Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame recognizes IRAHC employee

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The Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame added 30 new inductees to its ranks Sept. 8, including a Fort Knox retired sergeant major who now works at Ireland Army Health Clinic and Fort Knox MEDDAC.

The purpose of the hall of fame is to honor those Kentucky veterans who continue to give to their communities after the military service is complete.

James Anderson, who retired in Sept. 2008, is an Army Wounded Warrior advocate and has been working with AWW for nine years. Although originally from South Carolina, he has lived in Kentucky, off and on, for more than 23 years and considers himself a Kentuckian.

“I [attended] basic training at Fort Knox in 1978 and came back to Fort Knox in 1983 and again in 1993,” he explained. “[We came back] again in 1998 and again in 2004 until I retired.”

He deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait, but in the course of his 30 year career he spent a lot of his time in Germany and at Fort Knox. When he decided to retire he wanted to find a job that would allow him to help Soldiers and veterans. And when he discovered AWW program, a light went off.

“I know with all my military experience that if you take care of Soldiers, Soldiers will take care of you and everything else will take care of itself,” he explained. “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. I love what I am doing and I always put the Soldier or veteran and their family first. I praise God every day for this great job and the opportunity to give back to our severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, veterans and their families.”

When Anderson heard he had been nominated for the award he said he remembered thinking, “Oh, they have the wrong man.” But after he talked to another retired sergeant major, Irvin Lyons, he better understood why he had been nominated.

Lyons told Anderson that he was in fact helping veterans and their families every day and serving your community was the point behind the KVHoF — Anderson was the perfect man for the award.

“I just love helping people,” Anderson said. “Someone once told me that I can’t take it with me so I might as well pass it on. Which I try to do each day.”

Anderson said his family attended the event — his brother and sister came from South Carolina and a nephew from Washington D.C., but his mother couldn’t travel and asked for pictures. His oldest brother was in the Army when Anderson was a small and said he is very proud that his younger brother is being recognize for doing something to help veterans.

Anderson didn’t think earning the award was that big of a deal but in the end said he was so excited that someone thought enough of the event to travel to see it. But while awards and recognition are nice he said helping Soldiers, veterans and their family as an advocate is an award in itself.

“I live the seven core Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage which I was taught in the Army and I will continue to use … the rest of my life,” Anderson explained. “Whether on the job or off, I live up to this high standard. Success is not in what you have, but lies in who you are. We were all born to make this world a better place because we are the best.” n