Years ago, I used to be really close friends with a veteran. Well, he did not start out being a veteran. I met him in my Health class in college. He was Nigerian – Igbo in fact – and we became quick friends. He had the kind of humor that I understood and appreciated. I introduced him to Funmie and other friends and everyone liked him. Then by the end of the Semester, he told me that he had to travel to California, and I thought that was pretty cool. I asked him what he was going for and he said, “You never asked me what I do for a living.” And I felt pretty bad for not asking him. He always went to work at night and silly me, I just assumed he did direct care as many Nigerians did (d0) while in school. My friend was not a direct worker. He was a Marine and he was going to California to train because he had been deployed to Iraq. What!
I always made jokes about him taking his Blackberry to the front line, just in case I had to ping him. Even if you’re shooting insurgents, I told him, just tell them to hold on because one Vera like that is calling you. It was funny. We laughed. I don’t know how he felt, but for me, I was freaking out inside. I was not that close to anyone who had gone or was going to war. He was my first.
While in Iraq, he’d write letters every now and then and I’d always reply. He told me how my letters made him feel better. He told me how difficult it was in Iraq. That they were carrying about 100 pounds on them and walking in over 100 hundred degrees of heat – all this while fighting insurgents and trying to avoid IEDs.
I used to be soooooo afraid. I remember that the New York Times used to have a list of fallen heroes on their website. I used to check it all the time. I didn’t want to check it, but whether I checked it or not, it still tormented me. My heart would be in my mouth each time I opened that page. The numbers of fallen heros kept growing larger and larger. I wondered what wives, moms, husbands, and fathers were going through. Even worse, what would they do when they received that knock?
I am happy to report that my friend made it back safely – and with all his limbs. I’m so grateful to God for keeping him safe. Ever since that day, I have become especially sensitive to things that concern our heros. I hate hearing about the Federal Government trying to cut salaries or benefits for them. Not good at all. If anything, they are underpaid and overworked. I have a dream to support the military. It’s one of my many, many dreams. And honestly, that is why I agreed to this campaign. Whatever I can do to help the military (and all the men and women in uniform, ex policemen/women), I will do.
And this is why I am very grateful to CK Mondavi. So what does CK Mondavi wine have to do with the military, you’re wondering? Well, CK Mondavi is the only American made/grown wine in the “supermarket wine under $10” category, and it is run by the legendary Napa Valley wine icon, Peter Mondavi Sr., a World War II veteran. [Go Peter!] Established in the 1940s, CK Mondavi remains a family- owned business that has thrived for four generations to produce fine wines. [I can testify to this].
CK Mondavi wine is sold nationwide in every US state, and a percentage of each bottle sold between May – August is donated to Intrepid Fallen Heroes (up to $50,00). How cool is that?? Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), an organization that supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. Funded entirely by public donations, IFHF serves U.S. military personnel wounded or killed in service to our nation and their families. For more information, visit www.fallenheroesfund.org
Please comment below to share your own story about supporting veterans and/or American-made products. I will select ONE reader to be entered into CK Mondavi’s grand prize drawing by May 15. The grand prize is a $500 donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in the winner’s name!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.