Richmond Hill attorney Jonathan DeJesus, like many local residents, is a military veteran who observes Veterans Day with solemn pride. He served in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
"It’s easier to (observe Veterans Day) here than it would be in other places because it’s more personal," DeJesus said. "Here, they (veterans) are your neighbors. In other towns people may just see Veterans Day as a day off. We have the opportunity to honor the people who live here, who work here."
DeJesus reaches out to other veterans all year long, as the commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter, Post 7331. The chapter currently has 52 members.
DeJesus said the chapter’s older members, veterans of World War II and Vietnam, understand the difficulties younger soldiers experience serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and can offer emotional support.
"We have one World War II vet who feels our soldiers today have a harder time than in his generation," DeJesus said. ""It’s a different type of fight over there and a different type of schedule."
When he served in Iraq, the young Army officer’s mission was to help Iraqis develop their own judicial system. Now, DeJesus practices family, criminal and personal injury law at The Murray Firm located on Ford Avenue in Richmond Hill.
"I first joined the army in 1991," DeJesus said. "My father was in the service, in the Vietnam War. The military was something I had always wanted to do. I wanted to get out and see the world and get money for college."
DeJesus did just that; his first tour was to Darmstadt, Germany, near Frankfurt.
However, his subsequent assignments were more challenging.
-Read more in the Bryan County News.