Gratitude in Action

Honoring veterans with no words necessary

By Hilary Berg

I’ve witnessed it several times, and in each instance, I am caught off guard, feeling emotional and awkward at the same time.

I’m talking about impromptu public displays of veteran appreciation.

Although I am humbled by their service and sacrifice, I have yet to show my gratitude in this particular fashion. I am referring to those who make it a point to personally thank people in uniform while in the airport, at the market or elsewhere.

“Thank you for your service” is the typical offering, yet those five words can elicit a gamut of emotions and reactions as diverse as the people being thanked.

So, what is best way to honor a veteran? Not being part of a military family, I can’t even pretend to know, so I researched online for some solid advice.

In an article on the subject by Task & Purpose, a news and culture site geared toward American vets, Jennifer Dolsen, U.S. Army veteran, offered, “The most meaningful ways people can thank a veteran is through action. Volunteer with a veteran-related organization or welcome a veteran friend to join for a workout or group activity. Even visiting or researching community war memorials or monuments shows the potential for a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by veterans.”

She continued, “People thanking veterans genuinely through action is a far more meaningful gesture of gratitude than a couple of words.”

In the spirit of Dolsen’s advice, our OWP Persons of the Year are living examples of gratitude in action — and they make great Pinot, to boot. Marine Corps veterans Ben Martin, Ryan Mills and Paul Warmbier created Dauntless Wine Cømpany in order to help their brothers and sisters transition successfully into day-to-day life back home. Turn to page 28 to read about their mission and how they are donating time and profits to veteran organizations with plans to hire an all-veteran staff in the vineyard and winery.

What a fascinating story, business model and incredibly worthy cause. When it came to select OWP’s highest annual honor, the choice was clear. How to thank them for their service was not, until now...

Although the three men are appreciative of kind words, an even better gesture would be a visit to their tasting room at ADEA in Gaston (, where you can try and buy the wines, making their mission possible and your cellar more meaningful.

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