Prosper shows support for vets each day

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
Prosper Police Officer Erin Hubbard

For over one hundred years, municipalities have been honoring the sacrifices of Veterans on November 11th.  While this is the official day that we as a country thank servicemen and servicewomen, Veterans throughout Prosper agree that residents honor Veterans throughout the year.   

Erin Hubbard is a Prosper police officer and served in the Air Force. 

“I have been a Police Officer in the Town of Prosper for a little over 13 years after being the first female officer hired,” Hubbard said.  “I work patrol but am also the community resources officer, crime prevention/public education officer, and mental health liaison for the department.”

“I retired after over 20 years in the Air Force/Air Force Reserves as a Master Sergeant (E7,)” Hubbard said.  “I served in Operation Allied Force (Kosovo Conflict,) Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom, deploying to multiple locations in the Middle East including Iraq.”  

Hubbard feels supported by Prosper residents. 

“During my last deployment, my parents (who were Prosper residents) were recognized as a Blue Star Family by the Town and it really made them happy.  My dad was especially touched as he was a Marine Corp Veteran that served in Vietnam and was a Director for the Veterans Affairs Administration.”   

Members of the Lubbock VFW salute the United States flag during the Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 through Lubbock.

Ian Patrick is another Prosper Police Officer who served the country. 

“I joined the United States Air Force in June 1984, straight out of high school,” Patrick said.  “I was a Law Enforcement specialist, having served four years with an Honorable discharge. The military is great for teaching discipline and responsibility.  I knew after I left the military that Law Enforcement and helping others was my calling.” 

“The residents and members of the Town Council remind us daily how grateful they are for our service,” Patrick said.  “We have churches in Town having Veteran parades and services, honoring all who have served.  It is very heartwarming and makes me proud that I can continue to serve them.”  

Mayor Ray Smith has shown his support for Veterans through family traditions.  “Thank you for your service and commitment to our tremendous country,” Mayor Smith said.  “I am honored to know many of you and think of you when the national anthem is played.  I have taught my kids and grandkids to respect you and show their appreciation when the Star-Spangled Banner is played by standing up and putting their hands over their heart.”   

There are two important ways in which Prosper residents can be supportive neighbors to those who have served in the Armed Forces: not generalizing and asking how they are doing.  

Jeremy Bennett is a therapist and retired from the Air Force.  He currently works for the VA in Bonham. 

“I think the best way to support a veteran is to not lump them all together,” Bennett said.  “While most veterans have some similarities like patriotism, not all had the same military experience, even if they have been to the same place as another veteran you may know.  Simply ask questions and respect boundaries if you are told they do not want to talk about things.”   

Tom Wiesle is the Board Chair for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

“It is a sad statistic but 22 veterans a day die by suicide,” Wiesle said.  “What we need to do is to check in with these folks and ask how they are doing.  They were at war and they saw such hard things, and it is so hard to return home.  What is so tough is veterans are not likely to ask for help.  We rely on those around them to ask how they are doing, especially if they seem depressed.  It is simple, but it is so hard to ask: ‘Are you okay?’  It is hard to be brave and you may feel uncomfortable asking, but you can get them the help they need.”