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Inspiring Military Heroes | Veteran's Day

November 12th, 2012 - 10:26 AM

With Veteran’s Day upon us, I’ve read several stories about the amazing military heroes around our nation. To the Veterans and their families who have served this great country so bravely and selflessly—Thank You! Your sacrifice is inspiring and we are forever grateful.

Though there are thousands upon thousands of amazing military heroes, I would like to share with you just a few stories in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Inspiring Military Heroes

The first is a military wife—one of our hometown heroes actually—who has changed the path for military families present and future. Her name is Miranda Luke, and her husband, Capt. Samson Luke served in the U.S. Army for seven years. He was deployed to Iraq twice and received the Bronze Star for “bravery, heroism or meritorious” service after an incident in 2006 that left many of his unit dead. He survived, but died in 2010 from a heart attack during an assignment with the Arkansas National Guard. However, because he died in his home a few miles from base, the military declined to pay out his military death benefits to his family.  At the time, Senator Mark Pryor, took notice of the situation and helped Miranda get the survivor’s benefits from the Army. Today, the “Luke Provision”—which states that the military should revisit a family’s death benefits if the service member dies during an authorized stay at their home during inactive duty training—has been inserted into a broad defense bill and is awaiting the President’s signature.  

The second story is of a soldier and his pet. Sgt. First Class Charles Shuck and his yellow lab dog, Gabe, worked in war zones together for three years in Iraq (2006-2009). The military adopted Gabe from the pound. Gabe is the most successful canine in Iraq with a total of 26 finds of weapons and explosives in more than 210 combat missions. The average number of finds for most military dogs is 5-10. Gabe was more than a specialized search dog, though. He brought a sense of home to the soldiers in Iraq. When something bad happened, Gabe was there to bring comfort. He retired in 2009 with 40 awards and coins of excellence for his work. Gabe recently won the title of American Hero Dog of 2012.

The last story is about Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, a National Guard member of the 617th Military Police Company. She was involved with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Just 12 miles southeast of Baghdad on March 20, 2005, she and her team wielded off a 27-insurgent attack. The insurgents came out of a grove of trees and started firing at her team. It was a fierce attack, but they stayed alive. Only three of the soldiers were wounded in the battle. Hester earned an honorable position in the military history books as the first Army woman awarded the Silver Star for valor since WWII. She killed the last three attacking combatants in the fire fight.

Thank you, Veterans.

Once again, I would like to say thank you to all Veterans for your service and sacrifice to make this country great. We applaud you.