During National Military Appreciation Month, we celebrate the men and women of America’s armed forces for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Started in 1999, National Military Appreciation Month provides opportunities to highlight the contributions of those who have served through six national observances:
- Loyalty Day: May 1
- Public Service Recognition Week: May 5 – 11
- Victory in Europe (V-E) Day: May 8
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day: May 10
- Armed Forces Day: May 18
- Memorial Day: May 27
We are also proud to serve veterans in our programs. One is Ricardo “Rick” Romney, age 74. Rick suffered head trauma in a motor vehicle accident just 13 days after he was married. The extensive care he needed and the behavioral issues he developed because of his injury made it impossible for his young and loving wife to continue to care for him. Prior to his accident, Rick had been a lance corporal in the United States Marine Corps and served as an infantryman in Guam and in Vietnam. He is also the father of three children.
Although he has no memories of his days in the service, Rick always stands and salutes anyone in uniform. “Rick volunteered for the Marine Corp when he was 17 years old,” explained Rick’s sister, Patricia Romney. “My mother had to give her signed permission because he was underage. He completed his training at Parris Island, South Carolina and requested deployment to Vietnam. Rick was a patriot who wanted to serve there in order to help ‘keep the world safe for democracy.’ He served two tours of duty in Vietnam. When he returned to the states, safe but for some minor shrapnel wounds, he joined the National Guard to continue his service to the country. He was still active in the National Guard when he had his accident in the fall of 1980. While he lay, brain injured, in his hospital bed, he never failed to salute the flag whenever it appeared on the television screen of his hospital room. He loves America.”
MHA has supported Rick for many years. Today he lives in an MHA residence designed specifically for persons with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The first day he saw his home at MHA, he said, “I like it. I really like it.” The direct care staff assists Rick with activities of daily living and helps him get to appointments, always supporting him with respect, integrity and compassion. While Rick sadly does not remember the names of his caring staff, even those who’ve been with him for years, he still loves to play cards, and his family is so appreciative of the care he receives.
To everyone who has served or is serving today, MHA extends our sincere thanks and admiration. Your service to country matters.