Honoring our Heroes
June 1, 2020 | View PDF
John L. Cannady, Jr.: Age 62
John L. Cannady, Jr. served in the United States Air Force for 22 years and seven months. He received the following medals and awards: AF Meritorious Service Medal, AF Commendation Medal, AF Achievement Medal, AF Outstanding Unit Award, AF Organizational Excellence Award, AF Good Conduct Metal, Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon, National Defense Service Metal, AF Overseas Short and Long Tour Ribbons, AF Longevity Award, NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, AF Training Ribbon NCO of the Year 1992 and 1993 at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB). Cannady was promoted to Master Sergeant (E7) under the Stripes for Exceptional Performers (STEP) Program in December, 1995. His entire life personifies dedication and the desire to be the best in what endeavor in which he is engaged whether it is in military service or in civilian life.
Cannady was born April 15, 1958, in New York City to his parents, John L. Cannady and Divina Cannady. He was reared in the Bronx until 1969 attending PS82 and PS104 after which his family moved to Allentown, PA. He graduated from Parkland High School in El Paso, TX, in June, 1976.
Cannady joined the U.S. Air Force in September, 1976, because he thought that this branch of military service could give him the most bang for the buck. He completed four weeks of Basic Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonia, TX, followed by deployment to Hellenikon Air Base in Athens, Greece, for one and one-half years working as an Aerospace Ground Equipment mechanic after scoring the highest on an aptitude test of mechanics and electronics. He was transferred to Deep Creek AFB and Fairchild AFB in Washington for two years and to Langley AFB in VA for four years working as an educator of people on the care of nuclear trailers, which were used to carry nuclear bombs. His next assignment was to Chanute AFB in Illinois for three years where he became a teacher of pneumatics, hydraulics, gas, diesel and turbine engines, electronics and military science.
Cannady’s reasons for becoming a teacher are, “My whole life I wanted to be a teacher. I had the opportunity and the skills in the mechanical and electrical fields, so I thought maybe I might be a good teacher, and I gave it a try.” His next assignment was teaching Professional Military Education, which included communication skills, leadership skills and military science as the Commandant/Program Manager/Dean of Education at the military school at Anderson AFB in Guam. His last assignment was at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL, as a curriculum developer, educator and statistician for three years retiring in 1999.
Cannady continued his education while serving in the Air Force. He took courses at Spokane Community College and the University of Maryland in general studies. He passed 25% the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and he graduated from Faulkner University with a B. S. Degree in Management of Human Resources. In addition, he earned an M.S. Degree in Adult Education from Troy University in 1997.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1999, Cannady worked at McMillan International Academy in Montgomery, AL, as the computer teacher/coordinator. After teaching three years in the classroom and taking eight education courses, he received a “B” level teaching certificate. He then taught at Baldwin Arts and Academic Magnet School for three years and then to Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School as the technology teacher and technology coordinator.
Cannady provided leadership in opening the Industrial Maintenance Technology Course for Career Tech at Carver High School and Lee High School where he taught for one year. His next assignment was to Booker T. Washington Magnet High School for five years followed by a return to Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School where he served as the technology teacher and tech coordinator for three years. After six months as the technology coordinator at Pike Road School, his final teaching position was a return to Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School for three years retiring in May 2018.
Cannady and his wife, Kay, have been married 20 years, and Cannady has three children and eight grandchildren. He enjoys his friends addressing him by his nickname, Katphishe. Throughout many years, he has been heavily involved in serving others in the Montgomery community including the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, the Montgomery Zoo (also Board Member), the Montgomery Humane Shelter and the Family Karate Center. While in Greece, he volunteered with the Red Cross and participated in Operation Fiery Vigil. He also taught CPR, babysitting, first aid courses. He voluntarily took the CPR class Annies, the dummies, home and made repairs on the artificial facial skin. He received recognition as Red Cross Volunteer of the Year 1991 while stationed at Guam and served as the Facilities Coordinator at the Central AL Chapter of the American Red Cross. Cannady was the American Taekwondo Foundation National Martial Arts Champion for four years in a row 2000 - 2003.
When reflecting on his achievements, Cannady says, “Sometimes I get there, and sometimes I don’t, but don’t stop trying.” He concludes about this military service, saying, “At the beginning, it was just getting away from home. While I was in it after about a year, I enjoyed being a part of that team. It was even greater when I was overseas. We knew everybody at work where we were close knit. It was incredible camaraderie.”
Cannady feels deeply about his commitment to teaching others saying, “It was my lifelong dream. One of my plans was to be a major league baseball player, but I fell short on this. Once I got into the classroom, I felt like I had reached my highest pinnacle of success for me because my goal in life was to impart all of the information that I knew to be correct and right. That was the greatest thrill of my life to educate everybody in the military and in public life.”
Personal note from Chelese Beck, Alabama Gazette: John Cannady was my daughter’s Taekwondo instructor in the early 2000s. He was a caring, compassionate leader. Master Cannady is one of those special people who leaves a lasting impression, and he instilled many amazing qualities in all of his students.
Billy Gillyard McKenzie: Age 91
Billy Gillyard McKenzie served in the U. S. Marine Corps for two years wearing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor (the universal emblem of a Marine), and although his time of service was brief, he was discharged possessing a high regard for the special training given to him while he served as a Marine.
McKenzie’s service in the U. S. Marine Corps had a significant impact on his life that advanced his future by developing the qualities of inner and outer strength, loyalty to country, leadership in the community, integrity, responsibility, commitment and perseverance. McKenzie received the National Defense Service Medal.
McKenzie was born December 8, 1928, in Tallassee, AL, to his parents, George and Clara McKenzie. He was reared there, and he played left and right end and linebacker with his high school football team under the leadership of Coach J. E. “Hot” O’Brien winning 57 consecutive victories, and in 1948, he graduated from Tallassee High School with intentions to study and to fly Piper Cub and Cessna planes. During his youth, he learned how to hunt and to fish, and as a youth he earned money working in the electrical shop in the local cotton mill and spraying for mosquitoes along the Tallapoosa River as well as cutting grass for the power company. He attended Alabama Polytechnic Technic Institute (Auburn University), worked several years for the AL Power Company in Gadsden and Leeds, AL, building substations. He then attended a mortuary school in Nashville, TN, became licensed as a mortician and worked at the Mann Funeral Home in Tallassee, AL, for the next eleven years except for the time that he served in the U. S. Marines.
McKenzie registered for the military draft December 9, 1946, one day after his 18th birthday. McKenzie’s military service began with his service in the Alabama National Guard 31st Infantry Division in Tallassee for three years from November, 1947, until the end of December, 1950. Because of the required length of service for people who enlisted was four years, he waited to be drafted which required only two years. McKenzie reported for active duty at Maxwell Field (Maxwell Air Force Base) March 5, 1952, and was selected to serve in the U. S. Marines. He completed Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC, where he was selected as platoon leader based on his prior National Guard experience and ROTC at Auburn University, reached the rank of E3 and was stationed at Mar Photographic SQ33 Maw Airfmf Service #1293087. After reaching the rank of Private 1st Class, McKenzie was sent to duty as a radio operator on C-47 planes with a group known as the “gooney birds” at Cherry Point, NC. His next assignment was to Jackson Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, FL, for 10 months where his sergeant told him, “Yours is not to wonder why, yours is just to do or die.” He learned parachute folding and other different disciplines of the Navy and Marine Corps. McKenzie was assigned to electronic maintenance in an electronics group and sent to Miami, FL, with Vmj-33 Dmaw Airfmfliant USMS. The Korean War had reached an end, and McKenzie received his discharge March 4, 1954, returning to Tallassee, AL.
McKenzie became a successful entrepreneur excelling in every business venture. After working as a mortician, McKenzie worked as the personnel manager of the Tallassee Cotton Mill owned by Mt. Vernon Mills where he was involved in the integration of employees during the civil rights movement in AL. He completed training in hospital management at the University of AL at Birmingham. McKenzie studied law at Jones Law School in Montgomery, AL and was a guest lecturer in medical jurisprudence at Auburn University at Montgomery. He worked as a hospital administrator building a new nonprofit hospital followed by purchasing and managing hospitals in Evergreen, AL, and Jackson, AL. He remained in Evergreen 1977-2006 managing the Evergreen hospital. McKenzie officially retired in 2006, and his son, Gill McKenzie, purchased his 94% interest in Gilliard Health Services from McKenzie and his wife, Mary McKenzie. McKenzie experienced success in real estate ventures including the purchase of 1100 acres of hunting land along Highway 14 at Tallassee, AL. He purchased one of the first condos in San Destin, FL, established Clairwood Subdivision and River Hills Subdivision, beautiful, planned communities along the Tallapoosa River in Tallassee.
McKenzie has significantly served others in the Tallassee community as a Boy Scout leader receiving the Silver Beaver Award given by the Tuckabatchee Council of the Boy Scouts, a deacon and Sunday school teacher in First Baptist Church of Tallassee, a member of the Tallassee Rotary Club, the Chairman of the Tallassee Red Cross Blood program, a member of the Tallassee Parks and Recreation Board and President of the Tallassee Chamber of Commerce. He oversaw the construction of the Lakeside Golf and Country Club in Tallassee. He purchased and then for six years operated the Tallassee Guest House, a facility used for weddings and other occasions as well as a bed and breakfast facility. McKenzie later donated the Guest House and its property to the City of Tallassee. He was inducted into the Tallassee High School Hall of Pride for 2020.
McKenzie and his wife, Mary George, have been married 70 years, and they had one son, and three grandchildren. They have enjoyed traveling to New England and to mountains near Cold Mountain, NC. McKenzie has fished in Canada near the Arctic Circle and hunted game not only in Alabama but also in other countries for many years. He went on 11 safaris to Africa, and on his first trip he hunted exotic animals including kudu, a warthog, a gemsbok and a red hartebeest. On other safaris, he hunted the Big Five, the lion, elephant, cape buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard. He authored the book, Bwana The Unordinary Life of Billy Gillyard McKenzie, which may be purchased from Lulu Enterprises, Inc. Bwana means “master or boss” as it pertains to African hunting referring to “master hunter.” In order to be called Bwana, one must hunt the Big Five.
McKenzie’s conclusions about his service as a U. S. Marine are, “The Marines taught me my values, responsibility and discipline. This enabled me to be the best that I could be in all that I did.”
James Harris Coombs: Age 79
Coombs was born at the barrier island, Wildwood, New Jersey, February 15, 1941, to his parents, Leroy and Martha Coombs. He was reared there graduating from Cape May High School at Cape May, New Jersey, a seaside resort city. At age 19, he volunteered and joined the U. S. Marine Corps beginning as an enlisted man and completing 20 years of service in 1978 retiring at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3). His awards and medals include: National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct, With Two Stars, Vietnam Service Medal with Three Stars, Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, Navy Commendation Medal with “V” Device and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal with Palm and Frame Device.
Coombs completed Boot Camp at the Marine Corps Parrish Island recruit training facility, and after Boot Camp, he worked with self-propelled track tanks equipped with bulldozer blades used in building roads excelling so well that he became the only corporal teaching other Marines including officers in the use of such equipment for two years. He then switched to recruiting Marines returning to Parris Island for training in Marine recruiting becoming only the 7th Marine Corps corporal to complete this type of education and had a three-year assignment at Atlantic City recruiting Marines. Coombs had an interest in learning how to operate computers and completed a month of IBM computer training, which later resulted in his spending 43 years in computer science including time in the military and in civilian life. Using his computer skills, he completed three tours at the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. Coombs served one year in Vietnam using his computer skills trying to save people’s lives figuring out what routes in combat were the safest for helicopters to fly. He completed Boot Camp at the Marine Corps Base Quantico to become a Warrant Officer. His next assignment was to be in charge of data processing for the command at the Naval Station Great Lakes, IL. This assignment was followed by service at the Naval Air Station in New Orleans, LA, followed by an unaccompanied tour to Japan for one year. His last assignment was at the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro, CA where he retired.
Using his computer skills, he worked with 30 companies all over the USA and throughout the world. After military service, Coombs worked as a computer analyst for the Kubota Tractor Corporation in CA, Jim Walters Homes, Inc. in Tuscaloosa, AL, Syntrega USA, Inc. in Birmingham, AL, and Mitchell International in Memphis, TN, retiring in 1986. Moving to the Lake Martin area near Alexander City, AL, Coombs worked at the Russell Do It Center and at Walmart assisting contractors involved in building houses and at the Wind Creek Casino in Wetumpka, AL, as a security guard.
Coombs enjoys woodworking especially restoring antiques, gardening and reading. Following a destructive tornado to the Children’s Harbor, a Lake Martin, AL, place for children who are seriously ill and their families to be themselves, to have fun and to relax, he voluntarily worked in repairing the damaged facilities. He has been married to his wife, Dana Christine, for 47 years, and they have one daughter, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He has two sons from a previous marriage He and his wife enjoy living close to some of their children and grandchildren and being part of their lives.
When Coombs reflects on what being a Marine means to him he says, “It means service to our country. I come from a family that is service-oriented. During WWII, my father was in the U. S. Coast Guard in charge of protecting the lighthouses on the eastern coast of the USA. My mother was in the Eastern Star. My brothers were Eagle Scouts. Being a Marine means a great deal of pride. Whenever I see a Marine wearing a Marine veteran’s hat, we speak to each other where members of other military services don’t usually stop and converse.”
Gary Dean (73) & Wanda Sue Mehlhoff (71)
Senior Master Sergeants Gary Dean Mehlhoff and Wanda Sue Mehlhoff are U. S. Air Force veterans. They are a married couple who each served 26 years. His medals are: Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with four BSS, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Her medals are: Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters and Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.
Senior Master Sergeant Gary Mehlhoff was born in New Rockford, North Dakota, October 26, 1946, to his parents, Elmer and Lorraine (Weisenberger) Mehlhoff. He was educated in kindergarten through the eighth grade in North Cedar Falls, IA. He graduated from high school in Harlowton, MT, where his father worked as a linotype operator. Gary volunteered for service in the U. S. Air Force in September, 1965. His Basic Training was at Lackland AFB, TX, and his technical training was at Sheppard AFB, TX, where he trained to work as an air passenger specialist with freight and passenger services at airports. His military career took him to many military installations, including his first assignment to Travis AFB in CA for 1.5 years followed by a temporary duty (TDY) to Yokota, Japan, for six months. In December, 1967, he was sent overseas to Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam, for 13 months working on in-country passenger service where fortunately his assignment ended one day before the heavy attack on the base during the Tet Offensive. His next assignment for two years was to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA, along with a TDY to Guam followed by an overseas assignment back to Japan. Then he was retrained into the administrative career field and assigned to Malmstrom AFB in MT for two years; to Incirlik CDI, Turkey, for 15 months; then to K. I. Sawyer AFB in MI for six years. Next, he was retrained into the personnel career field and assigned to Ramstein AB in Germany for three years retiring there at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant.
Gary concludes about his military service saying, “It meant that I got to serve my country and defend it if need be.” He received an Associate Degree in Business Administration from the Community College of the Air Force and in October, 1991, using the G.I. Bill, an Associate Degree from the University of Maryland through its Global Campus in Germany. Returning to the U.S., he worked armed security at the U. S. Navy Shipyard in Washington, D.C. for three years. He then worked locating property for the Buyer’s Agent, a real estate company in Montgomery, AL, for several years. Since his second retirement in 2001, he has enjoyed playing golf.
Senior Master Sergeant Wanda Sue Mehlhoff was born at Maxwell, AFB, in Montgomery, AL, April 25, 1949, to her parents, Sergeant Jesse Ralph Danner and Susie Mae (Henderson) Danner. She was educated in the Montgomery schools at McMillan Elementary, Baldwin Junior High School and Sidney Lanier High School. After graduation, she worked making nylon twine/rope along with security at Johnson Cordage Company in Prattville, AL. Senior Master Sergeant Mehlhoff enlisted in the U. S. Air Force December 27, 1973, beginning service at the rank of Airman 1st Class as a WAF (Women in the Air Force). Her Basic Training was at Lackland, AFB, TX. Her previous employment with machines, prepared her for her Air Force training at an Air Force technical school at Chanute AFB, IL. Her first assignment was at Barksdale AFB, LA, as an Air Force jet engine mechanic working on B-52G and KC-135A airplanes. Her ingenuity and determination to do an excellent job were important aspects of her work. Her second assignment was to Incirlik CDI, Turkey, where she worked for 20 months in the Detachment 16, Communications Squadron changing her service to administration because of a back injury. She was transferred to Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL, for a special duty assignment involved in the assignment of Air Force officers and noncommissioned officers to Air Force ROTC in high schools. Her next assignment was to RAF Bentwaters in England for three years followed by an assignment to K. I. Sawyer AFB in MI in administration in Standardization/Evaluation, 644th Bombardment Squadron and then with the Site Activation Task Force which worked with General Dynamics and Boeing for the air launched cruise missile for six years. She served at Ramstein AB in Germany for six years in the 1964th Communications Group as the chief in administration where she was referred to as the “Fire Woman” solving problems and preparing for inspections. She continued service there working in the administration of logistics at Headquarters USAFE. She was then hired for Presidential Support at Andrews AFB; however, because of illness, she worked in the Presidential Operations Group. Her final assignment was another special duty assignment to Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development, Maxwell AFB as chief of administration retiring January 1, 2000.
After retirement, she cared for her ill father for 4.5 months and her ill mother for seven years. After caring for her father, she went back to school and received a degree in Graphic Arts/Webpage Design and Illustration Design Techniques. She worked with the Alabama Department of Public Health doing wellness checkups in schools, prisons and Alabama State agencies. Since retirement, she has enjoyed investigating her genealogy, gardening and being with a sewing group and her grandchildren. Her conclusions about her military service are, “When I started in the Air Force, it was a job, but as time passed, I realized it was a calling. Being in the military effected my personal growth. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There were a lot of bad things which happened, but I focus on the good things which has made me a better person. “
Having met when both were stationed in Turkey, the Mehlhoffs have been married 41 years, and they have four children and six grandchildren. They are members of East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, AL.
Lt. Col. Joel A. Burdette: Age 49
Lt. Col. Joel A. Burdette is a highly decorated U. S. Marine Corps veteran who had two successful combat tours. He participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia respectively from December, 2001, through May, 2002, as a Joint Interface Control Officer Detachment Commander, and he led the Tactical Air Operations Center Detachment to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from January 15, 2003 through June 2003.
Lt. Col. Burdette’s numerous medals and awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal with Two Gold Stars, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Two Gold Stars, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Two Stars, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Medal with Bronze Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (two), the United States Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation ribbon, Certificate of Commendation (Individual Award), Letter of Appreciation (four), Expert Rifle Qualification Badge (five), Expert Pistol Qualification Badge (seven).
Lt. Col.. Burdette was born May 6, 1971, in Marysville, CA, at Beale Air Force Base to his parents, Joseph and Sharon Burdette. He was reared in Tallassee, AL, and in 1993, he graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. Degree in Aviation Management and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and transferred to Quantico, VA. After being commissioned, he completed entry-level officer training and graduated from The Basic School class in May, 1993.
Lt. Col. Burdette continued his military education and received well-earned promotions throughout his service. 2nd Lt. Burdette was then assigned to Marine Corps Communication Electronics School and graduated from Air Defense Control Officer Course with the 7210 Military Occupational Specialty. After Air Schools, he was assigned to MACS-6, Cherry Point, N.C. and served there in various billets to include Watch Commander, Tactical Air Operations Center Officer and Assistant Operations Officer.
Lt. Col. Burdette served as an instructor and a commander at many military installations. He transferred from MACS-6 to Air Schools in 29 Palms, CA, as an Air Defense Training Section (ADTS) instructor in December, 1997. He served as an instructor and then as Officer in Charge of the ADTS. He attained a Senior Instructor rating while at Air Schools and was promoted to Captain. He was then selected to attend Amphibious Warfare School. Upon completion of AWS in May, 2001, he was assigned to MACS-1, Yuma, AZ. He was promoted to Major (designated as MOS 7202) and served as the TAOC Detachment Commander there until July, 1994. He then reported to Maxwell AFB, Alabama, at the Air Command and Staff College and graduated in June, 1995, earning a Master’s degree in Military Operational Art and Science. Major Burdette then transferred to Quantico, VA and served as the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Staff Training Program Aviation Combat Element (ACE) Section instructor and OIC preparing the Marine Expeditionary Forces in support of OEF and OIF. He then transferred in July, 2008, to U.S. Marine Forces Command in Norfolk where he was promoted to the rank of Lt. Col. and served in the G-3/5/7 for Marine Aviation Current Operations. Lt. Col. Burdette then served as the Commanding Officer of 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion in Cherry Point, NC from December 16, 2010 – August 31, 2012. He last served in the 2d MAW G-3 Operations section prior to retirement June 30, 2013, completing 20 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Lt. Col. Burdette has graduated from numerous MOS schools to include Top Gun 04-97, Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-98 (MOS 7277), Marine Division Tactics Course, Joint Aerospace Command and Control Course, Joint Tactical Information Distribution Systems Joint Interoperability Course, Multi-Tactical Digital Information Link Advanced Joint Interoperability Course, Network Design and System Management Course, and Joint Interface Control Officer (JICO) Course 00-03. He has participated in numerous exercises to include working with the Royal Air Force in the Netherlands where he was designated a JICO during Joint Project Optic Windmill-5. He has attained all qualifications within the TAOC to include Senior Air Director (SAD), Senior Air Defense Commander Operations Officer (SADC Ops) Officer and Senior Air Defense Commander (SADC).
Since his military retirement, Lt. Col. Burdette served as the Commandant of Cadets at Lyman Ward Military Academy, and he has worked in the healthcare industry as the Executive Director and Administrator of multiple senior living and memory care facilities. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Connection Foundation and is also serving as Vice President of Leadership and Development for Community Eldercare Services which is based in Tupelo, MS, with skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in MS, TN and AL.
Lt. Col. Burdette and his wife, Stephanie have been married 26 years, and they have two sons. Their son, Joseph, is currently serving in the U. S. Coast Guard. They are active members of Grace Point Community Church in Wetumpka, AL. They also enjoy boating at Lake Martin and attending Auburn University football games where they support the Auburn Tigers cheering, “War Eagle!”
The U. S. Marine Corps emblem of an eagle, a globe and an anchor is used to represent the amphibious nature of the Marines and to emphasize the close ties between the Marine Corps and the U. S. Navy. Lt. Col. Burdette reflects upon his service in the U. S. Marine Corps saying, “. Once you’ve earned the Marine Corps emblem, it opens a doorway to all kinds of networks, friendships and relationships with people. The Marine Corps is a brotherhood. After 20 years have gone by, you can pick up the phone and pick up right where you left off. It’s a family, and you always have that network of support to help you and a shoulder to lean on. Whenever I see a Marine’s sticker on his car, I honk the horn and wave. I have a Marine sticker on the front and a retired Marine sticker on the back of my car. The Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fi,” means always faithful to country and to each other and looking for ways to help each other. It certainly instilled in me a discipline and an appreciation for life when we see how blessed we have it in this country.”