Honoring through service

Shopping in a local do-it-yourself store on Monday, I realized that most Americans who get the extra day off from work use it to get yard work done, plant gardens or flowers and have family barbeques. It made me won

George McAlister, in his jungle uniform, and Scotty Brown, in his desert digitals, stand at attention in front of the Memorial Wall.

der how many of those shoppers surrounding me even knew the true meaning of the holiday we all know as Memorial Day.

Serving our country is what Western’s employees do as civilian employees, but many don’t even realize that is what they are doing. Some employees who also served in our armed forces better understand what it means to serve and choose to volunteer their time and skills in an effort to remember those that served with and before them. 

The week before Memorial Day, four Sierra Nevada employees answered a call to serve again. Western employees, who are also Vietnam era veterans, Scotty Brown and Matt Monroe (Marines), Don Clifton (Army), George McAlister (Air Force and Army), along with retired Western employee Mike Ryan (Air Force) paid special tribute to our fallen soldiers by volunteering to construct, guard and dismantle the Dignity Memorial Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall ®. The Wall was on display for the week leading up to Memorial Day.

Helping the non-profit agency Blue Star Moms, these employees offered their personal time and skills during the week-long event.  Beginning with set up, Ryan devoted his personal time to construct the wall on May 21. Once constructed, all five men pulled guard duty several nights while Monroe brought his wife and two sons out for day shifts working at multiple tasks. 

Brown shares his personal account of his time patrolling the wall, “It was great to be part of the wall display, we enjoyed each other’s company walking the wall through the evening hours.

McAlister (kneeling) and Mike Ryan, scan the list of names looking for fallen comrades.

“The wall was open for viewing 24 hours a day and it was interesting to see some of the vets who came late at night to have a quiet and personal time at the wall with their memories and with their fallen comrades.

“It is great to see a private company providing such a wonderful service to the country. Many of the visitors we talked to had not been able to make it to DC to see the real wall and this display was very important for many of them to see.

While George, Mike and I have had many adventures in the outdoors together this was a different experience as this time we were not just out for fun—we were serving our brothers and sisters in arms.”

Thank you to all the service men and women past and present who sacrificed to ensure our nation’s freedoms.

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