I grew up in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK) on a dairy farm where my mother, father, brothers, uncles, aunts and grandparents went to the barn, worked in the fields and had other jobs to provide for their respective families. Back then your handshake and word meant something. We didn’t have anything given to us. Our family worked for everything we had, and it didn’t come easy.

After working on the family farm and trying other types of work I decided I would join the US Army, where I spent twenty-eight and a half years and retired after reaching the rank of Sergeant Major, a height only one per cent of enlisted Soldiers will reach.

While serving, I had friends from all ethnic groups and backgrounds. My wife is Chinese, and I also have a son-in-law who is half black and two grandchildren the same. I’ve always treated my friends and Soldiers as people. I was taught by my dad: treat people as you want to be treated.

I’ve served in every major conflict from the early 1990’s to Afghanistan. I’ve seen friends and others die, which is part of being a leader and Soldier for our country, which leads me to the following: before you judge me and this article, I would like you to know: the only prejudice I’ve been accused of is having a Soldier work hard for himself and the Army to get ahead.

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