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And now back to answers for elders as we honor our military veterans. Carriage is the proud sponsor of our veteran segment hosted by former cetle Seahawk Dennis Boyd. Hi, this is Dennis Boyd. I’m down here at Patriots lining and Dupont Washington with retired Colonel Mike Courts and also mayor of Dupont and I appreciate you, Mike, Taking the time to come out and talk to us today. Thank you my pleasure, Mike. We’re doing this series here talking to our veterans and you are obviously a twenty. How many years were you serving? Thirty years? Thirty years, excuse me, army veteran attack helicopter pilot. Also, as I was reading a little bit about you got into a liaison type position, or how would you describe that? What you were doing in Aract towards the end of your career? Yeah, my my first to interact from six hundred and seven. My job was chief of engagements. I was on general petresis staff and I had a team that worked with me. Principal Responsibility. We engaged with Sunnian surgeon tribes, primarily an NBAR province and the goal was to try to peel them away from Al Kada, try to integrate them into the political discussion as opposed to an armed conflict. I was curious when I took a look at that, at how that apply to you shifting from the from the military in that type of negotiations, now you’re moving to government and at the at the city level here, where it sounds like you for about you picked up a lot of experience and dealing with people who have very different goals and very different needs and trying to get them to kind of at least come together at to find some common ground that everybody can serve can live together. Well, it helps me often when when we’re dealing with people in the city and out of the city, and I keep in mind other negotiations I’ve been involved in people are killing each other and and they are, at the end of the day, you know, committed to some very hard goals and willing to do very hard things, and kind of allows you to get a better perspective when you’re either negotiating with glly. Whar are we going to put the Dog Park? Yeah, are we going to do this in the city? Do that they’re important. Things are very important, but they are not at the same level of people trying to kill each other. Yeah, it’s a little bit. Price Tags a little higher. At that point, absolutely, Mike. Could you we’re going to back up a little bit. What what took you into the army to tell me back to the first days when you when you were receive your commission. I grew up in as a as a kid in an army family. Okay, my parents are both from northern Oregon. My father enlisted in the army, eventually went to officer Canada school and so I grew up through the Vietnam era. My father had two tours in Vietnam. He was a army aviator, commanded the armies first armed helicopter, Pal Tun, and flew viewe gun ships in a Vietnam. So it seemed like the family business. A lot of kids grew up throwing baseballs with their DADS. We owned an airplane. I grew up flying. Started flying at age six and it just seemed like something that the lifestyle appealed to me. I liked what I saw about the military, the Camaraderie and there’s an exciting aspect of being a soldier, I applied for and was fortunate to get appointment to West Point, and so in one thousand nine hundred and seventy seven I went to the Military Academy graduated nineteen eighty. One graduation speaker at my graduation was Ronald Reagan on his first public speech after he had been shot. That was a kind of big deal for us. But then started a career that involved assignments here, Texas, Germany, Bosnia, hurts, agovna, Iraq, Washington, DC, Kansas, so all over the place. Fortunate to have a career principally in the attack helicopter community. But as any commission officer will tell you that you know that’s a technical skill set you have, but at the end of the day you’re an officer, you know you do what the army need you to do, and so in one of my tours in Bosnia had nothing to do with aviation. Dealt with contingencies, everything from security for the pope on a visit, security for papal visit to the first apprehension of persons indicted for war crimes, which has nothing to do with army aviation. But if you’re a feel great officer you do what the army needs you to do. Was Fortunate to command at the Platoon, company, Battalion and brigade level. Served as Chiefest Aff of First Infantry Division and first core, did the tour interact as chief of engagements. Also deployed as deputy chiefest half of first core. So a variety of different tasks, different places. Exciting career. I enjoyed it, challenging. I tell people that when you’re in my line of work, when you get up in the morning and watch the news or read the paper, you don’t wring your hands, you roll up your sleeves. I was assigned at the Pentagon one hundred and eleven, so I know what that sounded like. Smelled like some clowns flew airplanes into my office. I didn’t appreciate that much, but it certainly very cathartic moment. Cathartic experience gave you a clear sense of what was important and what the nation faced. HMM, so I can’t say I had a dull career. No, no, what you and I are discussing earlier a little bit about this feeling of team and I was talking to you about how, having played professional football, we you kind of I still stay in contact or I have a very solid member of the guys that I played ball with. Tell me about out what that means to you as twenty years, twenty thirty sees me thirty years in the army and in the memories that you have of the men and women that you serve with. Well, just like serving on a very high level athletic team, team in the military is everything. Yeah, you know, no individual is essential. Everyone is a critical member of the team, but we always have that next man forward attitude. As an example, last night I was at a friend’s house in Olympia with about a dozen of my west point classmates. So that’s the kind of team that we have. That graduate, you know, came together in July of one thousand nine hundred and seventy seven and we’re still very close. I am very close with people that I’ve served with both in peacetime and war time. Very close affiliations. will go across the country to see them, people that if they called and needed something, no hesitation, no questions ask you do whatever they need. Tell me a little bit about the relationship, obviously, as mayor now city of Dupont, between JBLM and Dupont. Obviously you guys are neighbors and there are several things that you I mean you bring that that history with the military and then you put chet. You’re still running a city. It is different and we are very closely aligned with JBLM. Forty percent of our population is retired military. Thirty percent of the population is active duty military. You know, one of our little models as we feed JBLM. If you go downtown dupont at any of our restaurants on a weekday, it’s full of soldiers. So we’re very, very closely tied to the post. Good relationship. We have a city to city relationship. The garrison commander and I garrison commanders very much like being a mayor and they run JBLM just like a city and there are things that we share, whether it’s common exits at I five where we have crossovers and how do we deal with issues to development that we’re looking at in some federal land that’s within Dupont city limits that we’re looking at how to develop that for a mutual benefit. We have a creek restoration that is about to start that the source of water is on JBLM and then it flows into dupont. So there’s a lot of things that we do together. I think from my experience I have an appreciation for what the challenge is. The Post faces are, whether it’s the deployable units or the garrison. I appreciate you know what their focus is and what role any of neighboring communities have with them, and so I think my expectations are realistic as to what we can expect from JBLM and what they can expect from us. One last question here for as far as the military, because you’re seeing both angles, is where do you see? I mean we as a civilian, we keep seeing our military shrinking and shrinking, but yet, you know, there is this constant requirement to need that that force ready to go. Having twenty years military. What would you say to somebody that’s considering the military at this I mean sees me. I keep saying twenty and I’m shorten you by ten years. You know somebody that’s considering a military service? You know, I think it’s like several professions. I would say it’s a calling. There’s got to be a burning passion to do this. It’s not financially going to compensate you for the work you do. Your family is going to go through a lot of hardships, you’re going to go through a lot of very physically demanding things. You always face the potential for being exposed to great physical risk, but the rewards are just immeasurable. There’s a tremendous sense of purpose since a personal pride. Some of that disruption in a normal life is mitigated. When I would move to new location, you have a built in peer group, built in social system. You know where you fit. People are very quick to welcome you in, welcome your family in. So it’s a it’s a very worthwhile pursuit. It’s something that I would encourage anyone to do. It’s ultimately you feel like you have earned your stripes as a citizen and it’s a you know. You make no apologies for your service. You feel like you have you have earned your right to stand in salute that flag and it has a very deep and abiding meeting with anyone who’s sure for any length of time. Well, I want to thank you because it’s again, as I appreciate and to a much deeper level that you experience there in the military, is that that team approach is something that people rarely get a chance to feel is that bond that you have between people that you’ve struggled with, that you’ve battled with, whether it’s intellectually, physically or otherwise. And and Mike, you’re obviously taking that to to a level here. And I’m sorry I get one more last question here. How about the the effect or the advantage of the asset that Patriots landing offers here for the city of Dupont? What a great facility here. It’s their great neighbors. are a great part of our community. You know, they have expansion plans, but we feel very blessed to have them here. I could be a resident here someday. Yeah, I know the ownership and their corporate leadership and they are very committed to the city of Dupont and we’re very grateful to have them here. Colonel Mike, Thank you very much. Appreciate you time. Thank you, Dennis. This has been a special honoring Veterans Presentation of answers for elders brought to you by carriage. For more information about carriage, the website is sere agecom.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.