t what saves any of us from hell. On my first visit I learned salvation was about God’s love and grace and the sacrifice He made for us at Calvary. Faith in Him is what saved me and through that love and grace, He provides for our every need. I accepted Christ as my Savior at youth group there and the faithful people of Colorado Bible Church continued to pour into my life throughout my teen years, helping me grow in my faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made and God has never failed me yet. He was with me in those early years, listening to and answering my prayers, when I left home for the military, and He is still with me today. I’m so thankful for His provision and faithfulness!
Years Served: 1986 – 2008
I joined the Army in 1986 and attended One Station Unit Training as an Infantryman at Fort Benning, GA. I served in various light infantry, airborne, and ranger units and every enlisted leadership position from fire team leader to Command Sergeant Major. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Since my retirement as a Command Sergeant Major in 2008, I have served as the Deputy Commander of the Warrior Training Center. I have been extremely blessed to have served with some of our nation’s greatest Rangers. I owe all my achievements to my Lord and savior and my wife who has been my rock for close to 33 years. Bridgett carried my ruck throughout my career, countless deployments, graduate school, and raised our four amazing children.
I was raised in the Assemblies of God church. Both of my parents were ordained pastors. I was the typical PK. I’ve always loved the Lord, but never put
him first in my life until 2014. My mother was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. As I watched her body deteriorate, I saw her love for the Lord grow stronger each day. Initially, I questioned God. How could he take a woman, my mother, a God loving woman that touched so many lives in her ministry? Simultaneously, I was about to lose the greatest blessing in my life, my wife. The Holy Spirit convicted me of a lifetime extreme selfishness. I was about to lose the two women I loved the most. I decided that I must put Christ first and foremost in my life. I had to change my life and my priorities. I gave my life to the Lord in November 2014. I was able to tell my mother that I was saved and would see her in heaven as she took her last few breaths. As a tear rolled down her cheek, I thanked God for his grace and the opportunity to let her know that I will serve God for the rest of my life. I thank God for saving my life and my marriage.
Thomas and his wife, Bridgett, have been attending Evangel Temple since 2014 and have four children, Thomas Jr., Jacob, Brittney and McKenzie and five grandsons and one granddaughter.
I invited God into my life when I was twelve years old. Needless to say, when I entered high school I began to slip a little! Nothing bad, just did not attend church, did not pray very much and did not give God the praise that he deserved. I entered the military at the age of 18. After Basic Training and AIT, I was deployed to Vietnam. My base camp was located east of Pleiku, in the region known as the Central Highlands. This jungle would be my home for 13 months. Many times I would pray and ask God to give me the strength to endure all things that the war threw at me. And often I would wonder if he heard my prayers. I also asked God for peace and that all troops would return home safely. I did! However, almost sixty thousand did not. Man does not have all the answers as to why things happen as they do. But we should never question God. He has a plan for everyone of us. But this day we honor all the brave men and women that fought and served for our freedom and freedom around the world. I am a proud Vietnam Vet. I am proud to have served my country. In 2003 I re-dedicated my life to God. God is great. God bless the U.S.A.