Thank You for Your Service

As we prepare to celebrate Veterans Day, my husband Nick and I look forward to a very special phone call that we get—a call from our oldest son, Nicholas, an active duty Air Force Captain.
Nicholas calls my husband, a 23-year Army and Desert Storm veteran, and my father, also a 23-year Army and Vietnam veteran, on Veterans Day. No matter where he is, if he can call, Nicholas does.

He gets it.
He understands the long days, sleepless nights, hardships, fear, loss, missed holidays and family
events, frequent moves, and the challenges that come with the calling to serve in our military
forces. He thanks his dad, and his PopPop for their service. 
Our beautiful family.

As with most veterans, Nick appreciates being recognized for his service, but frankly, he
would still be serving if he could. He loved it that much—all of it! The soldiers that he served with made ALL the "hard stuff" worth it, and the memories, relationships and experiences garnered
over his career are cherished. Being a military family, and having two Army "brats" are what we are most proud of!
When Nick was commissioned in 1981, I knew, being an Army brat myself, the challenges
that came with being a military family. Long separations and frequent uprooting, as well as living
overseas, were things that I experienced. What I guess we didn't know, and soon experienced, were the connections to others that made it all possible. When you are all “in the same boat," as the saying goes, you figure out ways to succeed and make the best of the situation, no matter how difficult or unfortunate. Those connections and that shared experience not only helped us in our military life, but they are invaluable as we navigate our life with MS.
Nick was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago. And although Nick can't put on his uniform anymore,
he takes the opportunity to engage with fellow veterans any chance he gets. He is "that guy"
at the VA hospital; who will strike up a conversation with anyone, and if you are wearing a hat that
designates your service affiliation, that is even better! He will listen to other veterans tell their stories all day, which is so important. As always, those military bonds run deep!
We have met numerous veterans with MS, and they inspire us and show us the possibilities and ways to navigate through the difficult times. We also find ways to celebrate successes and share information and resources. We value, nurture and seek out those relationships, because together we are stronger!
Nick has secondary progressive MS, and has no use of his legs, limited core strength and
struggles with most aspects of daily living. His military experience has proven to him that he has the guts, drive and resilience to get through each day, and the support that he gets from his family, military friends and MS friends certainly reinforce his courage in that daily fight. 
This Veterans Day, please keep all those who have served, and those who are currently serving, in
your thoughts and prayers. They are the reason for the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted; they have done so much and ask so little in return. And for our veterans dealing with challenges like MS; keep moving forward and know that you are not alone! And if you need someone to talk to, you can always reach out to us.

For resources and more information about veterans with multiple sclerosis, visit our website.
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Nick and Margee Mangus

Margee and Nick Mangus are college sweethearts and have been married for 36 years. Margee is a registered nurse, and Nick was Field Artillery. As a military family, they lived in Germany and numerous duty stations in the US, including Hawaii. They have two sons, Nicholas and Anthony, and a daughter-in-law, Clare. Family is top priority for them, and they get together often. They also enjoy exploring National Parks in their wheelchair accessible RV with their two schipperkes and are passionate Penn State fans.

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  • Lisa A McCombs   Nov 14, 2018 6:26 AM
    What a beautiful tribute to all warriors of both the military and the fight against the MonSter. thank you for your service.
  • Stephen Glaus   Nov 15, 2018 2:43 PM
    As a fellow veteran just recently diagnosed with MS - thank you for sharing your story and thank you and your family for all the sacrifices you’ve made for this country!
  • Susan Simmonds   Nov 15, 2018 4:02 PM
    I really enjoyed reading your blog Nick and would like to thank you for your service, without which, goodness knows what would happen?! I too have SPMS but best foot forward, ha ha. All the best to you and your family, Sue UK
  • Susan   Nov 15, 2018 10:55 PM
    Deep appreciation to you, Nick, and your beautiful family. God bless you all dearly and keep you safe ...🦋
  • Forrest Price   Nov 16, 2018 5:58 AM
    Thank you mr Nick for your service. Hope you are doing fine. Your story touched my heart, my wife was diagnosed with MS back in January she started treatment in March. She started getting numb on her right side back in 09 but doctors didn’t find anything in 2017 her vision got blurred in her right eye. Eye dr said she didn’t see anything wrong with her eye so she sent her to see a neurologist and they ran some tests and MRI showed lessons on her brain. We thought the worst when she was told she had MS, but Dr said she could start treatments. She goes once a month for treatments she’s doing fine and still working. We now know why she is always tired sometimes in bed by 7 o’clock but we are blessed we finally know what’s wrong with her and just pray
    Thank you again for you and your family’s sacrifices to serve our country may God bless you sir
    Hope y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving & a Merry Christmas
    Forrest & Dawn
  • Carole Angolano   Nov 18, 2018 9:45 AM
    Hello Nick and Margee!
    Happy Veteran's Day (a bit late)! Thank you for your service. I was a member of the Rhode Island Army National Guard for over 38 years and also a Federal technician for the RI guard. My employment as a Federal technician was contingent on my membership in the guard, where I was a CW5. I was diagnosed with RRMS in 2007. After being retained by the medical review board after diagnosis, I was thrilled to continue in the guard and at my full time employment. In 2013, I was scheduled to appear at the SRB which was conducted every 2 years. Prior to this date, I was always retained. The incoming Adjutant General decided I was no longer of any use to the guard, even though I was in the position of Command Chief Warrant for RI, had received my PhD in Information Technology Security, and had served 38 years in the guard, 32 years as a Federal technician, and needed just 18 months to retire at age 60, which was my ultimate goal. I was devastated. Being assigned to a headquarters unit, I would most likely never be deployed. I questioned the AG's decision, which he stated (before the SRB had been convened), I will not retain you; you have no combat patch. I honestly believe this was just an excuse, since he could not use my MS as I had been retained by Walter Reed hospital medical board. I understand that my situation is very different from yours as a national guard member, but I just wanted to share my experiences with you and the readers to make it clear that not everyone understands MS and how many people are able to continue their employment. One more note; I had just completed the MS 150 mile bike ride which proved I was capable of completing the APFT and all other requirements of membership in the guard. I appreciate you sharing your experiences and I wish you the best. I am currently a professor at at university in Newport, RI and an online professor at a university in Cypress, CA. Life does go on after the "uniform"! Happy Holidays!
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    golgotha  Dec 22, 2018 8:05 AM
    First, I mean no offense by this message, but I do think you should be aware of other viewpoints about military "service."

    I'm a veteran, eight years in US Army combat arms, disabled due to MS. I also am a former teacher and college professor, with my bachelors degree paid for by American taxpayers via the VA's vocational rehabilitation program. I've taught US and world history in public and private schools in the US.

    That background has given me a very different view of the US military and it's role in world affairs.

    Other than perhaps Afghanistan, I consider all of the US wars we're fighting to be wars of aggression on countries that never attacked us. They have nothing to do with our "freedom" or defending our country. US history abounds with such wars of aggression, and I agree the most decorated US Marine Corps general whose position was that US wars are fought primarily to seize overseas markets for American corporations and their wealthy stockholders. That view is distinctly different than what our government and mass media says, but it's also a view with strong arguments to support it.

    As someone who is frequently in VA hospitals and who sees the carnage of US wars, I am often mindlessly, robotically "thanked" for my service. I honestly feel I did not "serve" the American people, and every college degree including my doctorate has taught me that is the correct view, even though it may be a non-standard viewpoint.

    My response to such trite social pleasantries is to respond with a response popularized by Veteran's for Peace, a decades-old group of thousands of American veterans: "If you want to thank me for my service, work for peace."

    I feel that view not only reflects Christ's views towards violence and war and His specific instructions to every Christian, but it accurately reflects my personal experience in the military and war which started when US President Jimmy Carter issued me a combat load of ammo and ordered my 18 year old self on a plane to fly my unit out to invade Iran.

    As an American, you have the right to disagree with my views. But as I said, I just wanted to inform you of a different viewpoint of many veterans and our view of "warriors" (a term that glorifies war, very unlike the old terms "soldiers" or "GIs"), war and US foreign policies.