Veterans Day was established for Americans to observe and honor our military veterans for their contributions and loyalty in service to our country. Tomorrow across the nation, we will express our deep respect and appreciation for our military veterans whose heroic deeds have protected us and maintained peace by their service, contributions and sacrifice.
We would like to share what some of the members of the Gold’s Gym family of franchisees and suppliers have expressed to us recently about how they or their family members have served.
GGFA Executive Director
“I have two family members who served in WWII, my father and my uncle (my Mother’s brother):
T Moffatt Burriss-Captain (Major right after war), company commander, 504 Regiment, 82 Airborne Division. Some of the major battles: Anzio Beachhead –lost most of his company –went from 130 men to 13. The Battle of the Bulge. Operation Market Garden, about which the book” A Bridge Too Far” was written and a movie made later. Robert Redford played a composite role in the movie of the Battalion commander, my father and a Lieutenant in my father’s company. After crossing the Waal River in rafts (during which he was shot and lost half his men) he and his company captured the Nijmegen Bridge. For his role in that battle, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and later, the Nijmegen Medal of Honor. He also was awarded two Bronze Stars among several other awards. He is 96 now and is still speaking to groups about the WWII book he wrote entitled “Strike and Hold”.
John F. R. Hay-1st Lieutenant –joined the Army right out of Davidson College and was sent to the Philippines, where he led a tank brigade against the Japanese. Was captured and survived the Bataan Death March but later died of malnutrition in a POW camp. He received two Silver Stars.”
John H. Burriss, Sr.
Gold’s Gyms Columbia, SC
“I retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Colonel after 23 years of service, 3 years on active duty and 20 years in the Ready Reserve. I began my military career as a midshipman in the Naval ROTC at Georgia Tech. Upon graduation I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and went through officers basic school at Quantico, VA. I subsequently served as a Combat Engineer at Camp LeJeune, NC and then as a seagoing Marine in the Mediterranean. Upon being released from Active duty I immediately became active in the MC reserves serving in many leadership capacities. I had duty assignments with Heavy Tanks, Amphibious Tractors, Motor Transport and Logistics. I was fortunate that my civilian employers supported my Marine Corps parallel career.
I urge you to give a Semper Fi shout out for the 240th birthday of the Marine Corps today, November 10!”
Gold’s Gyms of Douglasville and West Cobb, GA
“I served in the United States Army 81st Brigade HHC1-161 in a Calvary Scout platoon and reach the rank of Staff Sergeant from 1995-2005. Deployed to Iraq 2003 attached to the 1st Calvary Division. I was tasked as a Battalion commanders Asset where I and my men conducted route and area reconnaissance, IED search’s to include quick reactionary forces.”
Steven P Meisner
Buck & Affiliates Insurance
“I served as an officer in the United States Air Force and earned the Rank of Captain. I worked within the Tactical Air Command as a Cost and Management Analyst.”
Dr. Andrea Asha Rodriguez
Gold’s Gym Orangeburg, SC
“I come from long family tradition of serving our country through the Military. As far back as the Civil War every male in my family has served in active duty. My father is retired Air Force 22 years with two tours in Vietnam. My Grandfather was retired Navy 29 years and was stationed on the USS Arizona when it was bombed in Pearl Harbor.
I truly feel serving our country in the military has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life! I learned more about being a man in my 10 years of active duty than in any other time in my life. I served in the USAF from 1982-1992, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant. I received a great formal education paid for by the government, traveled the world and was fortunate enough to work with every DOD branch and some great Special Forces Men.
“My father was William O’Rourke. He passed away almost 6 years ago. He was an Air Force Academy graduate and retired as a full Colonel from the US Air Force after over 30 years of service. He served in Vietnam during the war flying the F4 Phatom where he was highly decorated and flew nearly 300 missions.”
GGFA Think Tank
“My husband, Lieutenant Colonel Guy DeWees, will be retiring from the US Army in May 2016 after 27 years of service. Together, we have lived in 5 states and 2 countries.
Following in her dad’s footsteps is my daughter, Cadet Sydney DeWees, who is a yearling/sophomore at the United States Military Academy at West Point.”
“I served in the US Army as an Air Assault Combat Medic for 8 years active duty; I am a decorated war veteran from my service in the Persian Gulf War , along with many other awards and medals.”
Bruce L. Quickel, II
“My father, Eugene Abt, served in General Patton’s Third Army, Yankee Division, in the European Campaign of World War II 1943-44. His brother served in the 82nd Airborne of the US Army as a glider trooper, also in the European Campaign.
My son, Staff Sergeant Nicholas A. Collins, is currently serving on active duty aboard Fort Benning, GA. He is in training to become an instructor in the Army Ranger program. He has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). In 2012 he was named Marine of the Year for 2nd Division.
As a family, we are not only very proud of them, we appreciate the sacrifices of all of our veterans and active duty service men and women, and that of their families.”
Below are photos of Steven Meisner while serving.