A Day To Honor
November 12, 2012, by Michele Gila
These days, it would be nearly impossible to be an American and not have someone you know personally who has served in the military. For most of us in my generation, it was often our Father or Grandfather. For more and more Americans, the connection is their Spouse or Parent, Daughter or Son. You don’t have to look far to find someone who has served our country.
Like many young men of his generation who could not otherwise afford college, Mark’s father, Colonel David E. Wheeler, chose to pursue his education through the opportunities the ARMY offers. Raised very poor in Florida, partly due to his father’s untimely death, the Army was his path to higher education and a middle class experience for his family.
Col. Wheeler graduated 17th in his class of 469 cadets from the US Military Academy at West Point, NY in 1955. After West Point, he achieved masters degrees in nuclear and civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Col. Wheeler went on to a successful career in the ARMY, serving in Vietnam, Antarctica, Germany, Italy and several USA bases. For many years he taught engineering at West Point. He then went on to a civilian engineering career after retiring from the military.
His family is very proud of his accomplishments and he is a role model for all of us.
Michele’s father Richard A. Gila similarly joined the NAVY in 1962 with hopes of getting an education and starting a career. Raised in New Jersey, then moved to Florida with his widowed Mother and five siblings, opportunities were going to need to be found to get ahead.
Newlywed and now a young father, he could get training in a variety of fields by actively serving. Getting stationed at Moffet Field in Mountain View, CA was just the luck he needed to get started in the electronics industry, right as the Silicon Valley was developing as the heartland of technology. He spent his career years in management for many of the manufacturing companies in San Jose & Fremont, and is now enjoying retirement in the snowy foothills of the Sierra Mountains.
While these two men are clearly near and dear to us, their stories are not unique. Look around you and notice the people in your work place, in your school, in line at the grocery store, in your yoga class. Chances are someone in the same room has actively served or is related to someone who has or still is following that path. And on this day, as a country, we choose to honor them.
Who do you know who is a Veteran? Or perhaps you, the reader of this article, are a Veteran. Did you know that here in Portland, OR our Realtor Association has developed a tool for you to use to search, without obligation, loan programs and resources for you to use for your housing needs? At hownw.com you will find Military Resources for Homeownership as well as for renovations, all specific to Veteran’s benefits. We developed this website to put all the resources together in one easy to navigate place, so that anyone needing assistance can find accurate information. All programs are vetted every two weeks so that we can assure the accuracy of the information. No sign up is needed, nor will your details be collected or shared. It is information without obligation.
While many of the loan programs and renovation resources are local to Portland and to Oregon, you can find information there that can help locate Veterans resources nationwide. Some of our favorites are the VA Special Home Adaptation Grant and the Active Duty/Veteran Construction Loan, both of which can be used anywhere in the US.