Honoring our Nation’s Veterans and All They Have Given Us
7‑Eleven Field Leader and former army aviator Kevin Wolf reflects on lessons learned through his family’s military service
Veterans Day is a time to reflect on and honor the sacrifices made by the many heroic men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. It is not only a time to honor and respect those who are currently serving, but more importantly — a time for our country to salute those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
When I think of the word “veteran” I think of patriotism; I think of love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. For me personally, I remember what my family members went through in serving our country. When I was born in May 1968, my father was stationed in Vietnam fighting a war far from home as a young lieutenant in the Army. He had two young children at home in the United States, but he was willing to travel to face some of the most unimaginable situations in the defense of basic human principles. He was supported by his loving wife (married now over 50 years) who also made a commitment to love, endure, support, and patiently wait for him to return home.
As my father’s successful military career continued, it was hard for me to understand the “why” of it all when I was growing up. Why did we have to move every three years? Why did I have to constantly start over making friends? Why did I have to win my starting spot on another sports team? Why did I have to go to another new school? Why was life so unfair? My father never really wanted to talk about the war — it was a rare occasion to hear him discuss his experiences during his 23-year military career. It wasn’t until I donned the uniform myself that I started to understand the core values of what it means to serve.
For me, service is a commitment, camaraderie — an investment in our country and our freedom. It is an opportunity to be part of a community and to help the greater good. Service means discipline, courage and the willingness to do something for others while expecting nothing in return. Service is freedom for our country, prosperity and our inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The military taught my family and I many things that I may not have realized at the time but am thankful for now. I learned how to be reliable, adaptable and sociable in a team environment. As a former military pilot, it taught me the importance of a good sense of direction and preparedness. It taught me to learn from the experiences of others and what servant leadership is all about.
As I reflect on Veterans Day as a 7‑Eleven leader, I think of our military personnel and vets… the many sacrifices they have made, and how we as a company embody that same “service” spirit. Knowing that our company culture and leadership principles closely align to some of the best values I was taught during my military service inspires my work here. After all, serving is our business and that business extends beyond our stores and into our communities.
To our men and women in uniform, past, present, and future — thank you for your service.
Kevin Wolf | Director of Operations, 7‑Eleven, Inc.