As we honor Veterans Day today in the US, I think fondly of my three heroes and influencers in my life — my Father, my Uncle Art and the father of my longest and closest friend, General Guthrie.  I’ve blogged several times about the impact these three men have made on my life and I will continue to do.   My three heroes, who were all military veterans, have passed in the past three years and each one is resting peacefully at Arlington National Cemetery.

My father was a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, my Uncle Art was a retired Air Force Colonel and General Jack Guthrie was a retired 4-star US Army General.   I learned so much from these men — the important values of honesty, integrity, treating everyone fairly and with respect regardless of rank or race, etc.  They also taught me the joys of watching and avidly following Sports as well as embracing fun in life — having a good sense of humor and enjoying life to its fullest.

Why am I so heavily involved in non-profits, philanthropy, mentoring and community service?  There’s no doubt about the deep impact that two of my mentors, Ted Leonsis and Mario Morino, have made on me over the past 10 – 12 years.  After all, they are two of the leading philanthropists in the greater DC area.  For that, I eternally grateful.

But, in looking back at who impacted me when I was a kid, I absolutely think of Dad, Uncle Art and Gen. Guthrie.  Of course, I must also pay homage to their wives — my wonderful Mom, my beautiful Aunt June and the loving Mrs. “Buppy” Guthrie.   All of these people have shown me so much over the years.

As I promised my father, Uncle Art and General Guthrie on their final days on earth, I will continue to try to do my best to live life the right way – the way they taught me – and will continue to allocate a good portion of my life to giving back, helping others, mentoring others, teaching others, etc.   That is my promise to my heroes — and my small way to carry on the legacies these men taught me.

In closing, if you have the time, when you see a military veteran, please shake their hand and thank them for their service.  Don’t just do it today on Veterans Day, but on any of the other 364 days of the years.   I don’t necessarily care about your politics or beliefs — I ask you to thank them for their commitment and service to this country.  These are indeed brave men and women that are serving our country.  To Dad, Uncle Art, General Guthrie and all of the other military veterans, I love you and Happy Veterans Day.