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Veteran's Day 2012: Honoring Those Who Serve Our Country - Then and Now

story by Steven Diehl

Veteran’s Day is a special time to honor and thank all who have served in the United States Armed Forces. It is a day to pause and reflect on the tremendous sacrifices so many before us have made and those who are currently risking their lives to protect our safety and freedom.

For some, a life is service is a way for them to continue to honor their fellow servicemen and their country.

Charles "Chuck" Damron began his career in public service when he joined the U.S. Navy at 17 in 1943, during World War II. After 20 years of service, Chuck retired from the Navy as Chief Radioman and continued his career in public service with the U.S. State Department where he served as a telecommunications specialist for 12 years.

In 1977, he moved to Temple with his wife Betty and took employment at Scott and White Hospital as a night registration clerk for 14 years before retiring at the age of 65 in 1991. Chuck learned about the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) when volunteering his time to assemble wildflower seed packets at his mother's senior citizens center.

In 1992, Chuck visited the NRCS state office in search of ways to donate his time to the agency. After meeting with NRCS personnel, he learned about their Earth Team Volunteer program. He immediately signed up and began volunteering his time twice a week in financial management. Twenty years later, Chuck continues to assist NRCS by volunteering a variety of services. He helps the agency by making reproductions of documents, filing contract records and payment vouchers, destroying old documents, and collecting recyclables. These are only a few of the many duties that keep him busy.

Chuck's generosity goes beyond volunteering at NRCS. He also volunteers one day a week at the Temple Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital. He began his volunteer service at the VA in the Medical Record File Room in the same year he started with NRCS. In 1998, he transferred to the Help Hospitalized Veterans organization to work directly with the patients. At the VA Hospital, Chuck passes out craft kits to the bed patients in the wards. His selfless work for the VA hospital does not confine itself to the walls of the hospital, as he collects donated videos for the veterans’ library.

At the age of 86, Chuck is an inspiring example of someone that gave their all, and still somehow continues to keep giving.

On this Veteran’s Day 2012, we salute Chuck Damron and the many other men and women that have served in our Armed Forces and are now serving their country as employees of the NRCS. Thank you all.

Nineteen-year-old Charles (Chuck) Damron, RMC U.S. Navy 1962, in front of his barracks in the Philippines. Salvador Salinas, Texas State Conservationist, presents Chuck with a 20 year Earth Team Volunteer recognition award.

Nineteen-year-old Charles (Chuck) Damron, RMC U.S. Navy 1962, in front of his barracks in the Philippines.

Salvador Salinas, Texas State Conservationist, presents Chuck with a 20 year Earth Team Volunteer recognition award.