My name is Juan Carlos Castelan, I am serving in the US Army for 7 years now. It has come to my attention that there is an argument amongst two organizations in the community whose purpose is to provide a service to our community’s military service members. First off I want to thank Tommi Myers for starting the group Llano Military News Group; she had mentioned this idea to me years ago while I was on leave. I thought it was a good idea seeing how at the time we couldn’t get any news of what was happening at home, and several people would ask my mother what I was up to and where I was. The normal questions people ask parents of their children no matter what they went off to do. I, along with a few classmates joined the same year; we all left in the summer of 2005 after graduation. A few years later Tommie Myers came out and started the Llano Military News Group. My mother was now able to do and be a part of something with others in the same situation of being a parent with a child in the military. I have looked forward to the holidays when the LMNG would send care packages, there would be letters from random citizens of Llano, letters and pictures drawn from students of the Llano elementary School, all saying how they wished us well, to get home safe, and that they support us (Troops). A newspaper would be at the bottom, all kinds of junk food, toiletries, magazines, notebooks, and sometimes books would be in the boxes. We get care packages often during the holidays, but they are mostly random packages that get passed out to everyone. These packages from the Llano Military News Group were different. They were different in the fact that they were prepared for one purpose, to have the citizens of Llano, Texas get together with no other intention but to make sure that the sons and daughters of Llano received a piece of home during the holidays because they couldn’t be home for whatever reason, being deployed, stationed overseas, not able to take leave stateside, etc… whatever the reason it did not matter. We all were able to get a care package from the great citizens of Llano, Texas. I do not know the workings of the group, only that every once in a while I would get a message through my mother, email, or through social media that someone wanted to know where I was during a certain time frame. A few times I was in the same location, others I was preparing to move. All that being done for us (troops) is awesome, I can honestly tell you that everything in those care packages had some use to them. Now with all that, it still wasn’t enough I noticed. My mother told me of an event, the Armed Forces Days Rally. I do not believe Llano had done anything like this before. To publicly announce those actively serving in the military in their respecteive branch of service was I believe a great idea. Instead of celebrating those who have served in the past, we are going to celebrate those actively serving in their respective braches of the military. When I saw the photos and announcements of others that had joined the military I was surprised of how many had raised the right hand, I guess I shouldn’t have been. But it’s still great to know that we have so many men and women serving in the military.
I cannot speak on behalf of others serving in the military nor for the military. I have read the article and social media comments about the lack of effort the Llano Military News Group has put in over the years. And I would like to say something about that. The Llano Military News Group has been the only organization to put in any effort to ensure that those actively serving in the military get recognized. I do not know the working of the LMNG, nor do I know Cdr Poe, and have never been approached by anyone of the American Legion. But instead of putting people down and trying to publicly humiliate and outcast certain members of the community that have made a positive difference through an organization, why not work together to give the purpose of both groups a bigger and better outcome? If you can provide leadership to an organization they why not offer your help. Be a leader and show where improvement needs to be made, never put someone down for your gain. It would seem to me that someone or somewhere has lost focus on the purposes of both the Llano Military News Group and the American Legion. Both organizations were built for similar reasons, for our service members. To recognize our military sons and daughters of the community. It breaks my heart to know that a political uprising has emerged for whatever reasons you may have. But in the end who has this affected? Everyone has their options of the wars that we have entered, the direction this country has taken and where we as Americans will be in the next upcoming election. I would encourage everyone to put aside their differences for a moment and realize that it’s not about that. Those who have served and those whom are currently serving have and are doing what we do for our own reasons. None of those reasons was so that our own countrymen and home towns would argue and fight. Those affected by this argument are defending your right to settle your differences and come to agreements to serve those whom these great organizations were created for. No matter what your options are we all still have a job to do, and ours doesn’t stop. You can be against any war, or political party you want. The fact remains the military is natural when it comes to getting the job done.
These are just my thoughts about what has happened with the events that have taken place against the Llano Military News Group.
Juan Carlos Castelan