Jamaal Wheaton – Placement partner
My name is Jamaal Wheaton. I am currently serving on active duty in the United States Army. As a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan I have been involved in combat and served alongside of incredible men and women who sacrificed for the freedoms that we enjoy in this great country. Many veterans carry the names of the fallen on their hearts with a heavy burden to carry a legacy that must live on. It is a legacy that is steeped in tradition and lives in the spirit of our National Cemeteries. It is this legacy that drew me to the mission behind Remember Heroes.
On February 19th 2006, I realized how close the loss of a comrade could really come when I lost three very good friends after a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq hit their vehicle. It was a moment that would forever change the lives of many people surrounding them. Regardless of the circumstances in which we lose someone, we know that they dedicated their life for a greater cause. In some cases, they have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. For that we owe the utmost respect, honor and admiration.
In May 2013, I was reassigned to the Pentagon. I spent my Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery where the honor and reverence for the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are so beautifully present. It is an honor for me to be able to partner with an organization like Remember Heroes in order to honor my own comrades in their final resting place. To me, every headstone has a story and every story has a family. With each placement I make, I know I am paying homage to the person as well as sharing a little piece of Arlington with someone who deserves to see it.
John Refior– Placement partner
Gratitude, Pride and Patriotism for the country that had afforded us the opportunities and standard of living we all enjoyed here on Long Island were instilled in me at an early age. As a young A.F.R.O.T.C cadet, I tried to pursue my dream of becoming an Air Force Officer and Pilot; however, a rare medical condition put an early end to my military career. Despite this, I am still deeply patriotic and grateful to those who have served.
My most immediate connection with the veteran community was my dad. He was a combat engineer in the Pacific during WWII. After completing basic training at Camp Blanding in Florida and Engineering School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia he was shipped out as a replacement in a Combat Construction Battalion to Manila, Philippine Islands. He did not see much action in the Philippines but was embarking for the invasion of Japan at the time of the formal surrender.
The profession of arms is among the noblest and most lasting contributions one can make to our society. Those who have served and preserved our freedoms and way of life for us and future should be remembered with the utmost Dignity and Respect.