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Veteran’s Day

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Veteran’s Day gives us the opportunity to honor, appreciate, and extend our gratitude to the men and women who have served our country, both past and present.

Two Mr. Cooper United States Military veterans and members of our Cooper Patriots resource group share what Veteran’s Day means to them:

Josephine Haggard

For me, Veteran’s Day is a time to reflect on my family who served in every American war dating back to the American Revolution. It’s also a time for me to reflect on my fellow service members with whom I had the pleasure to serve alongside. I joined the Navy right out of college in 1998 as an Arabic linguist, but I knew in boot camp that I had been accepted as an officer. I went to Officer Candidate School in 1998, and served for four years in Norfolk, Virginia as a Surface Warfare Officer. My first ship was the USS Porter DDG 78, and our sister ship was the USS Cole DDG 67. We were relieving her on deployment when she was bombed by terrorists on October 12, 2000. Seventeen sailors died, and 37 more were injured. It was a very somber deployment and really brought home the reality that we weren’t just playing war games. Veteran’s Day is a time to honor every American that agreed to serve our country, knowing the risks and challenges that come with such service, and I always think about my fellow sailors who paid the ultimate price. It’s humbling to think how easily these sacrifices can be taken for granted.

This is why I’m also a proud member of the Cooper Patriots resource group. Cooper Patriots does so much to honor service members, both past and present. It’s supportive and inclusive, and a place to share our experiences while also helping others. I’ve never felt more genuinely welcomed at a company than when I joined Cooper Patriots. It’s an instant bond with others who know and respect what I’ve been through. The group continues to meet and have activities during the pandemic’s work from home initiative, showing coworkers and the community that we’re not forgotten. I really appreciate Mr. Cooper for having this resource group, and for the members that make it special.

Robert Hoffman

On Veteran’s Day, we thank those who serve or have served in the United States Military. When you talk to a veteran about their service, you will hear stories of Honor, Sacrifice, Hope and Freedom! They will tell you about the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. I had the honor of being selected to be a part of the Honor Guard at two locations during my career. One of a few ceremonial elements we provided are Bearers at funerals. I was a fast burner, so I moved up the ranks of my flight and was offered the opportunity to lead my flight on all ceremonial duties we provided. With my leadership role, I was required to lead by example and lead from the front. I did not just represent the Airmen that worked for and with me in the flight, I represented my leadership, my base, my Air Force and more importantly, I represented every service member past and present. At the end of every funeral service, the flag was folded and handed to me for inspection and presentation to the next of kin. After the 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps,” I presented the next of kin with the flag that was draped over the casket. I would kneel before them, extend the flag in my hands, and say, “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Air Force and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.” Fast forward in my career, I found myself leading the Base Honor Guard at a different location. I was the newly appointed leader when I got a call with the order to provide military honors on the flight line. We had the Honor of guarding an Aircraft that was carrying caskets of our fellow military members who had lost their lives serving. Each casket had an American flag draped over it. Standing there on the flight line at the entrance to the aircraft with doors wide open, my heart skipped a beat and a massive wave of emotions came over me. Then and there I had a deeper understanding about my service, sacrifice, and the sacrifice of my brothers and sisters. On Veteran’s Day, I take every opportunity to thank all my brothers and sisters for their sacrifice to serve the United States of America. You never know when their call to sacrifice will ring.