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Thank You Veterans: Chad Reid

We recognize a Harpursville graduate who served during tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Army Specialist Chad Reid.
We recognize a Harpursville graduate who served during tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Army Specialist Chad Reid.

Chad Reid enlisted in the Army in 2004 at age 21. He was looking for structure in his life and wanted to fight for his country following the September 11th attacks. "My Dad was in the Army, my grandfather was in the Army. So, I wanted to follow in their footsteps."

Specialist Reid spent 10 months as a gunner in Afghanistan in 2006. Soon after he got there, his son Dawson was born back in Louisiana. He had a lot of close calls, but thoughts of his family and the support of his fellow soldiers got him through. "Being 21, 22 years-old and deployed to a foreign country where people are trying to kill you, it's challenging."

In 2007, he was sent for an 18 month deployment in Iraq. About six months in, the humvee he was in was hit by an improvised explosive device, giving him a concussion. He was airlifted to the Baghdad International Hospital, treated for a few days, and then returned to service. "It scared me, knowing that there were people there trying to kill us and take our lives. But, I had a job to do, and that's the job I picked. So, I got up and continued on."

Chad met his wife Nicole while stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana. I read from her nominating letter. "He is a great husband and father. And, if it wasn't for the Army, I would have never met my husband. I am thankful for his service to our country and he is a true patriot."

Congressman Hanna was on hand to thank Chad, Nicole and Dawson for their sacrifices. "On behalf of a grateful nation, I'd like to present you with this flag flown over our Capitol and this Congressional challenge coin, which as an Army fellow you know exactly what that's worth.

Since returning to our area, Chad has enrolled at SUNY Broome in the hopes of becoming a police officer.

The Southern Tier Veterans Support Group presented him with a challenge coin. "As we all know, families are so critical to the success of our military," said Al Eaton.

And the group Quilts of Valor had a special gift as well. "To date, more than 90,000 quilts have been presented to our troops," said Linda Whitney.

Chad had wanted to spend his entire career in the Army, a role Nicole says he was well suited for. "He's definitely responsible. And he cares about the people around him. He's a very caring person. And he's definitely brave, to be able to go over there and do the things he did."

But the lingering effects of the concussion and resulting traumatic brain injury were too much to overcome. He was medically discharged in 2009. He appreciates being back in his hometown where his family and friends are. "There's a lot of veterans out there who don't have the support system of family or friends. The suicide rate for veterans is high."

Chad encourages vets to seek help from the V.A. His plan is to start a new career in law enforcement, where he can once again serve his community.
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