[October 5, 2020] This past sunny Saturday afternoon, I drove to a small radio station about 30 minutes from my home. Radio talk-show host Joe Griffies invited me to discuss veterans, current events, and to honor some of our heroes. Joe has a show called Welcome Home Veterans (see his Facebook page here).1 His life is dedicated to helping our vets. We need more people like Joe.
Today’s leadership article is not about Joe; he wouldn’t have it any other way. Joe is all about the veteran. He sees our vets not getting treated fairly or honorably, and he is highly motivated to do something about it. For example, he had a call from a Richard, a vet who lives in Delaware, who is at odds with his HOA over a backyard American flag display. The Army veteran is being fined $50 per day. Joe Griffies tells Richard that U.S. federal law prohibits HOAs from this type of action.2 The homeowner is going to win this fight. This controversy is what motivates Joe.
In the studio was a wonderful woman named Elsie Stevens. Elsie had been helping her neighbor, Alex Horanzy, who recently passed away at 98 years of age. Mr. Horanzy was a survivor of Pearl Harbor. She relays the story of U.S. Army private Horanzy on the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, when Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor. After being woken by the bombing, Private Horanzy and his buddies ran to their antiaircraft guns, some being killed along the way. He operated the gun until the attack was over. Shortly after that, he was sent to fight the Japanese throughout the war.
Also in the radio studio was Bill Davenport. Bill regularly helps Joe Griffies on his radio program. Both Bill and Joe are disabled Vietnam veterans. They have the kind of relationship rarely witnessed today. They make a great team, inseparable, committed, and energized by helping veterans. Bill sat next to me and gave told some funny stories about Joe and the radio station. I got to meet the station manager, Jonnie, who seemed to be operating all the controls and getting people on the telephone for Joe to interview.
We had the privilege to hear from Vince Kane, director of the Delaware VA, to update how the Veterans Administration is expanding coverage for our vets. Vince helps set the tone for veteran medical care in this VA region. He is the dedicated professional you want to work with you. Vince had several insights on opening a new clinic in southern New Jersey and expecting faster and even better medical care soon.
I was happy to hear the voice of Ruth Ann Bosworth, president of the South Jersey Quilts of Valor program. She told of the origins of giving quilts to veterans to honor them and for comfort. During the U.S. Civil War, soldiers would be given a hand-made blanket to travel off to war. The blanket had the smells of their home’s kitchen on it and thus providing a calming influence. The Quilts of Valor is a wonderful organization. I recommend anyone who wants to help vets to read more about those who hand-make the quilts and consider a generous donation.
Joe Griffies, thank you for what you are doing to help our veterans. If I ever need a bulldog to help me out, I know who to call.
- The “Welcome Home Veterans” radio show is on WIBG 1020 AM and WIBG 101.3 FM each Saturday from 2 to 4 pm.
- Public Law No: 109-243: Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 – States that a condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use. https://www.congress.gov/bill/109th-congress/house-bill/42