Each year at AAA Northeast, we honor our employees and family members of employees who have served in the U.S. military.
For this year’s Veterans Day, we thought it would be nice to recognize the holiday with some first-person accounts. So we asked some what their military service means to them. Here’s what they said:
Ryan Gabel, U.S. Marine Corps, 2009-2013
Public Affairs Associate, Wayne, N.J.
Ryan achieved the rank of corporal as a tank crewman and served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“While Veterans Day is a holiday to celebrate all of those who served, it is important to me to remember those who are no longer with us, not just on Veterans Day or Memorial Day, but every day of the year. I lost my best friend in combat. It’s extremely important to me that his sacrifice – and the sacrifice of others who paid the ultimate price – was not in vain.”
Bradford Ellsworth, U.S. Air Force, 1983-1988
Approved Auto Repair Specialist, Providence, R.I.
Bradford achieved the rank of staff sergeant and served as support staff during conflicts. He received the Air Force Achievement Medal while serving in the special operations group RED HORSE (rapid engineer deployable heavy operational repair squadron engineer) in Osan, Korea.
“Being a veteran means knowing I served my country and made a difference in doing so.”
Timothy Hamoy, U.S. Marine Corps, 1991-1995
Senior Member Relations Counselor, Garden City, N.Y.
Timothy earned the rank of corporal and received humanitarian awards for helping in Cuba and Haiti during his service.
“Being a veteran means that you were willing to give all for your country and your fellow Marines. It’s a bond only the few and the proud can experience, unlike anything regular civilians will know. It is something to be very proud of.”
Tim Longo, U.S. Navy, 1985-1991, Persian Gulf War
Senior Systems Administrator, Wayne, N.J.
Tim said he followed his dreams into the Navy, because he had a longtime interest in submarine service. He earned the rank of petty officer 2nd class and honors including a submarine qualified breast insignia, Navy expeditionary medal, Southwest Asia service medal with a bronze star, a sea service deployment ribbon with three bronze stars, an Arctic service ribbon, a national defense medal and multiple letters of commendation. He was also inducted into Order of the Blue Nose, a designation for sailors who cross the Arctic Circle while serving.
“Being on active duty provided me with educational opportunities and experiences that shaped my adult life. I also made friendships that continue to this day. I will always be grateful for the time I had in the Navy.”
Master Sgt. Greg McLaughlin, U.S. Army retired, 1966-2006, Vietnam War
Member Service Counselor, Automotive Services, Providence, R.I.
Greg has always been a proud American and lives by the motto “God, country and family.”
He decided to enlist in the Army rather than being drafted into the Vietnam War, and it became his longtime career. He retired as master sergeant after 40 years. During his service, he received the Army Commendation Medal. He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the Retired Enlisted Association.
Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip Morales, U.S. Coast Guard, 17 Years
Son-in-law of Pat Rosenthal, Data Analyst, E-Business, Providence, R.I.
Petty Officer Morales was recently awarded an Air Medal for his actions during the March rescue of 31 people from a sinking ship off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. As a flight mechanic, he was personally responsible for hoisting eight people to the safety of his helicopter, according to the Coast Guard. To read more and watch a video, use this link to visit the Cape Cod Times website.
“Having an active-duty service member in the family is a constant reminder of how very fortunate we are to have individuals who are willing to make so many sacrifices so we may enjoy life safely and freely,” Pat said.
Wayne Richard Rogers, U.S. Marines Reserves, 1980-1988
Brother of Diann Wilson, Supervisor of Processing, Insurance, Providence
“My big brother was always my protector. The fact that he was willing to do this for the country as well wasn’t a surprise,” Diann said.