Shining the Spotlight on Veteran Staff: Eric Reichstetter
For Eric Reichstetter, joining the maintenance department at the VFW National Home for Children felt a lot like coming home, because as a child, he lived at the National Home with his mother, two sisters, and brother. Growing up, Eric’s uncle, an Army veteran, was a strong mentor and father figure for him, and due to his influence, Eric decided early on that he was going to join the Army. He spent four years active duty as a Generator Technician stationed out of Ft. Eustis in Virginia, serving one tour overseas in Kuwait. After his contract was up, he did another four years as a reservist, out of Traverse City, Michigan, when he joined the Cherryland VFW Post #2780. Eventually, Eric returned to the Eaton Rapids area where many of his family is from. Though he moved a lot as a kid, Eaton Rapids and the National Home community always felt like home to him. When he was young, the National Home gave him stability and normalcy in his life, and when the opportunity to work there came up, he saw it as a chance to give back to all of those VFW members that made the National Home possible. His time spent at the Home was filled with many fond memories, trips to the VFW National Convention, where he sang in the National Home’s Children’s Choir and heard George W. Bush and Barack Obama speak. He fondly recalls his time spent on the Work Crew, participating in the 4-H program, and all of the fun summertime events that his family looked forward to. Now he spends his time looking after the grounds and buildings on the National Home’s campus, helping to preserve this little slice of Americana for the generations that follow him through the program. When he isn’t working, you can find Eric spending time with his wife and two-year-old daughter, or maybe playing Call of Duty or watching UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). There is a quote from Founding Father Samuel Adams that resonates strongly with Eric. ”Nil desperandum, — Never Despair. That is a motto for you and me. All are not dead; and where there is a spark of patriotic fire, we will rekindle it.” “Working at the National Home gives me the opportunity to rekindle those flames and continue the fight on the home front.” Says Eric.