Whether you’re reading this before or after the Memorial Day holiday, we thought you’d be inspired by the two stories below of everyday heroes from the ARC Family.
First up is a story about an entrepreneur who joined ARC early in our history…
In Minnesota, Gary Marquardt started and built ERS to be a powerhouse in the reprographics industry. He and his company were well-respected and well-known throughout the industry and throughout the country.
So it was no surprise when ERS turned out to be a coveted organization when ARC was growing through acquisition in its early years. After continuing to grow and build ERS to be an influential and important part of ARC, Gary took a well-deserved retirement.
An avid watercolorist, a powerful story-teller, and a doting grandfather, many of us thought we knew most of what there was to know about Gary, until we received word last week of a new quest he embarked upon after his retirement; a quest to honor fallen soldiers.
In the late 1960’s, Gary had been classified 4F during the draft for Vietnam. He was unable to serve after collapsing at work from a bleeding ulcer. Missing the chance to serve his country had always bothered him, and the feeling followed him for a long time, well into his retirement.
One day he attended a soldier’s funeral and at the end of the service, he heard a recording of the familiar “Taps,” to honor the fallen man.
Gary thought he deserved better than a convenient recording of the musical elegy, so he went out and bought a bugle, determined to learn how to play it and give back a little of the sacrifice he was spared when he got a “pass” from the armed services.
Today, Gary searches out forgotten graves of soldiers in cemeteries wherever he goes. When he finds one, he stops, takes out his horn, speaks the name of the solider, and plays “Taps.” He leaves a penny on the gravestone to represent the pittance of his sacrifice compared to theirs.
Gary also plays at military funerals through a volunteer organization called “Bugles Across America,” and every evening at sunset from his lakeside deck outside Minneapolis.
Never too old to serve, Gary’s story is an inspiration to everyone who hears it.
If you’re interested to see and hear how Gary does it, click here for a local news story that outlines his efforts to give back something to those who have fallen.
Our second story is about our own Loven Leviste, senior internal auditor here in the Walnut Creek office.
While not about heroics to honor the fallen, it is a story about everyday American (and very human) values that inspire, bind us together, and make us proud.
Not long ago, Loven walked downtown at lunchtime to grab a bite.
Rather than wait at the restaurant for his meal to made, he decided to walk around the corner to the local Apple Store to pick up an item he’d ordered earlier.
Upon arriving, four people came running up and slipped into the store in front of him.
As Loven watched, the four did a “snatch and grab” of all the merchandise they could rip off from the tables in the store and headed back out the entrance again.
He says of his next actions, “It was pretty dumb because they could have had guns,” but Loven decided to try and do something about it.
So he held the door shut to try and trap the thieves in the store!
The man next to him attempted to do the same on his side of the entry, but with three of the criminals pushing against him, they overpowered him and were able to push through and escape.
Loven didn’t mention a thing to any of us here in the office…but someone had a camera and put up a film of the robbery on YouTube!
Like a lot of crimes, this happened very, very quickly, but if you watch the front of the store during the first 10 seconds of the video closely, you’ll see Loven bracing the door.
He says, “I didn’t think. I just did it”
But that makes us think that Loven’s hero!
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Remember to find your own hero and say thanks!