He started as a newspaper boy, at Burger King and KFC, and in tire sales at Montgomery Ward. But yet Michael Lee Emerson never felt as though those were his callings.
Born as the first of eight children to a French mother and Austrian and Hungarian father, Emerson was raised in the suburbs of Washington DC after his parents emigrated from Western Europe. They gave he and his siblings a better life, and he realized what a privilege it was to live in the US.
So, to show his appreciation to the US, Emerson enlisted in the Marine Corps back in 1982. The then-19-year-old was an Infantryman who was the 4th squad leader of his Platoon #2041. Emerson even graduated second in his class at Camp Lejeune a few months later, and received his primary Military Occupational Specialty of 0311.
Emerson was deployed to many countries throughout his time in the Marines, and he even became a Golden Shellback.
Unfortunately, his time in the military was cut short, however, as Emerson suffered the final blow of his many injuries he racked up while enlisted. He became a Disabled for Life American Veteran, and while he may not serve in the battlefield anymore, he still serves his country and his fellow military servicemen in many other ways.
Emerson is part of multiple veteran organizations, and he spends a lot of time volunteering as well. He loves having the opportunity to give back as much as he can, and when he got the opportunity to join AMVETS, he did not hesitate.
“I had already joined several other VSOs and thought AMVETS was a good organization that is very open to allowing all honorably discharged veterans to join,” Emerson stated. “They want to help all veterans.”
That last statement makes Emerson the perfect fit for AMVETS. He wants to help veterans and people alike, and he has been doing that in many ways ever since his honorable discharge.
“Michael believes in giving back to his community and has been a community volunteer for more than 35-plus years,” his website says. “Michael’s volunteer philosophy is: ‘I believe to be a good citizen, you need to give back to your Community and Country for the common good.’”
That is why Emerson spends so much time volunteering and giving back. He believes that is the way you help build up the community, and it is a way to help show your support.
Every single place Emerson volunteers at, he gives it his all. He does not ask for any sort of monetization or praise in return. Instead, he focuses on truly helping these organizations by donating his time, expertise, designs, connections and contacts.
The memorials and veterans organizations Emerson supports are:
Waller County Veterans Memorial
National Desert Storm War Memorial
Gold Star Families Memorial Monument
Hayward 9/11 Memorial
Oakland County, Michigan 9/11 Memorial
Silent Heroes of The Cold War National Memorial
The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
Castro Valley Veterans Memorial
Flight 93 National Memorial
2nd Marine Division Remembrance Monument
The Flight 93 Memorial
Again, Emerson does not support any of these organizations for recognition or monetary gain. He genuinely cares about each and every one of these organizations and what they stand for.
Emerson also believes it is a way of being able to serve even after not getting to serve as an active military member for as long as he thought he would. He shows day in and day out that he joined the military because he wanted to serve his country and give back.
In fact, just last month, Emerson got his hands dirty by serving firsthand, and it was an experience that he will take with him for the rest of his life.
“In June 2023, I volunteered with a friend and fellow US Marine to go to the country of war-ravaged Ukraine on a Humanitarian Aid Mission,” Emerson said. “We brought many needed items, such as battle tourniquets, burn cream, food, 600 pairs of Bombas socks, and much more medical equipment. Also, while we were there we bought and donated more food, medical equipment and cleaning supplies. We met up with hundreds of UkrainiansWar Widows, Orphans, Refugees, Military Disabled Veterans, Government Officials, Ukrainian Media, plus Soldiers of the Ukrainian Military.”
Emerson believes that to see the change, you have to be the change. That is why he continues to use his experiences from the war for good, and why he is a well-respected military veteran.
AMVETS and so many other organizations are fortunate to have Emerson in their corner, as he is a great addition to all their communities.
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