(Reprinted in part from the SB/SE Connection Newsletter, Nov. 3, 2015.)
During the month of November 2015, the SB/SE Connection electronic newsletter hosted a Veterans’ Wall of Honor in recognition of Veterans Day. Employees were able to share photos and information about their military service, or that of a family member.
Some of those employee veterans being recognized include:
Revenue officer Kenneth Brock – Ken joined the Navy on May 11, 1993 and was discharged on March 9, 2009. Ken’s boot camp was in Orlando, Florida. He served as boatswain mate petty officer first class.
“As a young sailor, I learned early on the term ‘subject to change,’” Ken said. “I learned that the needs of the Navy outweighed the expectation of the sailor. Each Service member becomes an important part of something much larger than themselves.”
The Navy challenged Ken every day to be a leader. “I was always impressed with how people from different backgrounds and cultures could come together for a common cause.
“The Navy serves as a model for the rest of the nation,” Ken said. “Teamwork wasn’t just a saying but something we lived by.”
Tax examining technician Aurelia Beasley – Aurelia served as staff sergeant and administrative specialist in the Air Force from June 10, 1974 – Feb. 1, 1985.
Aurelia said she enlisted for job opportunities. “I had four brothers in the Air Force at the time, and I had a brother-in-law in the Army,” Aurelia said. “I really enjoyed traveling around the world.”
Aurelia served at Blytheville Air Force Base in Arkansas and then at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, where she met and married her husband, Melvin, in 1976. Aurelia also served three years in Okinawa, Japan.
Aurelia served three more years at Holloman Air Force Base at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Aurelia’s last tour of duty was at Shaw Air Force Base at Sumter, South Carolina.
“I had so much fun going from base to base,” Aurelia said. “The camaraderie between airmen was very much like family.”
Aurelia encourages anyone who is contemplating joining the military to do so. “It’s an experience you just have to go through.”
Supervisory revenue officer John Gray – John served in the Marines, 0311 Infantry, from 1992 through 1996. He deployed to Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Africa.
One of the most memorable places John visited was East Africa where he attended an ambassador’s party.
“It was one of the most interesting evenings I’ve ever experienced,” John said. Dignitaries attended from all over the world.
John met the head of a German bank, a couple in the Peace Corps, several foreign generals and an American Embassy dignitary.
“Talking to them helped me piece together a perspective of the world I never had before. The experience emboldened me to think differently about whom I was and how I would proceed,” John said.
What stands out in his mind during his military career, John said, is a series of events that set off his passion for the military. “The training, the exercises, the hardships and physical strain instilled discipline and brought about camaraderie,” he said.
“The Marines also made me realize that I no longer needed all of the things I was told were necessary to get along in this world,” John said.
Ken Brock and John Gray are also members of Military Outreach for Service. John served as national president from 2011 - 2013 and has served as national treasurer since then.