Veteran’s Day is a celebration of all of the men and women who have given their lives or who have served in the army to keep our country free. Many of them have died, but some are still around today.
Everyone you meet who knows a veteran will tell you who their hero is, but today I want to talk about my hero.
My papa, Jerry Dean Chaney, was a Korean War veteran. In the army, he had his own tank and drove the generals around. He never fought in actual conflict as the war ended before he was deployed overseas, and he was part of peacetime – wartime maneuvers and retired from the service right as the war ended.
To me, just serving our country in training and preparing was enough to make him a hero in my eyes.
Papa was one of 17 kids, and grew up with the belief that hard work would get you to where you wanted to be. He met my nana and married her when she was 17. They were married for 63 years.
They were the kind of couple that I strive to be one day, and my papa was the kind of man that I hope to find someone similar to one day.
When I was growing up, he was always there for me along with my nana. My papa was kind and considerate, but most of all he was hard working.
After the army, he started his own construction company, Chaney and Sons, Inc. The company ran for years, and I can still remember him coming home from work when I was younger, talking about the job he did that day.
I still remember the smell of concrete and caulking that would follow him, mixed with Old Spice, his favorite aftershave. He always brought me a treat, usually from a convenience store down the street that he stopped at after work. He would always bring my nana something too.
He was the rock of our family and always made us feel safe. My papa had a heart of gold and would give people the shirt off his back. He never even thought about himself or what it would cost, he was always willing to help others. It’s something that I’ve tried to emulate in my own life as I grow up.
The thing I remember most about my papa was his determination. He was always dedicated to his family and to his work, but never put his work before family. He taught me determination and to value family.
My papa is my hero because even though he never fought in the war, he served his country, kept his family safe and always worked hard to get what he wanted and what he needed. He was the kindest, most warm hearted man I’ve ever known and I will forever miss him.