andyThe honor and valor foundation was formed after an experience I had in an airport while traveling out west on an outdoor adventure. To completely understand how it truly began, I must tell a story that leads to another story for people to understand how one event can change a person’s outlook on life. I have always considered myself to be an avid outdoorsman and have been hunting, fishing, and playing sports since I was a very little boy. I began hunting with my father at an early age as, both he and I, loved to pursue winged game such as ducks, dove and quail. As I grew older I became fascinated with big game and small game pursuits with my uncle and soon became a member of a local hunting club. I was now in high school and soon headed for college that those years I spent with family and friends wandering in and around the swamps of north Carolina was an experience I will never forget as they were some of the best times of my life. But like all things in life go as we grow older things start to change and so do people and their habits, I soon found that I was tired of the “fussing “so to speak associated with the local hunting clubs and I decided to take the advice of my father and pursue big game in other states, meet people and travel about the US and Canada and seeing the different terrain and sometimes experiencing drastic climate change.

As luck would have it I soon took my first trip to Ohio with a couple of my best friends and I had the best time of my life and soon found myself with an overwhelming addiction. It was at this point for several years I was flying all over the country on monthly basis hunting and fishing and playing golf. It was during these travels that I was able to become a member of a local TV show and soon I was meeting some of l the people I had watched on TV my whole life and now I had the opportunity to not only meet them but to travel and hunt with them and it was a wonderful experience. During this time of my life I had a chance to speak and meet many people associated with the outdoor industry and can say that I have established some great friendships and rapport with leaders of many companies in the outdoor industry covering all venues of sporting activities and professional sports. I am blessed in that I can say that I met people from every state and established friendships with acquaintances all over the US and Canada. One such example is a yearly visit to hunt in the Midwest, that has now turned into a family gathering for two weeks each year with two men that I now consider “brothers” and something I will always cherish and look forward to.

At one point after college I almost joined the armed services but did not because I would not be able to serve in the capacity I would like due to a family condition passed on through genetics and thus I proceeded on with my construction career. It is something I have always regretted because I could have done anything else in the military and you always wonder what might have been. I have always been a supporter of our military my whole life but after 911 my patriotism took a new outlook on life and the affects our military have on our nation. I tell you this so that you can understand how I would be changed by one small event, that had I not been at the right place at the right time this might had never become possible, and that to this day truly intrigues me. I was blessed during this time to have a construction career and had built several companies and I was doing well for myself but worked hard to achieve this and thus I wanted to play hard so this is where I began to take a trip in my quest to hunt and fish. I tell this story to tell you this next story and to show how things in life are relevant even years after the fact.

I was taking a trip out west to pursue whitetail deer my favorite game of choice and a species of deer that is all over the United States and Canada. While changing flights and getting ready for the last short flight to my destination I noticed several military men in fatigues on our flight and obviously returning home after combat deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq .The reason they caught my attention was that I was between them where they were seated and I noticed the young man in front of me was an enlisted huge burly man and if I recall he carried the rank of sergeant first class and the young man behind me was an officer of major and I know this from my JROTC experience during my junior high school years .As our flight landed the young sergeant was in a tizzy so to speak to get off the plane and was in a demeanor of anticipation and was almost politely shoving people aside to get off the plane. I being nosey like the rest of us wanted to know why the sergeant was in a hurry so a crowd of us followed him into the terminal where he dropped his bags and ran and embraced his wife, fiancée, or girlfriend not sure of that identity but the jest of the event was the connection with a loved one. It was a truly fascinating and humbling event for me, as well as, those other onlookers around me. This was a truly amazing event to see and I was humbled beyond anything I had ever encountered or at least I thought I was , as I would soon find , my emotions would take a different direction in humbleness and pride. As you can imagine everyone in the terminal has stopped and let this young couple have their time and as I said before it was an awesome happy thing to see. What happened next changed my out look on life simply because it happened literally ten feet from me and to my knowledge I was the only one in the terminal that would witness the event as everyone else was focused on the young sergeant and his loved one. Out the corner of my eye In my peripheral vision I saw an older gentleman and older lady , a younger lady , a teenage boy of 12 -14 years of age and two young girls whose ages I believe were in the 8- 10 range.

As the Major came into the terminal both young girls took off in a dead run for their father yelling “daddy, daddy, daddy” and without hesitation the young major gently extended his arm and hand in a stopping motion and those girls stopped from a dead run to a pleasant paced walk and casually walked the last sixty feet to embraced and hug their dad. Wow!!!! That one incident showed the respect and dignity that this young man and his family has for those around him and it let me know that these military families live by an code of conduct that is attributed by their military service. It was at that point that I realized how disciplined these guys are and the emotional toll that these families must endure while they are deployed abroad and the worry and everyday stress that accompanies them wondering if their loved ones will ever return home. I had a since of pride and humbleness come over me that I can only compare to the birth of my only son. I sat down and watched the family greet one another and soon both families had left the airport terminal and life went back to its fast paced normality. I sat in that terminal for almost an hour playing back in my head what I had just experienced talking to myself and wondering what I could do for these men and women and how me and my family could give back to them for what they do for us. All my life I have been in the construction business and an outdoorsman and these are the only things I consider myself to truly be an expert in, and it came to me that everything in life is relevant and I had a second chance to serve not militarily but to serve those men and woman whom everyday make sacrifices so that those of us who don’t serve can endure the freedoms that so few protect. It is my absolute honor to establish this foundation so that I can give back to those that protect not only us but the very freedom we all take for granted. Since our very beginning as a nation many men and woman have given their lives in service of their country and many families have made sacrifices throughout history. I speak on behalf of my family and a grateful nation we are proud of the service and sacrifice of all military veterans and their families past, present, and future and may God bless you all and God bless America.

Andy Dwyer

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