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Veterans of Jasper County: I want YOU

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 12:10 p.m. CDT

I want YOU.

As you read this column pretend that I am Uncle Sam and I am actively recruiting you to come join our ranks.

If you are a veteran or know a vet or even know somebody who knows a vet, send them our way. We want all veterans, no matter how long or how short they served.

If you served our country in some form or fashion, you deserve to have your story told and we want to tell it.

This may come as a surprise to some of our readers, but finding veterans for our Monday veteran stories can sometimes be a challenge. Seriously, it if weren’t for Doug Bishop and Chris Chartier feeding us names, we would be truly out of luck some weeks.

I’ve talked with a lot of vets here in my time at the Daily News, and I’ve noticed a few recurring themes. Some vets don’t come forward because they “think their story is boring.”

This truly disheartens me to hear. A word of advice to the vets: your stories aren’t boring. I think sometimes guys or gals have told them so many times to other people they become less interested in the story themselves, but guess what?

We have thousands of readers who have never heard these stories, so don’t let that influence you, (by the way I’m still waiting on a certain female Vietnam veteran to return my call.)

Another thing that holds veterans back is they think they have to be some kind of ultimate war hero to talk about their time. Just because you didn’t kill a bunch of Nazis or Viet-Cong with nothing but a knife and survived off of a pack of saltines and drops of water from leaves doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come forward.

When our editor came up with the idea for these articles, he had a vision in mind that we would honor all veterans, not just war heroes. You don’t have to be Rambo or Cotton Hill, the self-proclaimed killer of 50 Nazis, to have your story told.

While we are getting the paper ready for press, we proof-read obituaries. As if that wasn’t enough of a downer, it’s even more depressing when I see a veteran who passed away who we didn’t talk too.

That was a missed chance for that person to share their story with the world, and for us as reporters to learn more about that person and experiences inside the military.

Here at the Daily News, we pride ourselves on being a community-first paper. I personally pride myself on writing and partaking in a plethora of community events, and one thing I know for sure about Jasper County is that the citizens here love Buicks and veterans.

Our articles have varied in tone. We’ve had heart-tuggers, tales of humor, war stories, and even stories that have centered on their lives after the service. The point is, don’t be afraid to tell your story for any reason.

We will write about whatever you chose to tell us about, as long as you are a veteran.

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