When Wayne Gallant is not busy being sheriff of Oxford County, he can often be found volunteering at veteran events. Gallant, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, said he volunteers because it’s important to recognize our veterans and the sacrifices they have made and continue to make. This Veterans Day, Gallant is celebrating in his favorite way — with other veterans.
Name: Wayne J. Gallant
Occupation: Oxford County Sheriff
Hometown: Rumford all my life, and recently moved to Bethel this spring.
How did your military experience contribute to your career in law enforcement? Well, it probably taught me that being alert and paying attention to your environment and the space around you is very important; that there are times you need to be extremely vigilant, and at other times you need to be laid back and relaxed.
What is the biggest issue veterans face today, in your opinion? Same as always. It’s the young soldiers and warriors that put on the uniform of freedom, and represent what this country stands for — freedom — around the globe. And the biggest issue is the support and availability for VA Services to help our veterans manage and deal with the horror they have experienced.
What does Veterans Day mean to you? Dwight D. Eisenhower is quoted on Jan. 9, 1958, as having said, “America can be defined by one word — freedom.” George Orwell once said, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night, only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” So this is what Veterans Day means to me. It is a time for us to be thankful for the millions of rough men and women, who have made it possible for many to sleep peaceably, in a free nation, for more than 241 years.
How can civilians show their appreciation? Attend a Veterans Day event. When they know of a veteran or see one, just thank them for their service. And show respect to our flag. The same flag that so many veterans had to have draped over their bodies as they returned home.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining the Army? Not only does the Army have great opportunities to further one’s education, but it’s a time of growth, a time of maturity and a time to learn discipline, reverence and respect. So for a young person looking to go in the Army, or any of the other great branches of our armed forces, I say to them, “Congratulations.”
How do you personally celebrate Veterans Day? I will be sure to attend one or more events.
Sheriff Wayne Gallant, Vietnam veteran. (Maine Sheriff’s Association photo)