Networking events for IT professionals. Award winning blog series. Weekly podcast. Meet. Read. Listen. By @echodave, @bobwaltenspiel

Meet The Troops Day 6. Time For Some Perspective

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So, who are we helping with our event on December 15th?

You’ve read the primer on why we’re doing this.

You know we’re helping local Michigan people in the military stationed overseas.

You’ve got the event booked in your calendar and you’ll be there.

You read the Frequently Asked Questions about the event and you’re ready.

You met Dawn on Friday, and then Mike on Saturday, then Jon and Morgan and Tim through the weekend and this week.

Well, now it’s time to meet Aaron…

…and I’d love for you to meet Aaron.

Russ would love for you to meet Aaron.

His parents would love you to meet him.

But you can’t.  At least in any way other than here, like this.

Aaron won’t be getting any of the things that we gather on Thursday night.  He won’t be coming to one of our future events so that you can buy him a beer in person and clap him on the back.

Guys like Aaron are the reason that we think sending packages that do not suck to our Troops in Afghanistan is a damned good idea.

Aaron Ullom
Aaron Ullom

Aaron was a Navy Corpsman and was sent to Afghanistan early last year.  He was a graduate of Midland High School, and was 20 years old.

As a Navy Corpsman, he was attached to a US Marine platoon. 

When his Platoon Leader was wounded in action, Aaron exposed himself to fire, plugged the wounds and by doing so saved the life of his Marine. 

Unfortunately, while he was helping the wounded Marine to cover, Aaron was shot and killed.

Aaron wasn’t a SEAL.  He wasn’t some kind of Special Forces guy.  He was a kid from Midland that wanted to serve his country and joined the Navy.  Because his father is a nurse, he wanted to become a Corpsman.  Every one of the people in our “Meet the Troops” category out at http://www.ITinTheD.com/category/meet-the-troops/ faces the possibility that this could happen to them every day

All bullshit aside folks…if nothing else hammered the point home for you…this is why this is worth doing.

We take a lot of things for granted in our day to day lives…I know I do.  We all do.

I don’t stop to think about the fact that I don’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a mortar shell going off outside my window.  When I go for a walk down the street, I don’t constantly scan rooftops for the glint of reflected light off of a sniper scope getting ready to fire and take my life.  As a child runs toward me while I’m out for that walk, I don’t stop and wonder if they’re strapped with enough explosives to kill me and leave a gigantic crater in the ground.

My mother’s father, Tommy Thompson (Army), is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  My other grandfather, Robert Phillips (Navy), could have been, but chose to be buried in the small town in Pennsylvania where he lived.

My kid sister’s husband, Shane, is active with the Air Force.  My father in law, Tom, was a Marine in Vietnam.

Several high school friends like my buddy Flick are still active, are in the Reserves, or have retired from the various branches.

We take so much for granted in our day to day lives…and I don’t think any of us ever really stop and think about it.  At all.  Ever.

Well now I’m encouraging you to stop and think about it.  And as you bitch about that meeting that ran long and made you late for lunch…

…when you bang your hands against the steering wheel because you’re stuck in traffic and running late to meet friends in a bar…

…as you worry about finding a new job…

…remember Aaron.

A 20 year old kid who doesn’t worry about getting stuck in traffic.  Won’t be meeting his friends in a bar for a beer…hell, never even made it to be of age to meet his friends in a bar for a beer.  He’ll never have the worry about finding a job, or about bitching about that meeting that will make him late for lunch.

Because he did his job, and paid the ultimate price for doing it, too.  The worst thing that can happen to you or me in our day to day job is probably just getting walked out the door…and while that’s stressful…we can find another job.

So for my grandfathers…for Shane…for Flick…for my father in law…for the friends and relatives in your own lives that have served and possibly even died while doing so…

…for all the men and women like Aaron…that’s why we’re doing this.

We hope to see you tomorrow night at Dragonmead Brewery.

I promise I won’t be so deep and full of heavy thoughts.  I know it’s confusing the hell out of some of you…

As a quick editorial aside, I feel that it’s important to note that after Russ approached me with this particular bio, Aaron’s mother was approached, and gave her blessing to his story being used here so that his story could be told.  I don’t want anyone…ever…thinking that we would use something as serious and important as this man’s death in any other manner.

The event: http://www.ITinTheD.com/meet/

The primer: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2689/support-michigan-military-families/

…and the Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2735/dec-15-faqs/

Plus, don’t forget to meet Dawn http://www.ITinTheD.com/2765/meet-the-troops-part-1/

…or Mike: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2776/meet-the-troops-part-2/

…and Jon: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2779/meet-the-troops-part-3/

…and Morgan: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2786/meet-the-troops-part-4/

…and Tim: http://www.ITinTheD.com/2799/meet-the-troops-part-5/

They’re also all available here: http://www.ITinTheD.com/category/meet-the-troops/

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