For Memorial Day, ThinkAdvisor likes to dedicate at least a little time to an important group of financial advisors: military veterans. Not all stories by veterans are about hitting the beaches or laying down fire; many are of the quiet moments before and after that action over the course of many years of serving in the U.S. armed forces.
ThinkAdvisor continues its five-year-old tradition of honoring advisors who served, whether in war or peace. This slideshow presents their names, images and what they remember about or learned from their service.
Name: Johnny W. Dawson
Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Edward Jones
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Private First Class / Corporal
Service Dates: 2003 – 2007
Work you did: Infantry / Squad Leader / 2nd Battalion 7th Marines 1st Marine Division
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Memorial Day is more than just recognition; it is about sacrifice, honor and remembrance. Each day, I can see the faces and hear the voices of the men who fought selflessly for their country and paid the ultimate price. I am honored to remember them on Memorial Day through a tradition we started a few years back. Each year, I take my three sons to plant flags to honor all of the men and women who have laid down their lives for our freedoms in this great country. Semper Fi.
Name: Dick Gootee
Title/Company: CFP / Atherton Wealth Advisors
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 3rd class petty officer
Service Dates: 1960 – 1963
Work you did: Guided missile technician
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Initially had a misconception about great travel involved until I found out about having a billet (job) that came with it. After guided missile school, I spent 2 years on newly commissioned guided missile destroyer TRAVELING the high seas. Looking back it was in top 10 of defining life experiences.
Name: David Hollands
Title/Company: President / Eagle Wealth Solutions
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: 2LT – COL
Service Dates: 1982 – 2012
Work you did: Artillery Officer
Brief story that stands out from your service time: In 2005 I was the Chief Financial Officer for the US Ambassador in Afghanistan, as a mobilized Army Reservist. I left 100 clients and one wife behind when I deployed. I lost one client and one wife during my tour, but when I returned I got the client back!
Name: William Sweet
Title/Company: Investment Advisor / Ritholtz Wealth Management
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Lieutenant – Captain
Service Dates: 2002 – 2007
Work you did: Armor Officer
Brief story that stands out from your service time: My last three years in the Army were spent as a Basic Training Company Commander. I was the officer in charge of a few dozen of the Army’s best NCOs (Drill Sergeants). Whenever we would have a formation and I’d get to talk to the entire company, I could never stop thinking about how representative the Army is from across the nation — in few other places will you see collected up kids from Alaska to Arkansas, from Maine to Hawaii — all thrown together and asked to work together even though they know nothing about each other. And the funny thing was that there was this underlying common bond that connected everyone who volunteered — it’s a little hokey, but that love of country, the desire to serve, the want to be a part of something greater than yourself.
I’d look out on the formation and think that these are the best the country has all gathered together to accomplish something meaningful — to protect and defend what most of us take for granted on a daily basis. To watch kids that could barely understand each other’s accents at the beginning of basic turn to lifelong friends by the end was something that I always admired. And it was folks from all walks of life — soldiers who barely graduated high school from the deep south alongside highly-educated, smart leaders like my colleague Patrick Haley and my friend Wes Gray — we all speak the same language deep down. It’s a real thing.