Freedom means having the choice to serve your nation in any way you see fit. We are inspired by the submissions we received from those who have served our nation in the Armed Forces, as First Responders, and as healthcare workers. We commend their dedication and commitment to our nation and are proud to share the story of our Celebrate Freedom Award winner, Brent Evanoff. Brent takes home a $10,000 prize and we are honored to share Brent’s story here:
"I have taken three oaths to the US Constitution in my lifetime. First was when I graduated high school early and enlisted in the United States Army as a Cavalry Scout for 3 years. The second oath I took is when I graduated from the fire academy to serve as a Firefighter/Paramedic for the City of Omaha for 13 years. The third time I took the oath is when I chose to serve as a Nurse Anesthetist in federal service to the Veterans Administration. These three oaths to the US Constitution are a testament to my lifetime of service to this nation (US Army), it’s local citizens (Firefighter) and our veterans (Nurse Anesthetist at the VA). I believe service to the nation can take place at any one time in a person’s life or throughout their lives. I have chosen to serve the nation on multiple occasions because of the deep sense of duty. Duty to preserve the sacrifices of those before me (US Army). Duty to protect the life and property of those in my local community as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Lastly, duty to care for those veterans who served before me, with me and after my service in the military as a Nurse Anesthetist at the Veterans Administration. My life has been in constant service to this nation in one fashion or another but perhaps the most proud accomplishment is instilling this sense of duty to the nation into my children. I have three children who have served in the US Military on active duty and to me, this is what it means to serve my nation now as a parent."
Angela J., Virginia
"Any time you sacrifice your own well being for the benefit of your country, you’re serving your nation. My husband and I serve the nation as professional firefighters. I wanted to make a difference and help people on the worst days of their lives."
Torri H., Texas
"I sacrificed my 20s to defend my nation and teach that same knowledge to those who came after me. I traded my freedom for the freedom of every American and I’d do it all over again. This is what serving my nation means to me."
Andrea W., Georgia
"Serving means putting color and all barriers aside for the purpose of the world. It’s preserving the freedom that is constantly being fought over and is sought after by so many."
Colby A., Pennsylvania
"I told myself, 'before I can serve myself and be selfish, I must serve my country and be selfless.' Putting on that uniform everyday helps me remember why I continue to serve and it is the greatest feeling in the world."
Jeff S., Ohio
"I believe that all Americans should be ready to serve our nation in whatever capacity they can as they go through life. We all have unique skills and abilities that we can use to help our fellow Americans."
Sandra C., Colorado
"I’m privileged to see every facet of the human condition: love, hate, rage, joy, compassion, forgiveness, hope, despair, antipathy & deep, vibrant concern for one another. Most people are good & strive to alleviate the suffering of another. We can rely on the kindness of strangers."
Mark G., Florida
"Although the troops I served with were various shades of camouflage, we weren’t divided by our differences or skin color. Instead, we were united by our shared respect for the colors of our flag."
Erin O., Massachusetts
"Being an ER/ICU RN at heart, I felt compelled to return to the bedside during this pandemic because this is truly when I needed to support my country – as a provider, a coworker, a step in family member, an advocate, an educator and a fighter."
Barry H., Texas
"I have a beautiful family who I would run to the ends of the earth for, yet I still have an intense desire to serve my community no matter the cost. It flows through my veins and consumes my thoughts when I’m away. I’m always concerned about the citizens who need me in their darkest moments."