Merlino & Gonzalez - November 2019

November 2019





About Veterans Day

Veterans Day is meaningful for us. We have clients who are veterans and family members who are actively serving, and we take pride in knowing them. My own father served in Vietnam, and my grandfather served in World War II. But I think one of our colleagues sheds inspiring light on what it means to have military family. Nicole McCarthy is an independent title closer we’ve worked with for over 15 years, and she is also a mother whose son has served in the military. I can think of no one better to tell us what this holiday means to them.

the right decision and that he wanted to serve his country. How can you be upset about that kind of ambition? Within two months of letting us know, he was gone. Sure, we were proud. But we were also scared. For two years, Nicholas served with the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, or FAST. It took him to Guam and eventually Japan. There were lengths of time when we couldn’t contact him. Either he was out of communication range or his mission wouldn’t allow it. The longest stint was when he was stationed on a ship for seven months in Japan. For those seven months, we didn’t hear from our son, not even so much as an assurance that he was all right. That’s a terrifying prospect for any parent. But in his five years of service, Nicholas stayed safe, worked his way up to sergeant, and returned home in October 2018. We couldn’t have been prouder of him, but we were also thankful to have him home. We count our blessings every day that he came back to us without any damage to his body or mind. We certainly know that not everyone is as lucky as we are. I’ll admit that Veterans Day didn’t used to hold a lot of meaning for my family. It was a holiday that we respected but rarely celebrated. Now, having a son who’s served and hearing all about it from his perspective, it’s a holiday I no longer take lightly. That’s because the sacrifices these people make are astounding. It’s more than putting themselves in harm’s way; these men and women miss holidays, birthdays, and watching their families grow. They miss out on the little things we all take for granted that make our lives worth living. I cherish my son and every single service member out there for those sacrifices. So this Veterans Day, take a moment to think about those who have served. There’s a lot to learn from all they represent. Appreciate the little things, and keep your loved ones close. It’s what these men and women fight for every day. –Nicole McCarthy

It was a shocking surprise when Nicholas announced that he was joining the military. While my husband’s father and grandfather served, my own family hadn’t. So it was something I’d never given much thought or consideration.

When our country was rocked by 9/11, it affected people in different ways. Nicholas’ father worked for the NYPD Emergency Service Unit at the time. We didn’t hear from him for over 6 hours, and it was terrifying. We eventually learned that he was okay, but for Nicholas, I think that day sparked something more. He was only 9 years old, but fierce patriotism began growing in him. Nicholas eventually went off to college, as was always the plan. But he came back like a boomerang and announced his intention to join the Marines. It was a complete shock. We hardly knew anything about the military, and we certainly didn’t know what to expect. He assured us it was



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