Colony Grill in St. Petersburg (670 Central Ave St Pete, 33701) is proud to support veterans, active duty servicemembers and first responders. Colony Grill strives to be an exceptional workplace and a civic leader, contributing to the worthwhile and positive initiatives of our patrons and neighbors – especially men and women “in uniform.” Colony Grill dedicates space within each restaurant for its “Wall of Heroes” – a display of photos that honors those who have served in uniform, either at home or abroad, as first responders or members of the United States Armed Forces.
Help them celebrate service by sharing photographs of yourself, friends, or family members dressed in uniform, for public view on their walls. You may send them your photos through the mail, email, or by uploading them here. Please also indicate which location you would like to display the photo.
Lt. Commander Charles Melvin wrote this open letter regarding his military service and the importance of the support of local businesses like Colony Grill to the military and first responders. Lt. Commander Melvin’s photo is featured on the Wall of Heroes in the St. Petersburg location.
My military career began on the 1st of July 1976. I was commissioned as a Naval Officer and chaplain. This began a 24-year journey of active duty. It was the best commitment I ever made. I am writing this reflection on the 7th of December 2021, 80 years after Pearl Harbor. The news today has been trying to recapture some of the angst of that day. Listening to those survivors, now either a hundred years old or older, or just shy of it, has been a strident reminder of the peril we ever face.
In my career, I served with the United States Marines, Naval Medical, Naval Security, Naval Submarine Service (sometimes called the Silent Service), the Naval Air community (training and active forces), NATO, Naval Amphibious service, and Navy Seal Team Two.
I am privileged to have come to know some of America’s finest heroes. While serving at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, I came to know a young Navy diver, Robert Stetham. He was a Navy Seabee Diver. On a return flight out of Athens, Greece, his plane was commandeered by terrorist of the Hezbollah branch, and forced down in Bierut, Lebanon. His identity was discovered, and he was the target of extreme physical abuse, and used to procure compliance with their demands. He was shot through the head and thrown out on the Tarmac. That picture was front page cover of the Life magazine. I have visited with such Navy Heroes as John McCain, and Jeremiah Denton.
Perhaps the hardest and saddest of my duties is that of dealing with death and death notifications. In 1983, as a chaplain assigned to Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy, upon the Beirut bombing, where we lost 289 Marines in a terrorist attack on the compound where they were housed, I was serving as a chaplain on the tarmac as Marines lay wounded, dead, and dying.
After a career as a Navy Officer and chaplain, now in my late 70’s, I am thankful for such men and women who still serve. I know the hardships of deployment, frequent relocation, disruption of plans, turmoil, and financial hardships, but in the end, it is the honor to serve this nation.
I want to thank businesses like the Colony Grill for honoring these heroes who serve, wearing uniforms of various services, including state, county, and city services. So many who wore the uniforms of a military came home, and traded that uniform for another, to continue to serve!
I send you all a Bravo Zulu!
Charles D. Melvin
LCDR, CHC, USN (RET)
Categorized in: Work
This post was written by Elevate, Inc.