Meeting recaps

Brigadier General Paul Owen

Last Friday 11/1/19, our members in attendance were treated to our annual ONE NATION UNDER GOD program.  This program is conducted by Exchange Clubs all around the country and seeks to honor the religious heritage of our nation and celebrate and honor the vital role our military plays in the freedoms we enjoy.

The program began with the presentation of colors by the Junior ROTC from LHHS. Once the flag was properly positioned in front of the ballroom, the Centerstage show choir from LHHS led us in the national anthem. We appreciate these students getting up early and joining us to share their talents.

After a few quick club announcements by President Gale Lewis, our immediate past president Chris Poteet introduced our speaker – Brigadier General Paul Owen. During his remarks we learned about the real situation on the ground in Iraq and other theaters where he has served. He expressly wanted to make certain to honor the veterans in the room and acknowledge the very different (warm) reception he and his present-day colleagues received upon their return home when compared to the unfair and regrettable treatment our Vietnam and Korea troops met upon their return.

One of the key points General Owen shared is the viewpoint that comes from the “Soldier for Life” organization that “soldiers and veterans connect the public with the military by telling their stories.”  Soldiers for Life works to enable Soldiers, Retired Soldiers, Veterans and Families to leave military service “career ready” and connected to an established network to find education, employment and health resources.  He said he was with us (today) “to tell his story and perhaps help our club members better understand the value that past and present military personnel bring to our communities and corporations.

General Owen oversees the Southwestern Division of the US Army Corp of Engineers. This is one of nine divisions in the country and covers district offices in Fort Worth, Tulsa, Little Rock and Galveston.  He has been an active duty soldier for 29 years. He shared many stories and anecdotes about his service around the world. Today he is focused on civil works and military construction projects within his division. This includes waterways and levies along with building projects that provide for and support our troops in their preparation and training activities.

As we approach Veterans Day next Monday please commit to finding at least one actionable idea that will honor and thank a veteran and then follow through.