As Veterans Day and the premiere of #ShiningALightIndy draw near, we want to take a moment to highlight stories of those who are the reason for this monumental effort: our Hoosier veterans.
Our friends at Visit Indy sent out a call for loved ones to send in their veteran’s stories for an incredible Veterans Day Weekend giveaway here in Indianapolis. Take a look at a few of the many moving stories submitted below.
Nominated by daughter, Brittany Kelly
“My father, Greg Glaze, served in Desert Storm as a US Army First Lieutenant. After returning from service, he raised 3 children and has a loving marriage and a successful career. Over the past 10 years, he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis largely based on his time in the military (for which he was awarded full disability). He deals with an invisible illness that on most days can be debilitating.
Despite this, he has the most positive attitude of anyone I know. You can count on him to make you smile or make your day better, no matter what his has felt like. He consistently offers career advice, mentorship, or guidance to friends and neighbors. Both children and adults are inspired by him. The neighborhood kids love to visit with him. He reads books with them, gives them recommendation letters for student council positions, and offers up his yard for kickball games on a weekly basis. He takes time to get to know community members and their stories, from the Walmart greeter to the movie theater ticket-taker.
On top of that, he devotes most of his days to taking my grandfather, his father, to the VA for medical care. My grandfather was a Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient and my father checks on him, spends time with him, and advocates for quality care.
My father is a pillar in his community and in his family and puts others’ needs before his own.”
Nominated by son, Joe Axe
“Mom and Dad…that’s what I call them. You might call them Petty Officer 2nd Class Axe as they both are veterans. What made their story unique, and the commitments to their service so special is that both of my parents served together, as SeaBee’s in the U.S. Navy, at the same time.
In 1988, shortly after high school, my parents joined the elite construction organization and planned to serve together. For the next 16 years, during 2 Gulf wars, and multiple deployments, my parents faithfully served the people of the United States, all while starting and raising a family of 3 kids.
During this time our entire family sacrificed together as we endured losing both parents from time to time to deployments, training away from home, etc, which put an enormous stress on all of us. While enlisted, they were both constantly awarded for their efforts and consistently advanced in rank.
It was my mom, however, that always found a way to not only keep us together, but also teach us to grow stronger as a family.
My dad still endures the permanent injury to his knee, wears a brace, and is in constant pain, but it was my mom that found a way to serve the people of this country for 16 years, but not miss a step in her tougher role: Mom.”
Nominated by husband, Edwin Lancaster
“Luonna is the “We Honor Veterans” coordinator for Kindred Hospice of Avon. Her efforts bring veterans and non-veterans from the local areas together as volunteers to recognize our Hoosier veterans on hospice care. She coordinates home and facility visits, connecting these veterans together to honor their service and sacrifices to the nation. She presents them with fellowship, recognition of their importance, and a heartfelt appreciation for their service during the final weeks of their lives.
Luonna is dedicated to ensuring no Hoosier passes alone and unrecognized by connecting with people who so often a time of loneliness. Her efforts elevate our veterans and citizens from the depths of obscurity as they approach death by honoring the personal sacrifices they made for all of us as Hoosiers and Americans.”
Finally, we wanted to share Normand Marchand’s story, pictured below. Norman won Visit Indy’s giveaway package to experience the #ShiningALightIndy premiere in true VIP fashion in honor of his enduring dedication to Indiana veterans and their families. Normand and his family will be welcomed to the premiere by members of the Visit Indy team to get the insider’s scoop and view the spectacle from our VIP section. To round out Veterans Day weekend, he and his family will enjoy dinner at St. Elmo’s, drinks at Hotel Tango Distillery, and Sunday’s Colts game.
Nominated by daughter, Nancy Marchand-Martella
“My father is 83 years young. He is a proud veteran, having served in the Air Force. He is a member of the Thorntown American Legion and participates with the VFW in Lebanon from time to time. My father has dedicated his life in remembrance of veterans. He marches in all parades, places flags directly on the graves of veterans in many cemeteries in Boone County (and actually puts them on the graves rather than placing them along the drive), and, most importantly, participates in the funerals of veterans who have passed away.
My father has worked hard to learn how to fold the flag and presents it to the family with tears in his eyes. He also shoots a rifle during the ceremony in the traditional gun salute. Additionally, my father plays Taps on the bugle. He runs from one thing to the next during the funeral, all in honor of those who served their country. My father has never complained about the weather, the brutal cold and the rainy days. He does it to honor the veteran’s family.
Finally, my father bought an old sewing machine and makes little draw string bags out of the small flags that adorn the graves. He puts the shells gathered during the funeral ceremony into these little bags and presents them to the families along with the perfectly folded flags. My father is a special man who cries when he sees the flag. He is certainly deserving of an award for someone who served his country with honor and dignity and who continues to give back because it is the right thing to do. I am so proud of the man I call my dad.”
We are honored to highlight the stories of these men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our country. We look forward to bringing light to our deserving veterans at the #ShiningALightIndy premiere this Saturday, Nov. 9. Learn more about the premiere and Shining A Light project here.
Communications & Marketing Intern, Downtown Indy, Inc.