Last month APRO members and RTO advocates visited Washington, D.C., to educate and strengthen relationships with their elected members of Congress at the APRO Legislative Conference. Cherry blossoms were at their peak in our nation’s capital during their visit. Many members use this annual event to the Hill to also make time to visit the broad range of historic museums and monuments during their stay.
On a beautiful spring day in April, APRO associate member John Blair of PTS Financial and APRO member and ORDA president, Chip Guy of Buddy’s Home Furnishings, headed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was Chip’s first time in D.C., attending the APRO Legislative Conference. “So, John and I share a bond of both being Marines,” Chip says. “He told me as a Marine, that I was not allowed to miss going by there.”
Chip served in the Marines in Cherry Point North Carolina as a C-130 loadmaster. John is a Vietnam veteran and was awarded the Silver Star for valor at the Battle of Mike’s Hill during the Tet Offensive. He was also inducted to the Georgia Military Hall of Fame on Nov 5, 2016, and has been a keynote speaker at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony in Canton, GA, where he speaks on behalf of Vietnam Veterans.
Previously, Chip visited John’s home where he shared some of his mementos from his time in Vietnam. One item Chip recalls was a pocket journal John kept while there. Some of the ink from his pen had bled through due to the rain.
Last month, as Chip and John arrived at the memorial, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon was performing. At the memorial, John laid a photo down where names of members of his platoon were engraved. His unit was made up of 136 men. Only 11 survived.
“I have a lot of buddies up on that wall and I owe it to them,” John recollects. “I always take time off to do that, no matter what. Until you go and you’re there, you don’t understand the magnitude of the memorial. Seeing the listings of all the names and the history of how long it’s been there really brings it into focus.” Chip recalls seeing John sitting and staring off peacefully, remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.