Community supports its veterans | NevadaAppeal.com

Community supports its veterans

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com

Kris Carlson served his country with dignity as a Green Beret in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a veteran, he still considers it an honor to serve.

Now, the University of Arizona graduate, who is also an attorney, said he's appreciative the country strongly supports veterans.

Carlson, along with several other speakers, offered comments at Tuesday's annual flag raising, wreath laying ceremony at the Lahontan Valley Veterans Administration in Fallon.

"Our nation respects veterans," said the 1988 Churchill County High School graduate, adding that he frequently receives gratitude for his service.

Yet, Carlson quickly points out that all veterans should be thanked for their service whether they fought in Vietnam or Afghanistan. Now, he champions veterans in a continual fight for them to receive the medical and legal help they need.

Carlson, whose father is a VA physician, created a legal clinic at the University of Arizona School of Law that provides pro bono legal services to veterans. He also set up one of the nation's first Veteran Treatment Courts that works with vets charged with crimes as a result of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

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Carlson referenced President Abraham Lincoln during his second inaugural address who called for healing because of the Civil War.

"He needed to know that we'd take care of those who served," Carlson related.

The former Green Beret quickly reminded those assembled for Tuesday's ceremony that they need to thank those who are serving now and for those who previously served in the armed services.

Not only does Carlson assist others but he also has rescued pit bulls who have the love and willingness to help veterans who may have PTSD or TBI. He calls this his new mission.

"I know my dogs serve a mission and take care of me," Carlson said. "I also care for them. Pits make great companions … loyal and they help integrate (veterans) into society."

Vietnam and Desert Storm Navy veteran R.J. Thomas reflected on the role of the men and women who have or are serving. A Navy SEAL in the 1960s, Thomas grew up in the mountains of Central California. He volunteered when he was 17 years old.

Before he signed on enlistment papers, Thomas said the government conducted extensive background and security checks.

"They checked back to first- and second-grade teachers to see if you were loyal to your country," Thomas remembered.

Thomas said he was pleased that the school district still observes the flag's importance, and he also said it was important to research candidates and vote for the right people.

"We need to get down and follow our Founding Fathers' principles," he said.

Representatives for Congressman Mark Amodei, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and Gov. Brian Sandoval spoke about the need to assist and recognize veterans. Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. said veterans serve their country, and then when they leave service, they volunteer in their communities.

"We really appreciate what the veteran has done," Tedford added.

In addition to the remarks, a women's honor guard from the Veterans Administration presented the colors, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war Cecil Quinley laid the wreath.