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Editorial: November 2018

Thank you for your service


Josh Kramer, executive vice president and general manager, NDAREC

There is a long list of movies that I have been meaning to see, but I often lag behind when it comes to pop culture and the latest in cinema. Picking and viewing movies with my young family is a challenge. My wife and I quite often pass on family movie night fare, for fear of our kids acquiring alarming new additions to their vocabulary.

Seriously, I recently caught a movie that debuted last year called, “Thank You for Your Service.” I’m glad I did. As a veteran myself, I found it to be a powerful, sobering war drama that follows the lives, struggles and hardships of soldiers as they return home from the battlefield and attempt to integrate back into society. This movie is based on a book, and the main character is a North Dakotan named Adam Schumann. Adam is not only a hero for his bravery in combat, but also for allowing his personal story about the physical and mental scars of war to be told. His story sheds a very important light on how unprepared our society is to care for our soldiers, airmen and Marines when they return from tours of duty.

As I watched the movie, I grew angry thinking about my fellow veterans out there from multiple generations, wars and conflicts who needed help, but never received it. Many live in our communities – they are our neighbors, family and friends. As we observe Veterans Day, let’s all commit to doing more to help those who sacrificed so much. Let’s translate our words of thanks into action. Let’s be fierce advocates for policies, programs, services and organizations that support our men and women who wore a uniform. Let’s also be thankful for thousands volunteers and employees who have accepted the mission and work every day to care for veterans. Organizations like the Veterans Administration, the VFW, American Legion and other support networks out there that have taken on this honorable cause.

North Dakota’s electric cooperatives care about the veterans in our communities, and we aim to provide veterans with meaningful employment and support.

I want to close by pointing to an emerging program, the CoBank “No Barriers” Program for Rural Veterans. CoBank, a banking and financial services resource for cooperatives nationwide, is partnering with No Barriers USA to allow electric cooperatives to nominate veterans with disabilities to participate in one of four, five-day expeditions. This program provides an opportunity for participants to challenge their own limitations, both real and perceived, physical and mental. By successfully completing demanding activities like rafting, rock climbing and hiking, they become better-equipped to overcome the obstacles they face in their daily lives. By sharing the experience with other veterans with disabilities, they also build a network of support that can last a lifetime. Learn more about it at:

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727; email to