The Saratoga Sun -

The Zac Attack: Platte Valley shows dedication to soldiers

 


The amount of respect the Platte Valley has for veterans is amazing.

It seems everyone is pulling together to help bring Tyler Pickett Park into view to honor Carbon County’s only soldier who died during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. But these efforts do not mark the first time I recognized the Valley’s outstanding respect for veterans.

Several months ago, my friend Nick who is in the Army National Guard, came to visit me before his deployment with the 133rd. Nick showed up in his uniform, and since nothing was going on that weekend, we decided to drive around town. We ended up at Aspen Sky Merchants. I purchased some DVDs and came to the counter to check out.

The shopkeeper at the counter began to talk with my friend about his deployment and some of the military surplus items in the store.

As we were leaving, I heard the shopkeeper say something very shocking.

“Thank you for your service,” she said.

My friend turned his head slightly and modestly accepted her thank you.

I began to wonder why I thought the encounter was shocking.

I had never heard anyone thank a soldier for their service before, granted I do not have a lot of military friends. At that moment I began to think of all the Facebook posts I have seen thanking soldiers and their families. Most of the ones I have seen have an armed soldier with a desert background with phrases “‘Like’ if you have a loved one in the military” or “Rest in peace to all the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country”. Somehow, the woman’s simple thank you was much different than any of these Facebook posts. It was more personal.

As my friend and I walked to my car, I abandoned the thought. We drove to Valley Foods to get something to eat. After we found some grub, we proceeded to check out. Again, my friend was thanked for his services.

“Thank you,” a woman in the store said to my friend as we were checking out.

I could hardly believe it. Yet another thank you from a complete stranger to my friend in uniform. After we checked out and were back in my car, I had to ask Nick, “Does this happen a lot to you?,”

“Well, in Wyoming it does,” he said. “In Colorado I just get strange looks.”

I again pushed the thought to the back of my mind.

We returned to my apartment, ate and watched one of the movies I bought. After, Nick decided he wanted to relax in the hot springs before leaving Saratoga.

At the hot springs, Nick was once again recognized for his service, and he wasn’t even wearing his uniform — just his dog tags.

Nick fell into yet another conversation about his deployment with a complete stranger who seemed appreciative of his service. Nick and the man started talking about firearms and care packages. The man later talked to me about offering a free subscription to soldiers overseas (a service the Saratoga Sun offers).

The next morning, my friend took off to begin his training, but the events from the other day stuck with me. I began to see how appreciative the people in this Valley are of their veterans. I didn’t realize I was just scraping the tip of the iceburg.

Since Nick’s visit, I have been exposed to large efforts to help veterans and soldiers in need. The Yard’s fundraiser for Wounded Warrior Homes, Joe Elder and the town of Saratoga’s Recreation Department Platte Valley Trout Run, Stacy Morton who hosts fundraisers, Virginia Parker who volunteers to send care packages to soldiers and several others who donate time and money to help our veterans and soldiers.

It seems every time I turn around in the Platte Valley, I am exposed to another example of this Valley’s heart.

I want to thank you all for helping me get over the shock of something that should be commonplace.

 

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