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Veteran’s Day reunion sparks appreciation

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All week we have been hearing of Veterans Day events going on in Pueblo. The town has come together to offer food, places to stay and other benefits as a way of showing gratitude for all that our servicemen do.

I admire all of the effort local businesses have put into this day because it is something all veterans deserve. I love to see the smiles and thankfulness that surround this day; I just never thought they would be mine.

My brother, Dustin Walker, joined the Marines right after our high school graduation. I have only seen him once since his deployment to Japan, and I knew I wouldn’t be seeing him for at least another two years after his first grant of leave in July.

Tuesday morning, when I went to work at The Diner, I was in a bad mood. I was tired, stressed out about school and not looking forward to the day. When I arrived, I hardly even noticed the excitement on my coworkers’ faces, until my brother Dusti walked through the door.

Together, my parents and my manager at The Diner, organized a surprise homecoming. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My appreciation for all the work that went into this homecoming has grown more and more as my brother told me about his experience.

From airport services to diners and hotels, Dusti was thrilled with the way he was treated, and my family could not be more grateful for the generosity we feel he deserves.

As a city, Pueblo demonstrated a magnificent capacity for kindness, one I will never forget.

I must thank every man and woman who has ever, or will ever, serve our country. But I must also thank all of the local businesses who set aside a day every year to organize events dedicated to those men and women.

I’ve never been prouder of my brother, and I’ve never been so grateful for the people of Pueblo who make days like Tuesday possible.