For Joe Steen, the call to serve came early.
At age 17 he pestered his mother to let him sign up for military service, and went off to fight in Korea. It wasn’t a choice really; it was a matter of tradition.
“Everyone in my family was in the military,” he said.”My father, grandfather, and brothers.”
Bryan O’Brien, a Wilmington resident for the past eight years, similarly served his country, this time during the Vietnam era, training troops on radar controls in South Korea.
Upon returning to the home front, both men continued in their patriotic duty, this time providing support to fellow soldiers, as members of national veterans’ organizations.
“I’m a true patriot, a true lover of freedom and the Constitution,” O’Brien said. “I believe the truest honor you can give is to serve your country.”
Now, by coincidence, both Wilmington residents are serving as sergeant-of-arms of the nations’ largest veterans’ organizations, O’Brien for the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, and Steen, recently elected to the post in the American Legion.