This is the 19th in a series about graduates from Mountain Valley High School who are serving our country in the military.

U.S. Army Specialist (SPC) Randy Gunther graduated from Mountain Valley High School in 1999, two years before the tragedies on 9-11. He was honorably discharged in 2002. Based on his military and life experience, he has a philosophy to share.

SPC Gunther said, “The most important life lesson I learned in the military was that life, like the military, is what you make it. If you just want to be ordinary and live an average day-to-day life, you can. If you want to do extraordinary things and travel to new places, and experience all that life has to offer, you can. Never make excuses on why you can’t do something. No one wants to hear about things you didn’t do, but the things you did.”

This philosophy is evident in SPC Gunther’s choices since his discharge. In addition to starting a family, he has applied what he learned in the military to a career.

“Since my discharge in 2002, I have had two daughters, learned how to weld, contracted with an aviation company in Iraq and Afghanistan in support of military operations from 2004 through 2006,” SPC Gunther explained. “I returned to working in boilers and then to college after taking a couple classes while in the military and completed my associate’s degree in Precision Machine Technology at CMCC. Three days after graduation, I was on a plane contracting for another company and have been in Afghanistan doing logistics and warehouse work as a warehouse foreman at the biggest Supply Support Activity in the military based in Kandahar, Afghanistan.”

His daughters are 10-year-old Halle Hebert and five-year-old Maya Gunther. They both reside in Rumford.

SPC Gunther has certainly done extraordinary things and traveled to new places. Travel and challenging himself was the motivation for his enlistment.

He said, “I was motivated to enlist because I wanted to have the opportunity to see parts of the nation that I hadn’t seen, be put through challenges I had never faced, and start my life on my own. I didn’t feel like I was mature enough to start college and see it through to completion, and I like the thought of physically challenging myself to this day. I think by physically pushing yourself to the limits, one can become mentally stronger is all aspects.”

During his active duty service, SPC Gunther worked as a Unit Supply Specialist and traveled in the U.S. and overseas to Bosnia for six months.

He explained, “I was attached to an aviation battalion and provided anything from pens and paper to calibration tools and field tents.

While stationed in Bosnia, I was assigned to the armory as the Arms Sergeant. I requested, received and issued food items to off-base units, and was responsible for training and supervising four junior supply clerks.”

SPC Gunther went through Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, OK. Then he was transferred to Fort Lee, VA for schooling. Next he went to Airborne School to become a paratrooper at Fort Benning, GA and finally was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC.

Since he grew up in Rumford, his support team has scattered all over the country. Most of his siblings have also served in the armed forces.

Mother Avis Gunther and only sister Patricia Gunther live in Raleigh, NC. His brother, Karlton Cole, served eight years in the Army, lives in Wake Forest, NC, with his wife, Kristin, and two sons, Ryan and Dylan. Another brother Andrew Cole, served six years in the Navy, lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, Trinh and their children, Leilani and Ryder.

His father, Howard Gunther, lives in Bethel and has two sons from a previous marriage. The eldest, Scott Gunther, served three years in the Army, and Eric Gunther, who is deceased, never served.

If you know of a MVHS alumnus who is currently serving their country or has recently finished their enlistment, contact Donna Peare at [email protected]