Part of Lake Sun's tribute to Veterans Day published Nov. 6.
Some high school students graduate and attend college without giving the future too much thought. Others find a way through college with a plan and future already set up for after graduation.
One Sunrise Beach man grew up in Milwakee, Wis. and when it came time to attend college after high school, he had to be creative since finances were tight at home. That was when he found an Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program which offered money for college and a stipend.
"Besides the money, it offered something exciting as far as being in the Navy and traveling and leadership opportunities that a young guy graduating from college could look forward to," John Albright said.
What started as a way to get through college turned into a nearly 30-year military experience. Albright spent 28 years in the Navy. Four years were active duty and the other 24 years were spent in the Navy reserves.
"Early leadership opportunities as a young Ensign and LTJG helped me to discover how to develop and build a sense of responsibility in others I was supervising. I learned that leading by example, and seeking out and accepting responsibility for me and my team was a way to succeed," Albright recalled. "I learned the importance of expressing genuine enthusiasm for a team project and quickly getting started on work and it seemed to filter down to the shipmates on my team."
Albright and his wife Suzanne were high school sweethearts that married soon after college graduation. During his time away in the Navy, he missed milestones in his young family's life such as the birth of his first born, a son.
"It's tough," he said of his time away, but recalled the feeling of getting that much needed handwritten note from his loved ones.
"It's like gold to receive a letter from your wife. It's very encouraging to be in touch," he said.
After completing four years of active duty, Albright began looking for a job and a place to settle his growing family. Due to the company's respect and honor shown to veterans, Albright joined Pfizer as a pharmaceutical sales representative while continuing his service in the Naval Reserve. He spent years with the company and eventually was promoted to the headquarters in New York City. During that time, he was extremely active in the reserves and was even promoted from Luetinent to Captain while in the reserves.
When it came time to retire, Albright knew that he wanted to be near water. After researching and visiting different areas, the Albrights picked Lake of the Ozarks. They began building a home and moved to the lake area in 2006. Both John and Suzanne remain very active in the lake community.
U.S. Navy Decorations, Medals, Commendations, and Campaign Ribbons Received
Listed in U.S. Navy Order of Precedence:
•Navy Commendation Medal
•Navy "E" Ribbon
•National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
•Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
•Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
•Humanitarian Service Medal
•Naval Reserve Sea Service Ribbon
•Navy and Marine Corps •Overseas Service Ribbon
•Armed Forces Reserve Medal
•Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
•Expert Rifleman Medal with Sharpshooter Device
•Expert Pistol Shot Medal with Sharpshooter Device