Recent Recipients:

First Lieutenant, Daniel Raphael As you can see from the picture, I have just opened the box that Command Sergeant Major Ian McKnight made for me, and there are tears in my eyes. Such a gesture! Such a grand surprise! I have never been so sincerely and deeply honored for my service in the military as when I received that wonderful shadow box of my military memorabilia from Ian. I am deeply grateful to Ian and my wife, Sherille, for conspiring to put together this wonderful, personal, and historic gift. ~ Norman A. Tippner, aka Daniel Raphael, First Lieutenant, United States Army, Medical Service Corp.

There’s nothing that could be done more beautifully and magnificently than that to show my career in such an incredible way. Receiving the shadow box was one of the biggest, strongest emotional moments I have experienced in a long time, I’m overwhelmed by it, a gift of a life-time. That’s a total winner, for me egotistically, the best gift I have ever received! ~ Robert A. Gillon, Lt. Colonel, United States Marine Corp.

As proud and honored as I am to have served my country, a shadow box is something I never would have done for myself. I feel very humble about my time in the service as I know many men and women have sacrificed and accomplished so much more than I did. The idea that my service mattered to anyone outside my family never occurred to me. Then having this gift given to me as a tribute from another service member is such an honor that even years later it makes me emotional. I proudly have it displayed front and center in my home, and it reminds me that my service to my country counts! That it mattered! My shadow box is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received and will have a place of honor in my family for generations to come! ~ Semper Fi – CPL Andrew D. Shuss, USMC

My former neighbor, friend and veteran, Ian McKnight, was working at MacDill Air Force Base a few years ago and he ask me if I had my DD214 as he needed for research he was doing on Vietnam veterans. He then surprised me with a shadow box! I can honestly say this thoughtful gift means a lot to me. As a war zone Vietnam veteran, I rarely spoke about it when I came home as Vietnam veterans were not exactly welcomed home in those days. I now have this shadow box proudly displayed in my home for all to see. This gift makes me feel appreciated every day and serves as a constant reminder for me that all Veterans, especially those who gave their lives, should be appreciated and honored. ~ Ron Breijo, Petty Officer 3rd Class, United States Navy, Viet Nam

  When I retired, I expected to get the same-old standard-issue shadow box with my awards, some of my old unit patches, my rank, and a little plaque with some words about 20 years of service.  What I got instead was a footlocker crammed with mementos from over 20 years of service. What I didn’t expect was a pocket for my American flag, the flag I got in 1990 and carried through all my overseas tours (Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq), flown in Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Senegal, Qatar, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen, Eritrea, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.  I also didn’t expect to have a ‘secret’ drawer to keep my old berets, a Spartan arrowhead (yes, from Thermopolis), and other important trinkets.  All in all, I was blown away when Ian presented me my footlocker. ~ Lieutenant Colonel Jason Wendell, USA (Ret.)