Service members from the Hampton Roads,
Va., area visited the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, May
9, 2012 to ‘buddy up' with local veterans, volunteers and patients
alike, during a county fair hosted by the medical center. Photo by
Army Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez
HAMPTON, Va. (5/18/2012) - What do you say?
Do you ask them
what it was like or how they feel? Do we ask if they have seen
death? Do they even want to be asked questions about war?
Veterans from the military generations before the fighting in Iraq,
Kuwait and Afghanistan have seen their fair share of wartime.
Thousands of stories can be heard starting from soldiers, sailors,
Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen of wars previous to our current
generation. Warfighters today have many avenues to pay tribute those
men and women who fought before us.
Numerous service members,
including soldiers from the 7th Sustainment Brigade, volunteered
their time to 'buddy up' with veterans, patients and volunteers
alike, during a county fair hosted by the Hampton Veterans Affairs
Medical Center, May 9. Some volunteers came out giving a helping
hand for their first time.
“This is the first time I
volunteered for something like this. It was a good experience. I
wanted to see everyone smile,” said Spc. Ashley Belfield, a human
resource specialist with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, originally from
Belfield added, “I found out today that these
veterans are still helpful. They were willing to talk and help us
what they been through motivating us to stay in and pursue our
Staff Sgt. Krish Lalu, a platoon sergeant with the 271st
Movement Control Team, 53rd Movement Control Battalion, 7th
Sus. Bde., was amazed with his visit even though it was not
his first time interacting with veterans.
amazed with the veterans at this hospital in how much
respect they have for us. They are constantly thanking us
for our service,” said Lalu. “Considering what they been
through, World War II, Korean war they thank you for your
service and it really means a lot.”
Lalu was very
happy to support the local medical center at Hampton.
“The last three years I have been recruiting. and any
chance I have to interact with the community especially if
they are veterans, which we are all going to be one day, I
jump to every opportunity,” said Lalu.
military members are no longer under the radar wearing the
uniform or taking orders from senior leaders. They now are
your average citizen dealing with the daily ups and downs of
life. Unfortunately many get hurt, physically or mentally,
and must receive the care they need to continue living there
lives. Some need more then others.
The event was held
for many reason said Joseph Lewis, HVAMC events director. It
gave the opportunity for patients of the hospital to get out
side and mingle with the staff and enjoy food, music, and
games for a few hours. It also gives a chance for active
service members from around the Hampton Roads area to share
their time with veterans who served in previous generations
"We wanted service members from all over
the area to come and join the festivities and share there
moments and experiences with our vets,” said Lewis. “It
makes our veterans feel good to see the new generation of
men and women fighting for out freedom.”
generation soldiers may have not had family in the military
to learn from and share moments with. Staff Sgt. Clyde
McClendon, assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters
Detachment, 53rd MCB, was deeply impacted by his first
chance to interact with veterans.
“I am the first in
my family to leave Louisiana and join the military. I wanted
to get a chance to do something like this,” said McClendon.
“I would have loved if my father and grandfather joined the
military leaving a legacy for me to follow. I didn't have
that so I have to create a legacy myself.”
added, “Coming out here today talking to a veteran who
joined the Navy joining in 1946, that history you cant read
in a book. That's a story I can tell my kids one day.”
“I have had a chance to tell him about my family and the
legacy I want to leave with my son. The vets out here have
years of experience and when it goes away you miss out on
that,” said McClendon. “You cant figure out where you going
in the future without understanding your past.”
was Belfield's first time dealing with veterans outside her
“My mom is a command sergeant major
stepfather, and father in the army all retired. I love my
family and that they are veterans. They help me choose the
military,” said Belfield. “I understood the military
environment before I joined so I felt comfortable.”
Sgt. Victoria Lampton, a human resources non-commissioned
officer with the HHC, STB, was very appreciative of her
visit to the medical center.
“I came out today to
interact with some veterans to talk about their history with
the military, their experiences and help me with my career
Lampton has been proactive in the
veteran community while stationed at Fort Hood, Fort Drum
and back home in California. Today was just another chance
“I heard about the event this morning, and
thought it would be a good experience for Belfield and I. We
have enjoyed our selves listening to their stories,” said
Lampton. “We learned some history one each of the branches.
In some ways they have been through a lot more then we have.
I hope to take something away from it.”
It could be
difficult to ask, for example, an Army veteran from World
War II or a former Marine from the Vietnam War what is was
like during their time. At the county fair at the HVAMC,
service members simply just said ‘thank you' to the veterans
for their service to the United States of America. It was a
memorable day for many in attendance.
“I wanted to
give my time to veterans who have served. I had a great time
today,” said Lalu. “They were here today ready to give open
knowledge to you so why not take advantage of that.”
By Army Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez
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