Koby Langley, who directed veteran, wounded warrior, and military family engagement for the White House before overseeing services to the armed forces for the American Red Cross, stands before photos of his family members during his Got Your 6 Storytellers talk.
“The majority of the men and women that serve in uniform come from military families,” he says, gesturing to a black and white portrait of Felix Powel of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet in the 1950s, a picture of Dr. Kimberlyn Brown of the U.S. Army Medical Corps from the War in Afghanistan, and another of Langley himself, who served in Iraq. “That spirit of service that we give to our sons and daughters is critically important as we think about our national security needs in the future.”
In his talk, Langley describes how the same spirit of service that compelled every one of his family members to sign up for every major United States conflict since World War I remains upon the return home. “It shouldn’t be any surprise that communities are looking for us,” he says. “They want us to leverage the leadership skills that we learned overseas here in our communities at home.”
He zooms in on stories of specific veterans who put their leadership into action, mentioning initiatives like Hiring Our Heroes and Team Rubicon. Langley also speaks of Chris Marvin, founder and managing director of Got Your 6. “Chris flew helicopters. In Afghanistan, his Black Hawk crashed. He was stuck in the rubble, close to death. He suffered surgery after surgery after surgery when he came home,” Langley says.
One of the first things Marvin said to Langley when they first met was how he really wished people would stop thanking him for his service. “Don’t thank us for our service,” Langley explains. “When we come home, say ‘Welcome home. We still need you. Are you ready to serve again?’”