Today, Carroll Hospice honored and thanked veterans for their service to our country during its annual We Honor Veterans breakfast.
“Carroll Hospice hosts the veterans breakfast first and foremost because it is right to honor our veterans and recognize them for their service to our country,” said Carroll Hospice volunteer coordinator Kim Benson. “It is also a wonderful way to support our We Honor Veterans program mission and introduce our guests to wonderful and inspirational speakers.”
Janice Chance, president and chaplain of the Gold Star Mothers, Maryland Chapter, spoke to the crowd of more than 120 veterans and their guests.
On September 9, 2008, Chance received the news that every parent dreads. Her son, Marine Captain Jesse Melton III, was killed in action in Afghanistan that year when the Humvee he was in drove over an improvised explosive device (IED). It was two months before his 30th birthday.
She described her eldest son as someone who was an avid reader, an active church member and a sports fan who especially loved football, salsa dancing and scuba diving. “Jesse the marine was my quiet storm—a servant leader, a man of integrity, a man of honor, an outstanding officer and a gentleman. Simply put, he was my family’s hero,” she said.
Jesse was supposed to be off duty the day of his death, but instead he willingly agreed to take the place of a fellow Marine, Chance said. Two days later, that Marine’s baby was born.
“Our family will never forget [Jesse’s] love, generosity, tenacity, loyalty and infectious smile … his great sense of humor, devotion to his family, friends and fellow Marines, and his ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” she said.
Through the Gold Star Mothers, Chance frequently gives back to the military community. “I have a deep appreciation for veterans and active duty service members and Gold Star families. Our heroes will always have a special place in my heart,” she said. “I am determined to do all that I am able to serve and support them and ensure that their selfless service and sacrifice is never ever forgotten. … Everyone that has served and their families have made sacrifices to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today as a nation.”
This marked the first veterans breakfast for James Mingle, an Air Force veteran who served during Desert Storm and a Carroll Hospice chaplain. “I loved it. It was emotional and also very touching,” he said. “There’s truth in the saying that freedom isn’t free.”