Annie’s Honoring the Brave

It was my first interview with Peak Military Care Network. I was excited because it was with a non-profit and a position practically made for my degree. Even so, I was trying not to get my hopes up because this was probably my fifteenth interview in a job hunt that had been ongoing since late August. It was now late October.

Kate Hatten and Jennifer Wilson sat across from me, perfectly pleasant and amicable. Jennifer asked me if I had any experience planning large-scale events. I nervously played with my rings, knowing full well that being a co-director for Vacation Bible School at my little Lutheran church was not at all a “large-scale event.”

I also knew that honesty, especially in interviews, really is the best policy.

“Well, not exactly,” I replied. “When you say ‘large-scale’…how large do you mean?”

Jennifer smiled, “About 600.”

“Oh! Umm, unfortunately I would have to say I haven’t had experience with something like that. But I’m a fast learner, so I’m sure I’ll be able to catch on pretty quick.”

My first week on the job, with the Honoring the Brave Breakfast about fourteen days away, I learned a whole new meaning of the phrase “catch on.”

That’s the thing about planning fundraisers, events, or special occasions—weeks and months of work goes into a program that lasts maybe an hour and a half. And with the fundraiser literally titled “Honoring the Brave,” I felt a moral responsibility to my organization’s clients to represent and honor them through this breakfast.

With meticulous detail, I stared at my computer screen and adjusted, tweaked, and edited flyers, invitations, emails, social media posts, and pamphlets. I asked Jennifer a million questions and clarifications, frantically emailed print shops, fought with our own office printer, drank lots of coffee, and stuffed 67 packets.

I loved every minute of it.

Partially because I’m the kind of person who likes to be creative and enjoys being busy—but mostly because I knew what I was doing was for something special.

To me, it was a service for those who have served. For those who have sacrificed so much. As a civilian, picking up name-tags at Office Depot was my meager attempt at thanking those who had the drive to enlist in the military, or who dutifully serve as a military spouse.

PMCN’s morning on November 22nd started at about 5:30 a.m. The roads hadn’t been plowed much, but we all slid into The Broadmoor parking garage to put on the final touches.  Being the unofficial photographer (don’t worry, we had a professional come in too), I was given the pleasure of walking around the ballroom before the breakfast started. While everyone else was finding their places, getting yummy pastries and chatting—I was capturing moments as unobtrusively as my flash would allow.

During my quiet observations behind the lens, I discovered what the Honoring the Brave Breakfast was all about.

It’s not just people within the military community supporting one another. I mean, it is to an extent and that’s great…but the scope is much wider than that.

You see, it’s really about the Colorado Springs community at large.

It’s PMCN’s 40+ partners, it’s veterans, service members and families, it’s civilians like me—all of us coming together for an hour and a half to lift each other up, connect with one another, and advocate for our fellow man by saying, “Hey! This is important, and its work we need to do more of.”

And so, in this season of gratitude and giving, I’m so very thankful to have attended my first Honoring the Brave Breakfast. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to serve our military men and women. Above everything else, I’m thankful to be a part of this community.