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Military Child Inherits a Life of Service

The military impacted Jesse’s life. Growing up in southern California, his father, a Vietnam veteran, would often battle with PTSD and experience flashback episodes that were hard for Jesse and his siblings to understand.

In those days, the term PTSD didn’t exist, and the world didn’t really know how to deal with returning troops from the war in Vietnam.

Discussing military service, veterans, and pain was common in the Pratt household. Jesse’s dad earned a Purple Heart and had been medically discharged from service but could not shake the experience.

“He’s always had a passion to serve veterans,” Jesse explains. “That’s been his whole life. As a kid, you don’t know. As you become older, and he is willing to share more stories, you can begin to understand the things you witnessed when you were little.”

After Jesse’s father retired from civil service, he ran a church for a few years from the back of the local VFW near Edward’s Air Force Base. The church, Grace Veteran Church Fellowship, raised thousands of dollars that were given back to the VFW to support local veterans.

“My father’s number one thing was to share God’s word.” This Christian upbringing was instilled in Jesse and guided his decisions throughout his life.

During Jesse’s childhood, his father had taken in a very good friend he had served with in Vietnam. This friend had been terribly injured during the war and was embraced by the Pratt family as one of their own. This desire to help and care for someone in need was another trait Jesse inherited.

At the age of thirteen, Jesse’s grandfather passed, and a great-uncle he did not know arrived for the funeral. There had been a family riff, Jesse discovered. Uncle Howard had been estranged from his father for many years. Howard was crushed at the realization that he no longer had an opportunity to reconcile with his father.

Uncle Howard and Jesse developed a special bond after that. Howard would return to California to visit many times over the years that followed.

In the 1980s, Uncle Howard developed dementia and could no longer live on his own. Without even a thought, Jesse packed up his life and moved to Florida to care for his uncle.

For years, Jesse prepared meals, did laundry, and managed appointments and medications for his uncle.

One night, as they were driving to dinner, Howard had a stroke. He never recovered, and ultimately, Jesse was forced to decide to let him go as his medical power of attorney. It was a dreadful loss for Jesse, but he held the strength and faith to make it through.

This was Jesse’s service; a sense of duty he inherited from his father, and that of other military veterans, set in him by their example of brotherhood and devotion.


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