We Respect and Honor the Men & Women of the US Military

14 June 2005

Gerald "Jerry" Valentin

   My nephew, Gerald "Jerry" Valentin of Longmont, just [14 June 2005] graduated Army Basic Training, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, working as an artillery specialist. Army recruitment numbers are low we have all heard, but maybe not how low. Normal graduation for this class should be about 250 people. His class had 55 graduates.

Private Valentin graduated "Distinguished Honor Graduate," described:
   "The most outstanding Soldier of the cycle is selected for his knowledge of military subjects, his physical fitness, his dedication, the leadership potential he offers to the Army, and his demonstrated professionalism and overall excellence which places him above his peers."

   In these times, it takes a special person to volunteer for the Army. Regardless of what we feel the politics are, we should praise the brave individuals who have volunteered to keep us safe, even at the possible cost of their lives. We should thank their families for enduring months of separation, with little news. Jerry will soon be on his way to Iraq, to protect us, and support the advancement of democracy throughout the world.

   While I was in the Navy, I felt I was part of a team, defending "our country." More importantly, while at sea, on an aircraft carrier, I was thinking of my family, friends, Longmont, and my teachers and classmates, and the mountains, but not necessarily "my country." It is much more personal than that. Most military personnel feel they are protecting their loved ones, their families and friends.

   Now, I, as his uncle, am one of those people, as well as everyone in his beloved and protected hometown of Longmont. We are the one's Jerry will go to Iraq remembering. We need to support our military troops, and let them know we appreciate what they are doing, what they are fighting for, and just say "Thank You Troops, we are thankful for what you are doing."

   I will rest easier knowing the Longmont/Fort Lupton area is represented by an individual who worked so hard during boot camp, that he graduated at the top of his class. He is a shining example of the commitment and dedication our next generation is composed of.

Thank you Jerry and God Bless our Troops.

Melody "Mel" Miller & Mark Zen

Jerry's Graduation Flier is available here.

Dennis, Jerry & Sheila
Jerry, Sheila, & me [Mark]

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