Veterans Day 2017 Jason and Marina Hallet

Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. “And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him. Mark 12:28-34

There are special people, times, and places which have made an impact on me as I’ve journeyed through life. One of those extraordinary events took place a few years ago when my wife and I were given the privilege of working behind the scenes at Operation Heal Our Patriots (OHOP) in Alaska. (See Veterans Day 2015 The Beating Heart of a Patriot).

During that time we were honored to meet eighty remarkable people who have sacrificed much for America to remain a free nation. Since my wife and I were support staff (and quite busy with our work), we didn’t have much time to get to know many of the eighty visitors to OHOP that month. But each week, the Lord arranged for us to be able to spend a little extra time with some of those folks. One of those special couples is Jason and Rachel Hallett. As with a few others, their story has remained in my heart long after we left Alaska. In fact, I still pray for Jason and Rachel most every day.

Jason was wounded while in Afghanistan. Those bent on terror had set a trap which injured Jason while he defended our freedom. Pictured above is Jason with his daughter Marina, so named to commemorate the Marines, the military branch Jason chose to serve his country. Jason and Rachel also have a son, Jason Jr., Marina’s twin!

On the final day couples are at OHOP, we all gather around a fire ring near the center of the lodge. It was cold and rainy the Friday when Jason’s group met. I think everyone was bundled up with multiple layers and raincoats. All but one of us, that is.

Another former Marine, a rather large fellow, called across the group: “Jason, I’ve already told my kids you’re the toughest Marine I’ve ever met. How can you be out here in just shorts and a T-shirt?”

“Aw, I just reached down deep for a can of man!” came Jason’s witty reply.

A microphone was always passed around during this fireside time together, and anyone who desired could comment on what the week with other veterans had meant to him or her. The comments were always humbling to hear, and I still remember a few. When the mic was passed to Jason, these are the words I recall: “I know you guys can get down sometimes. Just call me. Anytime, day or night. Call me. I’m there for you. Just call.”

I hope you’ll take another look at the picture at the top of this post.

As long as I am able, I will stand for our National Anthem.

Thank you, Jason and Rachel. Thanks seems so small compared to what you have to deal with every day. But sometimes that’s the best I’ve got.

Thank you, Veterans.

Hope you have a good day.

And I hope you won’t miss an opportunity to thank a Vet – every time you get a chance.

To learn more about Operation Heal Our Patriots, please visit: Operation Heal Our Patriots

To learn how to have a relationship with God, see Got God?


  1. Adam

    I only wish I’d have read this earlier to help get into a better frame of mind for last weekend. Sadly, other than sending a text to my father-in-law who was a career Air Force officer, I didn’t do anything. I’m ashamed to admit this… Looking at that picture and getting a peek into Jason’s heart is humbling.
    I’ve got my share of problems and they are significant…. just like Jason’s. I want to be more like Jason and be outward focused, offering myself to others, in-spite (to spite?) of my problems.
    Thank you Thomas for sharing this and helping me recenter on the only ONE who heals and He starts with our hearts.

  2. Ed

    I always thank our soldiers in uniform when I see them on the street or in an airport waiting to fly to a distant, hostile land to defend our freedom and stand against evil, risking everything, even their lives, given to them by their creator. To sacrifice their lives for others, even those they don’t know, is the greatest loving gift they can give! This reminds me of how our Savior and Lord gave his life, on a cross, for every person who ever lived or will ever live. Thank you Jason and thank you Lord Jesus!

  3. Jason

    Thomas, Thanks for sharing a snippet of Jason’s powerful story.

    Jason and Rachel, thank you for your selflessness, sacrifice, and willingness to serve. You are true heroes of freedom that allow us to stand proud to be Americans.

  4. Ellen L

    I was fortunate to be at OHOP at the same time and was honored to meet Jason and Rachel. I have told the ‘can of man’ story numerous times. Love the photo of Jason and Marina…..I too will stand!

  5. Rocky

    Thanks for sharing this story. My contributions to society are merely “dirty rags” (Isaiah 64:6) compared to what Jason has sacrificed. He is the epitome of a true hero and I thank God for him and the fellow Veterans he stands with.

  6. Jerry M

    Veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States are all my heroes. Several years ago my wife, daughter and I started shaking hands with veterans we would meet on the street and in the stores as we shopped. We would tell them thank you for their service and time to keep us free and safe. Their surprised look of appreciation was sometimes so moving that we would walk away with tears in our eyes.. I would be humbled to have the privilege to meet and shake the hand of such a great warrior for our freedom as Jason. May our GOD and FATHER in heaven richly bless all of our Veterans for giving of themselves to protect and provide the freedoms we enjoy in America.

  7. Deb K

    “Aw, I just reached down deep for a can of man!” came Jason’s witty reply. WOW! What an amazing story…one of just many around our country of people who gave so much of themselves to keep our country safe! These are the stories that portray God’s great grace and help us realize that ALL things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. Thank you for sharing this story, Thomas, and for all you and your wife do for the Lord!

  8. Cesar

    The motto of the Marine Corps is “The Few The Proud The Marines”. It takes a special kind of dedication and willingness to sacrifice everything, including your life, for those you love the most. Jesus did that on the cross for me and the entire world. Jason did that for His family like so many before him. Thank you Jason for not flinching in the face of evil and doing your duty. From one Marine to another Semper Fi brother. God be with you.

  9. Bob S

    Beautiful Photo. The courage and strength of Jason is an inspiration for those of us who too often complain and worry about issues that are petty to say the least. May Jason have a long and enjoyable life.

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