Rekindling the Veteran Spirit: Tom Harnes’ Path to Community Engagement and Leadership

Avatar HDYS | May 24, 2024

In this video, we meet Tom Harnes, a military veteran who shares his personal journey of transitioning from a life of service in the army to civilian life. Tom reflects on the challenges he faced and the valuable lessons he learned during his time in the military that continue to shape his outlook on life.

Tom joined the United States Army in 1992 as a satellite communications operator. His dedication and hard work saw him rise through the ranks, demonstrating a strong work ethic and commitment to his role. Serving during Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Tom experienced a moment that reinforced the importance of his service and the realization that every role in the military plays a crucial part. After leaving the military, Tom struggled to find a sense of purpose in the civilian world, longing for the camaraderie and values of teamwork, loyalty, and pride that defined his military experience. Through organizations like Team RWB and the American Legion, Tom found a way to reconnect with his veteran identity, channeling his passion for service into meaningful community activities like honor guard duties and honoring veterans. In his journey, Tom highlights the significance of embracing one’s military heritage and the impact that veterans can have in their communities, showcasing that every veteran’s contribution is valuable, regardless of their specific role in the armed forces.

The qualities of teamwork

In a world where the qualities of teamwork, cooperation, respect, loyalty, and pride are often undervalued, veterans stand out as beacons of these virtues. Their journey from military service to civilian life is often filled with challenges and transitions, but their dedication to serving their country and communities remains unwavering. Tom Harnes, a former United States Army veteran, embodies the essence of service, sacrifice, and community engagement. Through his story, we delve into the profound impact of embracing the veteran spirit beyond the uniform.

A Military Calling

Tom’s military journey began when he decided to join the United States Army in 1992, breaking away from his family’s Navy tradition. As a satellite communications operator, his service during Desert Storm in Saudi lasted six transformative months. Even before his military enlistment, Tom exhibited a disciplined nature, evident in his daily routines and commitment. The military not only challenged him physically but also instilled in him values of teamwork, perseverance, and dedication that would shape his future endeavors.

Service Beyond the Call of Duty

Transitioning to civilian life posed unexpected hurdles for Tom, mirroring the experiences of many veterans. Feeling disconnected from the teamwork and camaraderie he cherished in the military, he found solace in organizations like Team RWB that allowed him to rekindle his veteran identity. Embracing his role as a satellite communications operator and a proud veteran, Tom ventured into community service, particularly through the American Legion Honor Guard. His dedication to honoring fallen heroes and involving local communities in acts of remembrance showcases the enduring spirit of service instilled in him during his military days.

Fostering a Legacy of Service:

A pivotal moment during his service in South Korea underscored the importance of every role in the military and the profound impact of collective efforts. Tom’s commitment to recognizing and honoring all veterans, regardless of their specialized roles, drives him to engage with the wider community. Through initiatives like Honor Rees, he advocates for acknowledging the sacrifices of servicemen and women by speaking their names aloud, ensuring their legacy endures.

Community Engagement and Civic Duty

Tom’s journey goes beyond personal growth, extending to fostering a culture of pride, loyalty, and community service among his team in the civilian sphere. By instilling a sense of camaraderie, respect, and dedication in his work environment, he echoes the values of military service in everyday life. Recognizing the support and mentorship he received from non-military individuals, Tom underscores the importance of collective efforts in uplifting veterans and building stronger communities.

Championing Liberty and Love of Country

Tom’s reflections on liberty, life, and the pursuit of happiness underscore the essence of serving a greater cause. Through his advocacy for upholding freedoms and respecting the sacrifices made for those liberties, he embodies the spirit of a true patriot. Encouraging individuals to fight for their beliefs and actively serve their country and community, Tom exemplifies how the veteran spirit transcends boundaries and unites individuals in a common pursuit of a better world.

Embracing the Veteran Spirit

In embodying the values of service, sacrifice, and community engagement, Tom Harnes exemplifies the essence of the veteran spirit. His journey from military service to civilian life showcases the enduring impact of military training and values in shaping individuals as they navigate new roles and responsibilities. Through his dedication to honoring veterans, fostering a culture of teamwork and respect, and advocating for liberty and civic duty, Tom inspires others to embrace the veteran spirit within themselves and contribute positively to society.


Tom Harnes’ story serves as a testament to the transformative power of service, sacrifice, and community engagement. As we reflect on his journey from military enlistment to civilian life, we are reminded of the enduring legacy that veterans carry within them. By embracing the values instilled in them during their service, veterans like Tom continue to make a profound impact on their communities, enriching the lives of those around them. In honoring their commitment to teamwork, respect, and patriotism, we not only pay tribute to their sacrifices but also uphold the values that make our society thrive.