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Editorial: We Honor Our Veterans

February 7, 2019

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Look around you. In your classroom, on the street, in a public building. There are people you know and people you don’t know all around you.

Now, those people may be just that: people. Everyday workers, taking care of schoolwork or going to work to make their living. But some of those very same people have a second past or future, including as a veteran.

Veterans are like everyone else. They live, eat, breathe, and work. But something very unique that they all hold is their service to our country.

You may be surprised to hear that the very school you walk in every single day, Fluvanna County High School, is home to some veterans. They come from all different walks of life, and experienced very different things in their service.

We took this opportunity to interview our school’s veterans and get a better vision of what their life was like protecting our freedom, wherever or whenever that may be.

Douglas Campbell

The FCHS Engineering teacher previously served in the Army for 25 years, 21 of which were on active duty. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York where he received his college education, as well as a requirement to serve for five years. “I found serving to be very meaningful. There were certainly many day-to-day challenges that were not at all ‘enjoyable’ but were simply part of being in or doing something bigger that was important,” said Campbell.

One of Campbell’s most memorable moments in his service involved the loss of a fellow soldier, where the support and comforting of loved ones was a major part. Campbell retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel, and now works at FCHS in the engineering program.  

Benjamin Hudson

Hudson served in the Army for over 24 years, following in the footsteps of his father who also served. His most memorable moment while serving was becoming a paratrooper. Hudson liked his time in the military, fondly remembering “service to country with some great people in great locations around the world.” Hudson also retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Craig Dodson

Dodson attended the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for wrestling, where he participated in ROTC. Dodson chose the Army, and during his time at VMI acquired “a respect and a desire to go on active duty to serve my country.” Dodson served five years of active duty, with his most pleasant memorable moment being a translator at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy. Due to his experience with the French language, he was chosen as a VIP, and got to stand with the President at the time, Bill Clinton, and meet a variety of World War II veterans.

Dodson loved his time in the Army. “Service to country is the highest honor you can give to yourself.  The experiences I had, wisdom I gained, and lessons I learned shaped me as a man, a father, an educator, and an American. I recommend that young people give the armed services a hard look as you are making career choices. There is honestly nothing like it anywhere else,” he said. Dodson entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, and ended his term of service as a Captain.

Mathias Varga

One of FCHS’ new resources officers, Officer Varga, also served for America for a time. Varga served in the Marine Corps for eight years, with a combination of active and reserve, as well as a combat deployment to Iraq. “My family has a history of military service dating back to World War II, so it is in my blood.  Both of my parents served in the United States Navy so I got a taste of how life would be in the military. I chose the Marine Corps because not only is it a well-respected military service, but also [a] personal challenge,” Varga said.

Varga said he believes the Marine Corps set him up for a successful future. His parents often give him the “friendly reminder” that the Marine Corps is still a department of the Navy. One of Varga’s most memorable moments was getting the experience of training with NATO. “The personal front row seat to our nation, working well with not only our own military services, but also our NATO allies, was inspiring.” Varga enjoyed his time in the Marine Corps, saying that it was one of the best decisions he ever made and brought him memories that could last a lifetime. He retired at the rank of Sergeant, and moved on to become Deputy Sheriff in Fluvanna. Varga’s last comment? “Go Navy! Beat Army!” 

As you can see, the veterans in our school have their own lives and experiences, people who have returned from their service to continue serving their country in their own unique way.

So next time you see any of these staff members, don’t forget to thank them for their service. And remember that all those unknown faces you’ve passed in your life could have contributed to the very free land you walk across every single day.  

About the Writer
Photo of Blake Berry
Blake Berry, Fluco Beat Editor

Blake is a Senior and this is his second year in Journalism. He is the editor of The Fluco Beat. He likes to play video games and likes memes.

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