If you have been reading this blog, you know that STEPS to HONOR is not just about our fallen heroes. We are honoring those that are currently serving as well as our veterans. We are honoring our military, as well as our law enforcement officers and our firefighters. Because Memorial Day arrives in just a few days, I do plan to honor our Fallen Heroes through the rest of this week.
SSGT Richard T. Pummill of Cincinnati, Ohio, was killed by an IED while conducting combat operations near Nasser Wa Salaam, Iraq on October 20, 2005. SSGT Pummill was a husband and a father, as well as a son and a friend. Before he was assigned to a Weapons Unit and deployed to Iraq, SSGT Pummill was a recruiter in the Lexington, Kentucky recruiting station. He just happened to be stationed there at the same time that my son worked there as part of his high school co-op. David entered the USMC in the Delayed Entry Program at the age of 17....yes, I had to sign the papers.......and yes, I had a LOT of questions for SSGT Pummill and the other recruiters! Anyway, David worked in the office daily from noon to 5 pm assisting the recruiters and preparing for boot camp for 11 months before he graduated from high school and headed to Parris Island.
David deployed to Fallujah in March of 2005, and returned to the US in late October 2005. Just a couple of days before SSGT Pummill was killed, David ran into him over in Iraq. He called me to tell me he had run into Pummill and was really excited that he had run into his old recruiting buddy. Due to the fact that David's unit was soon to be heading back to the states, he did not realize that SSGT Pummill was killed until he returned to the states about 10 days later. Needless to say it was quite a shock and a huge loss. It's hard to picture that friendly face that greeted us at the door of the recruiting center and realize that he has made the ultimate sacrifice at such a young age. I'm glad I had the opportunity to know SSGT Pummill and I'm glad he had a chance to be an influence on my son. The next time you see a recruiter, take a second and say thanks. Chances are they have already seen a few deployments, and will probably see a few more. They are also the ones that can pick out a "hero in the making". We need people to recognize them and send them along the path of service. Running for SSGT Pummill, who made the ultimate sacrifice for me, was a true honor!