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Commemorating Honor and Service

November 9, 2018
John Hairston
John Hairston

Each Veterans Day, we celebrate and honor the service and sacrifices of all veterans of our Nation’s armed services. Veterans Day 2018 marks the Centennial Commemoration of the end of World War I—once considered the war to end all wars.

I often recount my own stories on important occasions such as Veterans Day. This Veterans Day, I’m proud to recognize and share perspectives from a few of our associate veterans who wanted to tell their stories. Like so many other associates who are veterans and veterans and active-duty military around the globe, they have courageously served our country. They also continue to serve our clients and communities, creating opportunities forged from the freedoms they defended. Their commitment to service truly reflects our Nation’s founding principles and our core values.

Associate Veterans Points of View:

Wesley Benham • Bradenton, Florida • Regional Sales Leader • U.S. Army (3 years)

Benham_Wesley (2018)Being part of the U.S. Army was a great start for me to adulthood. I joined the summer after my high school graduation and was based at Fort Irwin, California. During my tenure, I had the privilege to work with many generals and other army leadership and was able to build a strong foundation of process and focus to reach goals.

I first joined the Army to provide myself with direction and a more focused path. In retrospect on Veterans Day, having served gives me a warm sense of pride to know that I was a part—even if only in some small way—of something that supports our country and defends the fine way of life we’ve developed in America. One nation under God, indivisible.


Chandra Britt • New Orleans • Financial Services Specialist • U.S. Army (4 years)Chandra Britt2_300 revised cropped-1

I joined the U.S. Army because I wanted to serve my country. I served in a Combat Heavy Engineering Battalion where I worked in Battalion Logistics (Supply). This job gave me the opportunity to ensure my unit had everything they needed to function during peacetime and wartime. I was stationed in Ft. Jackson, Ft. Lewis, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. I also experienced being a female soldier in a foreign country where women had no rights.

Being a veteran gives me a sense of pride like no other. When a veteran comes into a financial center, you learn about their service, they find out you served, and the dynamics immediately change. The camaraderie and bond veterans share are amazing. I honed my financial and client services skills in the military, which has helped me succeed as a banker for more than 23 years. Army Strong!


Morris Gray 2_REVISED-1Morris Gray • New Orleans • Commercial Portfolio Manager • U.S. Army Veteran (28 Years)

I joined the U.S. Army to serve my country and to travel. I retired as a lieutenant colonel. During my service, I saw many places such as Germany, Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The best part was traveling—meeting new people (I met my wife while serving) and serving as sort of an ambassador for the United States. Seeing other parts of the world really creates an appreciation of what we have here in our own country.

To me, Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have endured hardships from something greater than themselves.



Schultz_Alan (2018)_revised 2-2Alan Schultz • Gulfport, Mississippi • Digital Applications Analyst • U.S. Navy-Seabees (12 years)

I joined the U.S. Navy to keep up a longstanding family tradition. I was able to travel all over the world a number of times. I was stationed at NMCB 1, Gulfport, Mississippi; CBU 419, Orlando, Florida; Naval Weapons Station RR, Puerto Rico / Vieques; and CBU 410, Jacksonville, Florida. I was deployed to Guam, Rota, Spain, Sicily, and the Saudi Arabia /Kuwaiti border in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. As a Seabee, I lived with locals, learned many new cultures, and saw the world first-hand. The good always seemed to outweigh the bad. 

Every day is Veterans Day for me. The holiday only signifies the day others see and hear what veterans accomplished. I still volunteer and believe in the creed “Vets helping Vets.” The Navy taught me to always move forward, to continue doing something—anything—to keep growing but not to forget the past. 


Gratitude to our Guardians

We’re forever indebted to our veterans and active military for defending the ideals we cherish as Americans. When enemies have threatened our country, we have called on our service men and women; and they have boldly stepped forward as patriots, protectors, defenders, fighters, peacemakers, and peacekeepers. The world knows them as guardians whose wholehearted service and valor secure our country and keep us safe.

To the brave members of our Armed Forces, we humbly offer not only our gratitude but also our unwavering support on Veterans Day and every day. We thank you and your loved ones for your selflessness as you safeguarded the liberties we all enjoy. You represent a long, distinguished line of honor and integrity.