Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday for the Military: Meet Nancy Williams

I am so pleased to introduce Naval Commander Nancy Williams to you today! Commander Williams helps with a program called Honor Flights. Be sure and watch the movies that follow the interview, as well--with tissues handy!

Amber: Thank you for joining us today! To start, could you share with us a little bit about yourself and why you chose to join the U.S. military?

Commander Williams: I entered the USNR in 1986 through the Direct Commission Officer Program. I was able to come in as an ENS due to my degree and work experience. They asked for an 8 year commitment...that was 24 yrs ago and I'm still serving. I basically joined because I love my country. I graduated high school in 1971 at the end of Vietnam when no one was talking to us about serving our country. I went to college and became a teacher.

Amber: Thank you so much for serving our country with such dedication! Could you give us a brief description of the Honor Flight program you help with?

Commander Williams: Honor Flight Programs were the brain child of a group from Springfield, OH, who wanted WWII vets to be able to visit the newly finished Memorial in DC. It has grown nationwide with each state sponsoring their own flights. Here in AR Walmart and Tyson Foods are our sponsors for two flights annually. It is a charter flight taking about 100 veterans and 50 guardians for the one day trip. I accompanied my father on the first flight and volunteered to make calls and assign guardians, etc. I probably volunteer at least 30 days on each flight.

Amber: How long have you been involved with the Honor Flight programs, and how would you describe your overall experience?

Commander Williams: I began working with Bill McKenzie (Tyson Foods) in the spring of '09. It is - by far - the best use of my time. These veterans are so appreciative of the opportunity to make the trip. Many of them meet and establish friendships and social contacts with others like themselves.

I work part time at Lowe's here in Bentonville. We give a discount to veterans. This gives me a chance to "sell" the program to my customers. If they say they served during WWII I ask if they have heard of the flight, etc. This opens many doors and allows the information to get out.

Amber: It sounds like such a rewarding program for everyone involved! How have you seen God at work in your own life and in the lives of the WWII veterans you are serving?

Commander Williams: I was raised in a Christian home and have never really known life without Christ. As an adult - aging adult..ha...I can't imagine how people function without giving God praise for all aspects of one's life.

Amber: Have you learned anything about humility during your own service to the United States or through helping with the Honor Flight programs?

Commander Williams: As I stated previously, the veterans and guardians (many are children of veterans) are so humbled by the flight and the care and love that is shown to them. When the flight is met at DCA uniformed personnel are in the Jetway. The veterans think this is the extent of the welcome. Tears begin to flow and they are so moved by the show of appreciation. Little do they know that waiting in the terminal can be over 100 people waving flags and clapping for them. The USO does an amazing job with the coordination of the flights. Sometimes 5 or 6 will come in on one day.

Amber: What a special experience! To conclude, how can we pray for you and all those in the United States military?

Commander Williams: Prayers for our leaders is an ongoing issue. We need to remember them and their power in the issues that will affect our future. So many of the military are so young...they have joined the military to support their families during this time of financial strain. The military is guaranteed salary and benefits during this desperate time. A 22 yr old Marine from Bentonville was killed last week. He has a wife. So sad.

Amber: May the Lord comfort the late Marine's family, and all those who have lost loved ones in the military.

Thank you for taking the time to visit with us today, and thank you for telling us more about this amazing program you help with!

Readers, CDR Williams shared these videos with me that talk about the Honor Flight programs. They are very moving, and they give just a glimpse of how meaningful these opportunities are for the veterans.

If you needed tissues for the one above, you might need them for this next video, too!

Very powerful!

(The pictures of the WWII Memorial are from my own trip to Washington D.C. this past summer.)


Renee Ann said...

Beautiful, beautiful . . . any significant sacrifice reminds of the One who went to the Cross for us, but especially the sacrifice of guys like these. Praying God's blessings for Nancy and all the other volunteers. Loved the videos. Thanks for this post, Amber!

Amber Holcomb said...

Renee Ann,

I agree--beautiful! May God bless these veterans for their sacrifices, and may He bless those who are volunteering with the Honor Flights, like Commander Williams. :)

Aren't those videos so moving? I'm so glad Nancy shared them with us. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!


Vince said...

Hi Amber:

What a wonderful post. I put a link to it on my blog. Loved the movies. Honoring these men and women, honors everyone in the military.


Amber Holcomb said...


Thank you for helping me to get in contact with Nancy! It was so nice of her to do the interview with me, and the videos are truly touching. :)

And yes, I completely agree that honoring these men and women honors all of the military! Thank you for linking to this post, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)


Amanda Stanley said...

Thank you for the tissue warning, Amber- though, your wonderful Monday for the Military posts should always have that warning :) What Naval Commander Nancy Williams does through this Honor Flights program is so very beautiful and powerful and truly a gift to these amazing veterans who served and sacrificed so much for our country. It must feel so amazing to honor such heroes and be there to see their faces and experience their emotions, and to just be that encouraging word and warm hug they need. May the Lord bless you and this program abundantly, Nancy, for all the sacrifices you’ve made and continue to make, and what you do for our country and for these precious veterans.

And, that dear, late Marine’s story really made me cry. To think he was younger than me and he had a wife... I’m sure for their age they weren’t married that long… I can’t imagine what his young widow is feeling now… and so close to Christmas… May Jesus mend her broken heart and bring comfort, peace and rest to her and the rest of his family now and in the days and months to come. It’s so heartbreaking. I can’t count how many stories I’ve seen on the news this past year of young men in our military that have been killed in the line of duty. They have been local men, all in their 20’s- and to think RI is so small… I can’t imagine what other larger states hear on their local news…

Amber, thank you for the constant, beautiful reminders to pray and intercede on behalf of our military men and women who do so much for us… prayer is certainly the least we can do for them, yet, it is the most powerful thing, as well. These posts are always so inspiring and I pray the Lord will continue to bless them and all the wonderful, courageous, selfless people you interview for them, and, of course, YOU, my dear friend! You have such a heart of compassion and your posts always have such deep meaning to them and encourage us in our walk with Christ and to look past ourselves to others in need. Thank you for setting such a loving example for us all :)

Amanda Stanley

PS- I wanted to send you out a card today and didn’t know when you were heading home for Christmas break, so I was wondering which address would be better to send it to- school or the P.O. Box?

Amber Holcomb said...


Your comments are always so heartfelt and poignant--thank you so much for taking the time to leave them and encourage the people I interview (and me, as well!). What Nancy does is truly special and inspiring, and I agree--may the Lord bless her and all those involved with this program abundantly!

And it truly is sad about all these young men in the military losing their lives and leaving behind their loved ones. It can be so easy to become callous after hearing about so many lives lost or people injured, and I confess that I have been that way at times--not really realizing how truly sad it is and how much their loved ones must be hurting. Thank you for your compassionate heart, Amanda, and for reminding us of our need to pray for those in the military, as well as their families.

Also, thank you for your kind words to me. You're so sweet, and I'm so thankful for your friendship! :) May the Lord use these interviews for His glory.

Love ya!


P.S. Have I already told you that you're sweet? ;) I love your letters! I'm leaving for home tomorrow (Friday, December 17), so if you could send it to my home address (the PO Box) that would be great! I'm hoping to write you a letter soon, as well, and I'm sorry I haven't done so yet!