THESE THREE YOUNG PEOPLE: Show Us There Is Still Real Hope for America

Written by John DeGroff on September 18, 2015

This is going to be a very different article than what I usually offer here.  Rather than point out a flaw in the system (which will keep me writing for a long time…), or focus on a recent political concern, I want to introduce three young people who are doing something with their lives that will benefit not only themselves but others in the long run.

Not all of the younger generation are unemployed, uneducated Occupy  losers living in mom and dad’s basement.  We need to celebrate those who understand life doesn’t owe them a living; those who are making sacrifices at a young age and those who are preparing to enter careers that center on continued service. 

Now I need to present a disclaimer of sorts.  One of the three is my 24 year old son Daniel Aaron DeGroff.  He has served in the U.S. Army in Korea and is currently working and living in Everett, Washington.   I’m very proud of him. 

The other two are Kevin Pugh, 19, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and  Rachel Jones, of Churubusco, Indiana.  Mr. Pugh has completed National Guard training and is enrolled in Indiana State University, majoring in communications with minors in military leadership and American History.  Ms. Jones, 20, is studying Criminal Justice at Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Due to space considerations, Ms. Jones portion of the article will be presented in part 2 next week.

(One more disclaimer before the first two interviews.  The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not represent views or opinions held by employers or organizations in which those individuals are involved.)

Daniel Aaron DeGroff, Everett, WA.

Clash Daily:   When and where did you serve when you were in the Army?

Daniel Aaron DeGroff:  My military service was from July 28, 2009 until November 22, 2012. I was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Fort Hauchuca, Arizona, Daegu, South Korea, and Fort Lewis, Washington, in that order. 

CD:   What was your job in the Army?

DAD: I was an all source intelligence analyst.

CD:   Why the Army?

DAD:   I joined the Army to get the hell out of Indiana.  And, to be able to travel and get my schooling paid for.

CD:   Was it worth it?

DAD:   I don’t have any regrets because it lead me and taught me to be the man that I am today.  I am driven, disciplined and focused.  Without that, I’d be stuck in Indiana, probably at some dead end job.

CD:   What are you doing now?

DAD:   I work for BNSF, continually one of the top military employers.  Without my military experience, I wouldn’t have gotten this job. 

CD:   Any thoughts on the direction the country has been going?

DAD:   I think the general public sees only what they or the media wants them to see.  I think this country still has the ability to be great, we just are a bit distracted right now.  I don’t fault the leadership entirely.  I believe that if you have a problem with the country or the way it’s being run, stand up and make a difference.  Shut the hell up or get out.  So often people are quick to point fingers but aren’t willing to come up with a solution to anything.  That type of hypocrisy needs to stop. 

Next, a brief interview with Kevin Pugh of Indianapolis.

Clash Daily:   When did you join the National Guard and where were you stationed?

Kevin Pugh:   I joined the military on September 4, 2014 for six years.  I went to Fort Jackson for Basic training and Fort Lee for AIT. 

CD:   What did you do while in the guard?

KP:   My MOS is a food service specialist.  My rank is private first class.

CD:   Why did you decide to join the National Guard?

KP:    I originally joined the military so I could go to college.  I felt like that with all the high school credits that I had, that joining the military would be one of the best ways to use them to help me in my rank.

CD:   Any regrets?   Was it worth it?

KP:   A regret that I have is that I wish I could have done better in boot camp.  I felt like I didn’t do my best at it because my nerves got to me a lot.  If I were to do it again, I think I would do better at it because I would know what to expect.

CD:   Any thoughts on the direction the country has been going?

KP:   I think this country is going in a sad direction.  Which for one of the reasons being is religion.  After gay marriage was legalized, atheists and gays have come up with ways to change the Bible to fit them so that way they don’t feel offended.  And more atheists think that the purpose of Christianity is to judge people who aren’t Christian.  Another reason as to why I think this country is going in a sad direction is racism. People thought that by taking down the Confederate flag it would get rid of racism when all it did was make it worse.  If you have the Confederate flag on your car as you’re driving through South Carolina, the blacks will probably throw things at your car and may even try to take the flag off your car.  Taking the flag away doesn’t fix racism at all.  It only makes it worse. 

CD:   Since you’re in the National Guard, what are your thoughts on possibly being deployed overseas?

KP:   I’ve heard different things about what it’s like being deployed.  I’ve heard from my platoon sergeant from AIT that it’s a total nightmare and I’ve heard from other privates that it’s fun.  One private who went to Germany said that he was able to travel through part of Europe by train, and said it was fun.  I guess it depends on where you go.  I’d be fine with being deployed, but I’ve heard that I shouldn’t volunteer myself.  Just let a sergeant tell you you’re leaving.  One more thing that I would say is that I hope that my time in the military will make a difference for this country.  

(To be continued…)


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John DeGroff
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.