Army Staff Sgt. John Vetter was in social science class in his senior year at Lockport High School when the planes hit the Word Trade Towers on September 11, 2001
His reaction was immediate and decisive.
“I wanted to something better with my life. I wanted to serve and protect my country. This was the best way,” he said. He contacted a recruiter and enlisted. His current post is along the Hudson River where he serves with US Army Garrison West Point.
Back in high school, he didn’t really talk to anyone about his decision. He described it as a “self decision” he would never change.
Twenty years later, he has, traveled the world and learned transferable skills while serving in Germany and enduring some more difficult assignments in places like Iraq (two tours) and Afghanistan.
He married his high school sweetheart Laura and they have grown and traveled together.
The choice of Army over other branches was easy.
“The Army gave me the job I wanted. I didn’t do it for money or anything like that, it just seemed like the best fit for me,” he said.
Asked the advice he might give a student considering the service today, he answered sincerely.
“I would tell them, be sure you want to do it. It is a tough but fulfilling lifestyle. You will travel to places and meet people from all walks of life that you may never have had the opportunity to meet.
“You will learn skills that will last a lifetime. But it is a commitment that you have to be willing to give. You also have to find a balance between family and Army. It is a great decision, but one you have to be sure you want. It has given me everything I have and more,” he said.