Colonel John Buckley served 33 years in the Army. During his service, John commanded infantry soldiers in combat and peacekeeping operations. After retiring, he continued to be a tremendous advocate for veterans. John now works at Koch Industries and has developed a sustainable military veteran recruiting and retention program. He volunteers his time to help prepare veterans for employment as well as mentors local and national companies to place veterans with jobs. John has been active in Passageways, Advance Kansas, and the Greater Wichita Veterans Advocacy Board. He is now developing recruiting and employment programs for people with criminal records. Colonel Buckley is a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and a Combat Infantryman’s badge. Thank you for your dedication and service, John!
Gary Bartlett was drafted into the Army in 1966, days shy of his 20th birthday. After training, he was sent to Vietnam where he served in the 25th and 4th Infantry Divisions as a foot soldier. In 1968, Gary stepped on a land mine and suffered nearly fatal wounds that resulted in the loss of his legs. After returning to the states, he spent nearly 2 years in and out of hospitals and was told he couldn’t ride horses, one of his life passions. In the early 1970s, Gary defied the odds and had a special saddle created for team roping in junior college finals. He has also led demonstrations for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Finals. Gary is a recipient of the Army’s Purple Heart Medal, an avid fisherman, and hunter. Thank you for your service and sacrifice, Gary!
Aaron completed two deployments throughout his 11 years of service. His first deployment was in Africa for 12 months serving as a security element for the Air Force Special Operations Pararescue Team. He spent 9 months in Kuwait and Syria during his second deployment, serving as a security element for the Army Special Forces to train the Free Syrian Army, the people’s opposition to the regime.
He has received Army Achievement, Army Good Conduct, Army Reserve Component Achievement, National Defense Service, National Service, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals as well as the Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon.
Aaron, an avid Shocker fan, streamed WSU games overseas and has been a season ticket holder for over 15 years. Congrats Aaron and thank you for your service!!!
Jason, a retired deputy, has found himself protecting long after serving. In early 2019, off-duty Jason responded to a car wreck he heard late at night near his suburban home. He found one coherent victim and another in a locked truck 50 yards from the road due to the impact of the wreck. After breaking the glass on the passenger’s side, Jason found a man barely breathing and called 911.
Without Jason’s quick response, the truck would most likely not have been found until morning – and the second victim, Al (wearing a black hat in right photo), would not have attended the game. Jason has helped evacuate a family from a nearby fire, helped a hitchhiker in the Flint Hills on a freezing night, and called for help upon finding multiple highway wrecks. Congrats, Jason, and thank you for your sacrifice!
Francesca served this country in the Air Force for nine years. Her service included assignments in Afghanistan and right here at McConnell AFB. Now a full-time student at WSU majoring in Communications and Electronic Media. Francesca actively participates in the Student Veteran Organization and Peer Advisors for Veteran Education. Recently she worked to raise funds for hurricane victims as well as military families. Francesca strives to bring attention to issues plaguing the veteran’s community.
Dean, a combat veteran, served this country in the Army for 10 years. His service included assignments in Iraq, South Korea, and Fort Riley, KS. Dean now serves as a Freedom of Information Act Officer for the Wichita VA. Recently, Dean completed a suicide awareness 22-hour walk/run fundraiser to raise money for veterans in the Wichita community. A motivator at heart, Dean participates in runs throughout Wichita helping runners get the inspiration they need to get across the finish line.
For the past 9 years, Michelle has worked as a Victim Assistance Unit Coordinator helping domestic violence, homicide, and many other victims get through unimaginable trauma. Michelle has participated in countless events to raise awareness about domestic violence. From setting up booths and tables at the “Purple Mile Awareness Walk” to hosting speaking events to discuss the importance of domestic violence awareness, Michelle continuously serves this community.