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My cherished influence from veterans

Growing up, I spent many hours around my grandparents on their farm in Glenmore. A lot of that time included sitting around the kitchen table listening to my grandfather L.L. “Dick” Miles tell his stories of serving in the Army in World War II.

My grandmother, who knew every move he made while overseas by heart from listening to his stories, would sit alongside me listening intently.

I was fascinated by his stories; I can still hear the words “Fort Belvoir,” “The Battle of the Bulge” and “KP (or kitchen patrol)” ringing in my ears from hearing him repeat his stories.

In one way or another veterans have always played a large role in my life.

When covering Buckingham County, some of my favorite events to cover are sponsored by the Claiborne Peaks American Legion Post 134.

The first time I walked into the VFW Hall on U.S. Route 60 to take a few photos of the Post’s featured speaker during one of their monthly meetings, I was a little intimidated by the elderly men, donning their sidecaps and offering their formal salute to the American flag.

They were war heroes and risked their lives for my family and me.

Once the meeting began and I shook hands with a few of the men, their warmth shone through their smiles and embraces.

One member of the group in particular has had a profound influence on me. I’ve known Charles Leftwich ever since I was a little boy; he drove our school bus as a substitute driver many times and I’d help him navigate the roads around Glenmore.

Another veteran who’s had a big influence on me is Jack Patteson.

Jack, a member of my church in Glenmore, is a mentor and friend. A veteran of the Korean War, Jack has given me sage advice that I will always cherish.

I’m thankful not only for these three veterans who’ve impacted me but all veterans who, on a daily basis, do the same for others.

Jordan Miles is the managing editor of Farmville Newsmedia, LLC. His email address is jordan.miles@farmvilleherald.com.