Tervis Salutes Its Veterans

In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day to honor the veterans who fought in World War I. That day was chosen because the worst and most destructive fighting in the “War to End All Wars” ceased on Nov. 11, 1918. It became a legal holiday in 1938.

Armistice Day honored WWI veterans, but WWI did not end all wars. After WWII and Korea, Congress set out to honor all U.S. veterans. In 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day.

Tervis is proud that many of our employees served in the military. Here are just a few of our heroes, who we thank for their service and sacrifices.

Willard (Bill) Ward recalls, “When you’re 300 miles from the North Pole, the view of the Northern Lights is amazing, just breathtaking.” Serving in the Navy for 10 years, Bill (Petty Officer 2nd Class) saw his share of amazing sights that included beautiful sunsets, a 14th Century castle in Cannes, France, the 1972 French Grand Prix and cities throughout Germany and Denmark. Traveling the world, while a nice perk, wasn’t his motivation to joining the military. Like his father, grandfather and two uncles, he joined “because it was the right thing to do.” So right, in fact, that Bill received an Expeditionary Medal for his participation in Operation Evening Light. During his tenure, Bill served aboard the USS Intrepid, USS Saratoga and USS Nimitz — all proudly displayed on his custom tumbler he keeps within reach during his shifts in Production. Bill is proud of his service and those who served before, during and after his enlistment and suggests to the young people pondering their future to grab a camera and enlist. They’ll learn direction, job and life skills, and a new-found appreciation of the U.S. — and maybe snap a few amazing pictures along the way.

Kurt Karussi, a designer in New Product Development, served in the U.S. Coast Guard. When asked why he joined, Kurt gave a powerful three-word answer: “To save lives.” Trained as a rescue — and combat — diver, Kurt kept his word, saving lives in New Orleans, San Diego and Kuwait City during Desert Storm. Then there was the Haitian recovery, in which his cutter rescued refugees from overcrowded and capsized boats coming to America. Kurt also worked alongside the U.S. Navy and the Icelandic Coast Guard on an ice-breaker, traveling from the North Pole to the South Pole. Kurt proudly recalls the freezing dives under ice and the amazing brotherhood and camaraderie among the 100-member crew. Kurt appreciates all the Coast Guard taught him about discipline, time management, stress management and life. He pays it forward as an Honor Guardian; two times a year, Kurt escorts a WWII veteran to Washington DC to visit the WWII Memorial.

Tami Lake, a self-proclaimed “Navy Brat” turned Navy Dental Technician, joined the U.S. Navy in 1989. She served at Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Dam Neck Va.; and Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory –“a little slice of heaven in the middle of the ocean.” A real patriot, Tami believes every able-bodied citizen should serve in the military to make them and our country stronger and unified. Tami married a Navy man, and since 2013, her son continues the family’s Navy tradition as a Navy Corpsman stationed at the Naval Hospital in Guam. The Navy taught Tami a strong work ethic, love, compassion and how to get along with people from all walks of life –skills she commits to each day with her family and while working at our Virginia Beach store.

Carla Meyer followed the footsteps of her great grandfather, grandfather and uncle by joining the Navy in 1994, straight out of high school. Her 20-year career included stints aboard the USS Nimitz during 9/11 and as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her service also brought her to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, which she remembers fondly. She is very proud the support she gets from her family. Her brother sports a U.S. Navy tattoo in her honor. Her niece wrote about her for school on several occasions. Her daughter wants to be “just like her mommy” and join the military when she is old enough. The Navy taught Carla logistics and how to think on her feet in any situation. She puts those skills to use each day when working with inventory and store visitors in Virginia Beach.

Corey Sobrane wanted to serve his country and follow the lead of his relatives, so he joined the Navy in 1993. Serving for six years, including Operation Southern Watch, Machinist Mate 3rd Class Corey traveled the world aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a carrier so big the entire Tervis headquarters could fit inside its hanger bay. Corey is thankful the Navy provided “a PhD in nuclear engineering in under two years,” leadership training and tours that brought him to the Suez Canal, Jerusalem, Athens and Venice, Italy. Being part of a 6,000-member crew also taught Corey discipline and teamwork at a young age, which he utilizes in Production here in Venice, Fla.

Bill, Kurt, Tami, Karla and Corey are exemplary people with a proud sense of family, country and duty. When you see them at Tervis, take a moment to say “Thanks.” They’ll appreciate it more than you can imagine, and maybe they’ll share a story with you — an amazing story only a veteran can tell.

Tervis thanks these five veterans and all of the veterans and active-duty personnel around the world. Their dedication and service is what makes America what it is today.

Tami Lake sums it up perfectly, “Hooyah, America!”

PJ Butland