Expressions of Gratitude
Many military retirees remember the travel and adventure as the highlights of their career in uniform. For retired Lt. Gen. Michael Dubie, it was the people.
“The best thing about serving for 36 years in the National Guard was the amazing patriots I served with,” said the former adjutant general of Vermont and deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command.
That’s why he dug deep and contributed $10,000 each to the National Guard Educational Foundation, to tell their stories and those of millions more like them.
Dubie and his wife Amy, were among 10 big donors the NGEF recognized March 19 at a special reception at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS and NGEF headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The 10 contributed a combined $100,000 to the foundation through its Legion de Lafayette program, which is reserved for gifts of at least $10,000.
The NGEF preserves and shares all 386 years of the Guard’s story. Among its programs is the National Guard Memorial Museum, which boasts 5,600 square feet of artifacts, images and interactive exhibits.
Other recent benefactors included one individual, another couple, six corporations and NGAUS.
Mississippi Air Guard Col. Randy P. Spears donated in the memory of his father, Pfc. Grady M. Spears, a World War II veteran.
“The National Guard took me, an aimless young kid, gave me direction and purpose, and in the end, molded me into a mature, loyal and conscientious public servant,” he said. “It has been an absolute privilege to have been able to serve in the National Guard for 19 of my 34 years in the service.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Joel and Nancy Seymour of Georgia made their third gift of $10,000. During a more than 50-year military career, Seymour served 39 years in the Guard.
“The National Guard represents a chance to serve the nation and states and, at the same time, grow into a more useful person,” Seymour said. “I wanted to give back to the National Guard. I still care for the Guard.”
The corporate contributions included five making additions to earlier contributions. They were Armed Forces Benefit Association, Airbus, BAE Systems, SPARGO and USAA.
The NGEF also recognized Laerdal Medical, which manufactures special manikins to help train military medics, for an initial major donation to the foundation.
NGAUS contributed $10,000 in the name of longtime staff member, Laurence Temple, the association’s comptroller.
The honorees received a replica of an 1832 medal the New York militia presented to Marquis de Lafayette, after whom the program is named. Lafayette was a French aristocrat who fought in the American and French revolutions and played a major role in the development of the state militias.
The $100,000 recognized in March brings the total raised for the NGEF since 2010 to more than $7 million, much of it from the LdL program.
The NGEF reopened the museum to the public for the first time in two years in mid-March. The museum was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The shutdown created a backlog of things that needed to be cleaned and fixed that hadn’t been during that time,” said William Roulett, the NGEF deputy director.
He said the museum has seen its fair share of visitors since its reopening.
“It’s surprising me,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect given we’ve been closed for a while. I would say there’s a handful of families and individuals every day that come in.”
Roulett said the foundation is continuing work on its online blog covering Guard history.
He said one of April’s blogs focuses on the 80th anniversary of the Bataan Death March, the brutal forced march by the Japanese Imperial Army of as many as 80,000 American and Filipino prisoners of more than 60 miles across the Philippines’ Bataan peninsula. Many died along the way.
In the blog, the story of the Bataan Death March was told from the perspective of Capt. Edward Lingo of the New Mexico National Guard’s 200th Coastal Artillery (Anti-Aircraft). Roulett said that Lingo’s journal, which includes passages about his time during the Bataan Death March, is available to view in the museum.
For more information on the NGEF, visit www.ngef.org.
The author is the NGAUS staff writer. He can be reached at [email protected].
Standing (from left): Kimo Wong, Senior Vice President & Chief Distribution Officer, AFBA; Command Chief Master Sgt. Dick Smith (Ret.), Military Affairs Relationship Director (Guard Services), USAA; James Spargo, SPARGO Inc.; Brig. Gen. Joel Seymour (Ret.), Georgia Army National Guard; Brig. Gen. Keith Klemmer (Ret.), Director, National Guard Programs, BAE Systems; Chet McLendon, Government Accounts Manager, Laerdal Medical; Joseph Temple; Col. Randy P. Spears, Mississippi Air National Guard
Seated (from left): Col. Michael Hadley (Ret.), Vice President, Government Affairs, NGAUS; Mrs. Nancy Seymour; Maj. Gen. Janson “Durr” Boyles, Chairman of the Board, NGAUS & NGEF; Lt. Gen. Michael Dubie (Ret.), Vermont Air National Guard; Laurence Temple, Comptroller