Both Mr. Bill Wagner and Mr. Thomas Murray gave decades of their lives in service to our nation. Mr. Murray served in the US Navy for 21 years (1943-1964), and Mr. Wagner is a 30-year veteran (1983-2013) of three different branches – Army, Navy, and Marine Corps.

This Veteran’s Day, Tribute at Black Hill senior living in Germantown is proud to highlight the accomplishments of two gentlemen, one of whom is a team member, and the other a resident.

The life’s work of each of these men is a true legacy of service to country. We at Tribute feel their stories should be shared so that generations to come might understand the bravery and courage they showed for so long.

Mr. Wagner, Maintenance Director at our community, began as a Navy corpsman for four years (1983-1987), transitioning to the Marines for the next 13 years. In that span he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and saw active duty in the Iraq War during Operation Desert Storm.

In January 2000, Mr. Wagner joined the Army National Guard, where he served on drug trafficking patrol in Honduras and trained in hostile desert warfare in White Sands, New Mexico. (He jokes that he would’ve joined the Air Force too, but he didn’t like their uniforms.)

Mr. Wagner’s son is in the Army now, an infantryman stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, who’s been deployed twice to active conflict zones.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of him for serving his time,” Mr. Wagner says about his son’s tours of duty. “And I’m glad he’s home, safe and sound.”

Mr. Murray achieved the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, traveling the world from his base in Newport, Rhode Island. As a line officer, one of his duties was to man the ship’s torpedoes – which was especially useful that time his ship was attacked by a fleet of Japanese kamikaze pilots.

Unless you’re a veteran too, it’s hard to fathom what these men went through. But we do know that their blood, sweat, and sacrifice has made our way of life possible – and we can’t thank them enough.

Today, Thomas and Bill enjoy talking with our employees and other residents about their experiences in uniform – and Mr. Wagner really relishes his role as Black Hill’s comedian!

Here’s one of Bill’s comedy bits:

A couple months ago I stopped to put gas in the car, and I had one of my old military uniforms hanging in the back seat. A lady came over to me and said, “Is that your uniform?” I said yeah, and she said, “I’d like to buy your gas” and starts to pull out her pocketbook.

I said, “That’s really nice and I really appreciate it, but I’ll get the gas – I don’t mind.” But she really wanted to buy me a tank of gas.

So I finally said okay – but then I thought of something. “You know, my son is in the military too – I can go get my other car if you’d like to honor him.” She looked at me and said, “No, I’ll just pay for this one.”

This Veteran’s Day, please join Tribute at Black Hill in Germantown MD as we convey our deep, heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Wagner and Mr. Murray – and don’t forget about the many thousands of American men and women who’ve fought valiantly for our country under the most difficult circumstances – many of whom never returned.

Thomas and Bill, we thank you both very, very much, and we’re very glad to know you. Happy Veteran’s Day.