Grassi Team members share their perspectives
Veterans Day is a day set aside to honor and remember all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly called Armistice Day, November 11 also marks the date that World War I came to an end after claiming the lives of more than 8.5 million soldiers.
There are currently more than 18 million veterans in the U.S., including two in our very own IT department!
In recognition of Veterans Day, we asked those two IT department veterans, who selflessly served our country in the military, to share their experiences and perspectives on this important holiday. Joining us for the conversation are:
- Don Logan, Chief Information Officer
- Dylan Anderson, Systems Administrator/Lead Security Analyst
In which branch of the military did you serve and for how long?
Don: I served in the US Navy for 6 years.
Dylan: I served Active Duty in the US Air Force (USAF) for 8 years.
Where were you stationed and/or deployed?
Dylan: I was stationed at Dover AFB, in Dover DE for most of my service, but was deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar for a 6-month rotation.
Don: I was stationed in many places and deployed to even more locations throughout the world before and during Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Desert Sabre. This includes Naval Amphibious Base Coronado (CA) attached to Special Warfare Command, Naval Air Station Memphis (TN), Naval Air Station Pensacola (FL), Naval Air Station North Island (CA), Naval Air Station Alameda (CA) attached to USS Enterprise, Naval Air Station Sigonella (Italy) attached to Naval Intelligence. I was very fortunate and thankful to have traveled around the world (literally) to more than 27 countries and bases during missions and deployments, successfully circling the earth.
How did your time of service prepare you for your current role?
Don: The Navy and the military overall have a very strong leadership foundation, and they do a great job of teaching and coaching fundamentals such as moral principles, personal examples, and administrative abilities. The definition of leadership I was taught is that “it’s the art of influencing people to progress towards the accomplishment of a specific goal,” which I will forever have etched into my core. My experience in the Navy prepared me for my future roles providing me the principles, core values, and tools necessary to become a leader. As I gained experience early in life, I learned that balancing as a leader was a key component, and that was one of the most important things I took away to use later on and in my current role as Chief Information Officer.
Dylan: My time in the USAF was the best time of my life that I would never do again. I joined the military when I was 22 years old, so I already had some experience living the “civilian” life prior to separation. The thing I missed most about that life was having agency over my days. When you’re serving, you are told what to do and when to do it. In a way, that strict organizational structure and continuously rising expectations were beneficial. But it could also be frustrating knowing you have to get up and go to work because you are legally required to for 10-12 hours per day, 5-7 days a week! However, my time spent in the USAF really solidified who I am as a person and taught me invaluable life lessons that I’ll never forget. Time management skills, leadership skills, technical skills, among others. It also taught me to not just set goals for myself, but to fully commit myself to them. The USAF paid for my formal education in Computer and Network Security, and let’s be honest, I wouldn’t be here without that.
What are some of the things you wish people understood about being a veteran?
Dylan: I wish that people would understand the toll that military service takes on many veterans, and that a lot of veterans leave the service with scars, both physical and mental, that they will carry with them throughout their lives. It’s unfortunate, but true. I always like to take opportunities to bring awareness to mental health issues and funding for veteran affairs projects. One of the most widely recognized military-specific organizations is the Wounded Warrior Project. To support active duty military, Troopster is an organization I was personally involved in, and it is a great way to brighten someone’s day. Whatever you can afford is enough.
Don: Veterans weren’t all soldiers and have served in many different ways. We are still held accountable for the oath taken when sworn in. More than half of veterans have some type of emotional trauma from serving. Transitioning from active duty military to civilian life is extremely difficult. Their families have sacrificed just as much. The military culture is complex and engrained in all of us, but the time served was probably the greatest period in their lives. When joining the military, we gave up our lives for something greater, which has made us appreciate our freedoms, holidays, and family (for their sacrifices made) even more. Most vets dislike being asked about conflicts, battles, or wars. Lastly, when a veteran hears our national anthem or sees a flag raised, there’s a profound emotional feeling associated with that, which comes from a place of love, pride, and honor.
In your opinion, what are some of the most effective ways for people to show their appreciation of our troops and veterans?
Dylan: Give back. It may sound brash, but it’s easy to simply say “thank you for your service” and move on. A simple small donation to a veteran affairs nonprofit will do a lot of tangible good.
Don: Hang a flag, post something on social media, donate to the many military organizations, and if you see an active military member or veteran, thank them – they’ve earned it.
What does Veterans Day mean to you?
Don: For me, it’s a day we veterans all share together to honor our brothers and sisters, to remember those we served with and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a day to remember that there were many people before and after me who contributed to our country and what we have today as a result, including our freedoms, quality of life and many other advantages. It’s a time to reflect on my time served and why I did it. It’s when I am reminded why I swore an oath to protect our country and those within it, and why I continue to do my part to make the world a better place. There’s an indescribable feeling when I attend or watch a Veterans Day event, which comes from a place of love, pride and honor that I have for our country and military.
Dylan: To me, Veterans Day is a day to appreciate and recognize the sacrifices made by those that came before us. It also gives me an excuse to stay in touch with all the amazing people I served with. It’s a bond that never fades. I met some of the most amazing people in my time with the USAF, and I take Veterans Day as an opportunity to reconnect with those I served beside and let them know that no matter where they are in the world, they are still in my thoughts.
We want to thank all of our team members who have served, as well as those who have made – or continue to make – sacrifices that allow their loved ones to serve. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy every day.