I met Jim Braaten at the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in 2010. I was working at the NRA and covering the Show for NRAblog.com. (Check out my interview with Jim here.)
During the 3 years I spent at the NRA, I was blessed to meet a lot of folks like Jim – good-hearted, family-minded, salt-of-the-earth folks. Thanks to the magic of the Interwebs, I’ve managed to keep tabs on several of them, including Jim.
When I started volunteering with Honor Flight’s DCA Ground Crew last year, I posted a bunch of pictures, and triggered a fair amount of attention and praise from friends across the US.
But Jim Braaten didn’t contact me offering praise for my efforts to honor our nation’s heroes. He reached out and offered his help. He asked if he might support Honor Flight by designing and purchasing several custom banners.
Jim lives in Minnesota, far removed from the DCA grassroots movement that works to welcome and honor our nation’s heroes when they arrive in DC. But he wanted to contribute, and he quickly produced four custom banners (some of which are pictured here).
Jim made the donation in loving memory of John L Cole, who passed away on May 17. Like so many of the veterans we meet on our Honor Flights, John was a quiet hero who served honorably when his country needed him most. John was in the US Navy, where he served two tours of duty during the Korean War. He was stationed aboard the USS Calvert for two years, then the USS Eldorado for two years.
Jim didn’t want any public show of appreciation for his donation, which tripled our collection of banners. He only asked that we let folks know the donation is in honor of Mr. Cole. I asked Jim if he might want to include his blog or CalendarsNow.com somewhere on the banners. After all, I live and work in Washington DC, and people don’t just do things without some sort of recognition.
But John did. And, in honor of John’s memory and service to our nation, Jim did, too.