He had just turned 14 when the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. Like many Americans, he wanted to “join the fight,” but Joe Neves was too young. The wait seemed like an eternity, but as soon has he turned 17, he convinced his father to sign a “permission slip” so that he could enlist in the Navy.

The USS Midway Museum’s flight deck was turned into a summertime Santa’s workshop when The Home Depot Foundation came to town.

Home Depot volunteers from all over the country built playhouses, picnic tables, dog beds, outdoor benches and chairs, and planters all destined to become early Christmas presents for the families of military members and veterans, as well as military and veteran support organizations.

For more than 15 years, I’ve been creating events on the USS Midway Museum that bring awareness and honor to our military veterans and those who still serve in uniform. However, nothing I’ve ever done was as emotional and memorable for me as my experience as a guardian for a group of Vietnam War veterans on the most recent Honor Flight to Washington D.C.