It’s an annual tradition. Every November, the Kingwood Area Republican Women (KARW) invite area veterans to lunch in honor of Veterans Day. Recently, a large group attended for a warm meal and lots of applause. As the group settled into dessert and coffee, three career officers, all women, shared the stories of their military service.
Heather Brodersen joined the Marine Corps at 17 and retired 30 years later. The child of a working family, she loved being in the service. Told she was not fit to serve with comments about dropping out, being a woman or ending up pregnant only made her more determined to succeed. Brodersen said she learned persistence, leadership and duty. “We never give up. We never quit. We are always faithful,” she said.
Keli Chevalier, a “black American princess” who joined the Army, thinking it looked “fun,” only to find herself crawling in the mud, inches under barbed wire with live bullets flying over her head – “And that was just my first week,” she quipped.
No one thought she would make it or even stay for basic training. Her father didn’t even tell anyone she had joined; he was so sure she would be back home quickly.
But Chevalier did stay, for 20 years, before retiring as a major. She spoke about protecting the “American standard” of faith, duty, opportunity and commitment.
“You must take a good look around you and decide every single day to make an incremental difference,” she said. A conservative running for U.S. Congress, she asked, “Who here thinks the Left is going to quit? They are NEVER going to quit. So we must go out there every day and fight, because they are literally throwing everything they can here in Texas. And they are never going to quit,” she said.
The third speaker asked for anonymity. She also joined the Marine Corps after high school and enjoyed years working her way through various police positions, eventually landing in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS. She inspired the crowd with her vision of America and the flag as needing protection from all.
Tony Buzbee, candidate for mayor of Houston, also spoke to the group. He is a Marine and is in a runoff with Sylvester Turner, the current mayor. “Kingwood put me into the runoff,” Buzbee said. “We are focused and targeted. We are going to knock on 200,000 doors and make 300,000 phone calls before Dec. 14 (Election Day). I am going to do whatever it takes and I am going to spend whatever it takes,” he said to applause.