I get asked a lot from strangers and friends about my KIA bracelets. Most people really didn't know what they were and I guess people thought they didn't make them anymore. Well they do and I wear two for very different, yet very similar reasons.
The first KAI bracelet has more of a personal connection. Not because I knew him, but because he was someone who my brother remembers. My brother deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a Medevac Medic, and on 7 Aug 2012 his Blackhawk got the call of some injured Marines needing evacuation. HM2 Clayton Beauchamp was Navy but was with a Marine Regiment. He was injured when his patrol was struck with IED's. My brother was one of the medics to respond and he took Beauchamp in his helicopter, he sadly didn't make it home. When I told my brother I wanted a KAI bracelet but wasn't sure whose to get, Clayton Beauchamp was the first name he gave me. All my brother really said was he was helping his guys when he was injured, and that it was one of the hardest days his DUSTOFF group had experienced.
My other bracelet is more of an inspiration, to remind me of the person to be like. Jon Tumilson was a Navy Seal who was killed when Extortion 17 was shot down. I didn't know much about him until I read Service by Marcus Luttrell (good read, gave me a better understanding of what my brother went through) and every time he was mentioned it was nothing but great things. He was always willing to help others, was an amazing friend, man and SEAL, and he never quit. To me he is the definition of a hero. It's hard to explain why I decided to wear his name, but to me he is one of those people whose name should never be forgotten. I didn't know him, I've never met his friends or family but the more I found out about him the more I realized that I would love to be just a percentage of the person he was. This article describes it better, and I think after reading it you would totally understand why I would get a bracelet in honor of JT. http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/navy-seal-becomes-more-inspiring-his-after-life?page=single I think this quote from a fellow SEAL describes best what inspires me about him "But once he set a goal, there was no stopping him." I have always been one of those people that looked at my big dreams as being impossible something I would never achieve. It forces me to fight for what I want, I think its impossible to be a quitter or a complainer wearing his name. I wear his name because he is an example of what a good person is and who people should aspire to be like.
I look at both of these names everyday, not a day goes by that I don't see them shining at me. Wearing these reminds me how lucky I am to live in the United States, where people are willing to stand and fight in my place. It reminds me why I've worked so hard in school, reminds me that my dream of helping veterans is truly where I want to be. They push me to fight for that dream and that goal. I know those men sacrificed for me and I'm going to live my life to honor them and all those who paid the ultimate price.
They represent heroes.