Veterans share their stories at Covenant program

Veterans Day program takes place early on Nov. 10.

Special to the Reporter

Usual ceremonies for Veterans Day at Covenant Living at the Shores were replaced this year by an in-house broadcast of interviews with some of the resident veterans on Nov. 10. This allowed for a recognition of those who served so all residents could watch from the comfort and safety of their apartments on the 245th anniversary of the Marine Corps.

The community’s chaplain, Greg Asimakoupoulos, conducted the live interviews over the course of a few weeks. For Veterans Day, during the one-on-one interviews, Asimakoupoulos asked four resident veterans about their experience and how serving our country influenced the rest of their lives:

Captain Charlie Hammer, US Air Force: Hammer started in the ROTC program, earned his medical degree as a doctor of dermatology during his years of military service and he also was a flight surgeon in Morocco. He feels that his years of service contributed to his better understanding of what true patriotism means to him.

Dick Gates, lieutenant colonel, US Army: Gates came from family of veterans, graduated from West Point in 1960, served for 20 years as a mine warfare specialist and ended his career at the Pentagon. He thinks that some of his research was used in the Iraq War by General Norman Schwarzkopf, who was a West Point classmate of his brother. He feels that serving his country has helped him to be more sensitive and involved in current world events today.

Bruce Peters, lieutenant colonel, US Army: Peters started his 25-year military career in the ROTC program where he was an admissions counselor during his reserve duties. He shared fond memories from being stationed overseas in Germany.

Captain Dave Wellman, US Air Force: Wellman served in the Air Force for eight years as a pilot and flew B-52s and B-57s. One of his most remembered memories was when he was serving in Guam and Bob Hope came to visit his troops on New Year’s Day. After sending Hope a letter of thanks for the special USO Christmas Tour performance, months later he received an autographed picture of Hope signed “To David C. Wellman, Thanks for the Memory, My best, Bob Hope.” Wellman said he counted on his strong faith and trust in God to help him through his time of enlistment.