Members of the Blue Jackets staff marched in the Veterans Day parade in downtown Columbus last Friday to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women in our armed forces.
Among the Blue Jackets participants were assistant coach Dan Hinote, television analyst Bill Davidge, and radio play-by-play man George Matthews.
Stinger was also in attendance on roller blades to represent the Blue Jackets and skate in the parade.
For Hinote, being a part of the parade provided an opportunity to commemorate a day that has special meaning to him.
Both his father and grandfather served in the military, and Hinote himself spent two years at United States Military Academy at West Point before being drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.
“It’s a very selfless job, and you don’t realize it,” Hinote told BlueJackets.com. “We’re a little bit far removed here sometimes, and then you sit down and talk with these people from the military and you get to know them, and you realize that they’re making family sacrifices and personal sacrifices.”
Hinote knows firsthand about the sacrifices made by military members for their country. His father served in the United States Coast Guard and also as a local police officer.
|Stinger poses with his friends during the Columbus Veterans Day parade. |
In addition to his relatives who served, many of Hinote’s former teammates from his playing days at West Point went on to serve overseas.
Hinote lost two former teammates in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and one of his former line mates lost his legs in a helicopter accident.
“These are my friends, my teammates,” Hinote said. “You end up forging really tight bonds, and they’re always going to have a special place in my heart.”
According to Hinote, these personal experiences help put things in perspective about what is really important.
“It helps you to appreciate what you have here, but it also makes you want to do more,” Hinote said.
Hinote said participating in the Veterans Day parade is a “humbling experience” that is just one way for him and the Blue Jackets to give back to the community and show appreciation for the members of the military.
“They’re so willing to do what they have to for their country, they never think of themselves first,” Hinote said.
“They work so hard, and they do these things for the greater good.”