In honor of Veterans Day, veteran Ginger Apprich joins the podcast to share her experience in the Navy. Ginger is the Community Relations Director for Ovation Heartwood Preserve in Omaha, Nebraska, managed by Arete Living. It was in the service that she discovered her passion for senior living.
Here are a few of the questions Ginger answered during this exclusive interview. Read below, then get the full episode on your favorite podcast platform!
What inspired you to join the Navy?
It was that uniform, that military uniform that just stood out to me. Having family members that were part of the military – it just put me in awe every time I saw the uniform and especially those that came before me as a veteran – they're the ones that really paved the way and so I wanted to be a part of that.
Of the places you traveled while in the Navy, which stood out the most to you?
Ginger: One of the things I really enjoyed having the opportunity to do in the military was volunteer, so whenever I had the opportunity to go on base, I would seek out different places to volunteer and one of my favorites was a senior care center. It was great because I really loved being with the seniors and talking to them and just learning about what got them to be in their military, so it was nice.
Host: Did that volunteer experience kick-start your passion into the senior living industry?
Ginger: It really did. My biggest passion that I was able to experience was hospice. I couldn't believe that at the end of life some of their patients or residents didn't have any family, so I was a volunteer with hospice and I was able to actually sit with them at the end of life. Nobody comes into this world being born without family around and they shouldn't have to leave the world without anybody around, so it was at that moment I knew I wanted to be in the senior living industry.
Looking back on your service, what are you most proud of?
Ginger: I am most proud that I was chosen to be in the military. I did receive some awards – Sailor of the Quarter several times – but that's not what was important to me. What was truly important was putting on that uniform just like several veterans did prior to me doing that and really serving our country. It gave me such pride every time I put that uniform on, and I loved it.
Host: And I remember you saying in your email that even today sometimes you get emotional when you hear the national anthem or see someone else in a uniform.
Ginger: I do. I mean I get goosebumps every time I hear the national anthem and just seeing someone that was a veteran whether it be they wear a hat or they have an item of clothing on that tells me they're a veteran, because what's really important is our veterans shouldn't just be thanked on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They should be thanked every single day and I purposely carry with me pins that say thank you veteran, and I hand them out when I'm in the airport or grocery shopping. I am just so proud whether they served one day or 30 years that they put that uniform on and represented our country.
You have several family members that have served as well, so tell me about your family service.
My husband was a colonel in the army. He has since retired, so I actually followed him when I got out of the military. I interviewed him – that's how we met. My dad was in the Navy. My son is currently in the Army Reserves, and my father-in-law was in the Air Force, so lots of different branches and a lot of experience. And to this day when we all get together, we still tell those stories of being in the military.
What can we do as citizens to best support our veterans?
The biggest thing is just say thank you. I was at a veterans ceremony in which my husband and I would pin all of the veterans and thank them. Unfortunately I had one situation – it was a veteran that had served in Vietnam and he threw that pin back at us and he said, “Don't honor me. Nobody did it in my past, why should you do it now?” And I was really taken aback by that because those veterans during that era weren't thanked, so I just feel it's so important if you see a veteran, if you see them wearing maybe a veteran's hat or some type of clothing that really identifies them as a veteran, say thank you and it will mean the world to them.
What message do you have for those who are currently serving our country?
I want to say thank you. Like I said before, it doesn't matter if you serve one day or 30 years, you are a veteran. You took the oath, and keep going and be a receiver of when someone says thank you because they mean that. They're telling you that for a reason.
Listen to the full episode
We extend a special thank-you to Ginger and her family for their selfless service. Thank you to Ginger and all our veterans.
Listen to the full episode on your favorite podcast platform or below!