Honoring Our Own On Veteran’s DayPosted 11/11/2013
We all know someone who has been in the service or is serving as we speak. For many in the Maracay family, that person is our vice president of operations, Jeff Eschliman.
“It’s nice to be recognized as a veteran because you are part of a system that keeps this country free,” said Eschliman.
Eschliman enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1988 before graduating high school. His dad was a Marine during the Vietnam era and felt a calling to do his part in protecting his country. He was at first stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia where he completed basic training and an extended stay. For a year and a half, he was a member of the infantry where he was in the tow missiles, also known as anti-tank missiles.
In 1990, he deployed to Saudi Arabia. He served as a part of Operation Desert Shield during Saddam Hussein’s invasion into Kuwait. Ultimately, when Desert Storm started, Eschliman was a driver in the 24th infantry division of an armor personnel carrier, a platform for the tow missiles. He drove across the Middle East from Saudi Arabia to the Euphrates River Valley and into Iraq.
His eight months in the Saudi desert were “life-shaping” and after finishing his tour in 1991, he joined the rankings here at Maracay Homes one year later.
Just over one year ago, Maracay partnered with the Joe Foss Institute, a non-profit educational organization that teaches civics and patriotism to America's students. Joe Foss was a leading fighter ace in the Marines during World War II and a Medal of Honor recipient. The Institute was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Scottsdale.
“The Institute is a resource for schools and children in general as it educates them on what this country was founded on. It’s been a remarkable experience for me.” Eschliman of his work with the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism program.
Eschliman shares a similar gratitude for the values of the United States, along with his appreciation of his wartime service, as Joe Foss and his wife did when the Institute started more than a decade ago.
“It is pretty touching,” said Eschliman of one of his school visits. “They are very engaged and very respectful. One of the questions was ‘Were you ever scared?’ And I said when I drove that armored personnel carrier across the border, that was the most scared I had ever been in my whole life, but at the end of the day, when you are part a of a unit with a mission that needs to be accomplished, you just have to be bigger than you are yourself.”
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