It always does my heart good when young men and women return home, safe and sound, from serving their country. It’s especially heartwarming when one of those young men is someone who works for you.
I was so happy to see, Jonathan Havens, one of our Tax Preparers recently returned from a one-year National Guard tour of duty in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, he helped teach advanced S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons And Tactics) to the local police. And from what I understand, his team alone trained approximately 3,000 members of the police force.
Now, Jonathan wasn’t in the situation of shoot or be shot, but it still wasn’t a walk in the park. Afterall, he was in a country that is in the midst of a conflict with much hostility towards foes and, sometimes, even friends.
After getting over the culture shock when he first arrived in Afghanistan, Jonathan and the rest of his team began the difficult task of getting to know the local people and eventually earning their trust.
He did say the thing he enjoyed the most of this experience was seeing the country’s children and getting to interact with them and even help them in different ways, such as providing them money to buy what we consider basic essentials, such as food or clothing.
And what was his first thought when he arrived back home? “The first thing I was thankful for was seeing grass,” he said. Jonathan also said the Afghan experience made him, “appreciate a lot of things you normally take for granted.”
I also want to mention that Jonathan’s father, Ralph, is our Director of Professional Services. Ralph, who spent nine years in the U.S. Marine Corp, and his wife, Laurie, kept in constant contact with Jonathan the entire year he was gone, and I admire their strength in getting through this most trying time.
Jonathan still has two years of National Guard duty ahead of him. We all just hope that wherever he goes next, he will return safe and sound like he did this time. Welcome back, Jonathan!