Robert Waples answers the call

Robert Waples answers the call

Robert Waples and Troy Bystrom

Today is Veteran’s Day, 2017.  We applaud and salute our Veterans who have worn the uniform, both past and present. We respect you, and have immense gratitude for your service, and our freedom.  

Instead of just saying, “thank you for your service,” thousands of private citizens who have not worn the uniform, express their appreciation in their own ways throughout the year.  Robert Waples is one of those Americans. Not only is he involved in volunteering with several veteran events and organizations, he is easy to spot in the crowd because he usually has his grandson, Troy Bystrom, with him.  Robert includes Troy so his grandson will also have the opportunity to show respect to our veterans.  Recently, we were able to catch up with Robert.   

-You attend many Veteran events, take pictures at the events, and share those photos with the community.  Your grandson, Troy, is frequently attending with you.  Why do you involve him and does he enjoy these events?

Nancy Balogh Waples and Troy Bystrom

“I attend “Veteran” events as my way of supporting Veteran organizations and saying THANK YOU to the men and women whom have served in our Military.  My grandson, Troy, will attend events with me whenever he’s able to visit with my wife Nancy and I.

Troy has participated with the Patriot Guard Riders, since he was 4 years old.  He started out holding a U.S. Flag with me.  He eventually exerted in independence and insisted on holding his own flag.

He loves the Patriot Guard Riders.  At the monthly memorial at Fort Logan, he will regularly ask the Ride Captain if he can hold the United States Marine Corps flag.  (Troy’s father is a Marine).”

-What Veteran, Service Members, and/or military community organizations have you participated with?

“I have participated in Veteran support events with the Patriot Guard Riders since 2010.  Through my affiliation with the PGR, I have been exposed to Honor Flight organizations in Colorado, Nebraska, and Space Coast in Florida. I had the privilege to serve as a Guardian/Photographer on two Rocky Mountain Honor Flights.  Being with the Veterans on the Honor Flight was very special.

This past summer, with the permission of the Colorado Patriot Guard Riders, Troy and I were honored to represent all PGR Members as we laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

Troy Bystrom at Denver International Airport welcoming home Rocky Mountain Honor Fight

Robert’s determination to share and instill respect and love of country with his family’s next generation, reminded me of a former president’s speech.  In 1961 at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address he stated the now famous line, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

He also declared, “In your hands my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.  Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.  The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.”

Robert Waples is a private citizen who answered and continues to respond positively to that call.  Not only with the volunteer hours he commits to monthly, but the example he sets for his grandson, Troy, and his community.

Robert Waples’s in Washington, D.C.

On this Veteran’s Day, if you are also a private civilian, instead of the usual handshake and thanking veterans for their service, remember the famous line our former president asked of all of us.  Our Veterans and military community answered the call.  How can we?





2 thoughts on “Robert Waples answers the call”

  1. Mr Waples,
    You and your grandson are true examples of civilians
    who believe that our Veterans deserve the respect they
    have earned through their sacrifice in defending our Country.
    As someone who is a civilian and has worked with Veterans for 25 years I certainly applaud you and your efforts.
    Mostly though I value the rich heritage you are passing on to the youngest generation about the great men and women who have given so much and honoring the memories of those who gave ALL.
    For those Veterans who are re-entering civilian life after serving we need to assist our fellow citizens in understanding how hard it may be for them to re-adjust to everyday life in the USA.
    We need to continue to educate the civilian world about
    the great wealth of character, skills and abilities our Veterans possess . These traits are transferable to the civilian work place and employers who hire the returning Veteran will
    have a valued employee .

    Finally, we need to assist those who are struggling many especially those who do not have a social network and let them know they are not forgotten or abandoned by our Country.

    This message is from Judy Atencio

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