Marines Serving Communities
The Marine Corps has a saying: “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Another truism: “There’s no such thing as a former Marine.” Vietnam veteran and Amway Independent Business Owner Alan Yovich is living proof that these aren’t simply words.
Nearly 40 years after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Alan continues to serve his community as part of the West Chatham detachment of the Marine Corps League. The organization was formed to take care of its members – both currently serving and honorably discharged Marines – and their families.
Alan and his fellow league members attend parades, help sick members by doing yardwork or chores, stand at funerals at the request of the family members of deceased servicemen and -women, and help each other with benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Tending to fallen comrades
Just before Veteran’s Day, Alan joined his detachment in putting flags on the gravesites of military personnel from any branch of service. “I wanted to help, because there are too many gravesites and not enough men to do what needs to be done,” he says. “There are some gravesites where you can see friends and family are no longer around to tend to the site. So we clean it up to show that our fellow servicemen and -women will never be left behind or forgotten.”
One gravesite that was especially uncared for caught the attention of Alan’s detachment this year: They put some extra time into bringing it back to its former glory. “It was impressive when we were finished,” Alan says. He quickly adds, “We don’t do this for publicity or recognition. We do it because we are glad to do it.”
We are here to serve
Alan decided to join his detachment, he says, because “life gets so busy with family commitments and the things of today that we forget to make time for things anchored in the past. At first, I thought that idea was for the ‘old guys.’ But someone invited me to participate, and I decided to make the time.”
He’s spent that time well. Alan says two recent events stand out.
The West Chatham detachment partnered with Sam’s Club® to host a local car show. All proceeds were donated to the Semper Fi Fund, a group that provides support to post September 11 wounded, critically ill, and injured service members and their families, across all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
And, at the request of fallen soldier Matthew Freeman’s mother, the West Chatham detachment donated to The Matthew Freeman Project: Pens & Paper for Peace. This donation was used to purchase supplies that support education in order to promote communities of promise, prosperity, and peace throughout the United States and around the world.
“I don’t really do anything fancy,” Alan says. “I serve those around me – that’s what I do.” His words are an inspiration and a challenge to all.