On Saturday, I joined a group of friends at an advanced handgun safety class in “Gun World”.  I grew up around guns—mainly rifles for target practice—and although I was not a hunter, hunting season was a big deal in our family, and was quite enjoyable for those who did hunt.

Until Saturday’s class, I had never known the science behind guns, and despite going to ranges before, the experience of using so many different types of handguns opened my eyes as to how difficult the majority of them are to load and fire.  I highly recommend everyone take the course, irrespective of whether one is interested in owning a gun or not, as it will provide firsthand knowledge of firearms, and enlighten you to whether guns or people are the problem.

Television and the movies make loading, firing and obtaining weapons appear easy, when in reality, both men and women, though they could all eventually shoot the various guns, found that one size does not fit all, and shooting with the intention to kill requires practice and intent.  Some of the most important things I learned were how to use mace, and that a knife is often a more effective means of neutralizing an attacker, for a gun requires more time, distance, and precise aim.

We were exhausted from the class upon returning home.  It required strength and concentration, and merely being around gunshots can be emotional.   It was originally our intention to go to the range this Veteran’s Day weekend, but going provided me with a new respect for guns, as well as an even greater appreciation for all the people who serve our country.  The ability to continually train for what could and does happen every day in the world is both physically and emotionally challenging.

Those who choose to work in the construction industry daily, especially our tradesmen doing physical labor. They are kept going not only by love of what they do, but also the support of others to value them and recognize the importance of what they do.  Over ½ million people in construction are veterans.

According to an article written last year by Plangrid, “Each year, more than 200,000 service members return to civilian life. Veterans, as well as active military members, are a vital segment of the construction workforce. In fact, 15.5% of all veterans enter the construction industry. Today, approximately 666,400 veterans work in the construction. “

Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry.

Although Veteran’s Day is one day in a year and is typically not a standard construction industry day-off, we can make it a point to thank the veterans who have chosen to serve in our industry. If you know someone transitioning out of the military, encourage them to consider a construction career.  We have a shortage in the trades, and we need people in all aspects of our industry with leadership training, the attitude and aptitude to work as a team, and embrace their teammates through thick and thin, like instilled in military personnel preparing for combat.

If you do not support our veterans currently consider donating or volunteering with Helping the Homefront, Operation Heal Our Patriots, Wounded Warrior Project or Gary Dinese Foundation.

Sometimes a day on the jobsite can feel like a battle.  If a real one was to occur, there is no better teammate to have on site than one professionally trained to defuse a situation.

Take time to thank those you know who served our country and a continuing to serve today. We are a nation of immigrants and our freedom is thankfully preserved by those that served from 1775 to currently today.  If you are one of those individuals, thank you.  America is the home of the free and the brave and one of those if you.

To Our Veterans,

Suzanne Breistol

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