My dad, Robert (“Bob”) Heck, is my hero. My dad was a Marine and he fought in both World War II and in Korea. Dad never spoke much about his sacrifices or his injuries or the trauma he experienced from his service but he sure did share his patriotism and love of America with me and my two younger brothers!
The America Dad fought for in WWII and Korea has changed. Many of us who have served believe it has not changed for the better. I think my dad would agree. He would be disappointed and probably even disgusted to see the current loss of our freedoms for which he fought so hard to ensure, as well as the far left “wokeness” in our culture, not to mention the way in which CRT and other types of indoctrination have infiltrated our schools.
Dad was born in South Bend, Indiana on June 17, 1925. He was an only child. He joined the Marines during WWII and participated in five battlefield campaigns. During that time, he also became the Pacific Fleet (Navy) Heavyweight Boxing Champion. He received an engraved 40mm Shell Trophy from Lt. Gerald Ford, who would later become the 40th President of the United States.
After WWII, Dad went to Purdue University through the Officer’s Candidate Program. From this program, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. While at Purdue, Dad started first string in football for four years as an offensive end.
During Dad’s time at Purdue, he met my mom and married her shortly after they both graduated in 1948. Dad graduated from Purdue as a “Distinguished Student” with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and a Master’s Degree in History. He then went on to play in the Blue-Grey football game and was selected to play pro-football for the San Francisco 49ers. In addition to the 49ers, Dad also played for the Chicago Hornets and the Toronto Argonauts. While playing for the Argonauts, he was recalled to the Marine Corps at mid-season. He then played football for the Quantico Marines where he finished the season before being deployed to the Korean conflict in 1950. He and Mom transferred to San Diego Naval Base where she stayed, alone and far away from her family in Indiana, waiting for Dad to return from Korea. One night while fighting in Korea, a Chinese soldier attacked Dad in his fox hole. Dad survived that terrible night, which haunted him until the day he died. Unfortunately, the leg wound he received as well as shrapnel wounds to his hand ended his career in pro-football, the game he loved. His service in Korea earned him two Purple Hearts and a Letter of Commendation with Combat V for valor in action.
Dad was discharged from his beloved Marine Corps with the rank of Captain. He was later selected to play on the All-Star Marine Baseball Team against a Japanese team in Tokyo Stadium. Dad went on to play pro baseball in Yakima, WA after which he returned to Indiana to be the head coach at several Indiana high schools. Ultimately Dad took a job in Naples, FL as the Assistant Principal at the high school I attended.
Dad suffered from undiagnosed PTSD for many years as a result of what he experienced on the battlefield. Mom always said that when Dad returned from the war, he was never the same. To make matters worse, he was not diagnosed until I was well into my 40’s, at which time and after many, many struggles with the VA system, he was finally determined to have a 100% service-connected disability for both his seen and unseen wounds. No American who has served his or her country on the battlefield should have to return home only to fight again. Fight for what they have earned, as my dad and many of you have been forced to do, because of governmental incompetence and lack of caring for the sacrifices these military men and women have made to keep us free and safe. After his military career, Dad spent his entire professional life as a mentor for the many boys who he helped shape into young men through his coaching and teaching. Never was there a day when I was out with Dad in Naples, FL that some young man didn’t come up to him and say, “Coach Heck, how are you?” None of them ever knew about Dad’s struggles with PTSD or his other war injuries; they only knew he was a great guy who went above and beyond to help them learn the lessons of life — team work, sacrifice, love of family, God and country. Dad also helped many teenage boys get into college through all of his connections with college and professional football players and coaches.
Dad was a devout Catholic and attended mass and served the church until his final days. Dad put God first in his life, grateful for all the blessings he was given, including the woman he loved for almost 60 years, and his three sons.
Although I knew “The Marines’ Hymn” before I was out of diapers, it was not until I entered adulthood that I came to truly understand my dad’s selflessness and his deep and abiding patriotism in serving the country he loved. It was Dad’s deep love of family, the Marine Corps, and his comrades in arms that lead me to the decision to attend the United States Air Force Academy and play football for them. I graduated from the Academy in 1977 and accepted a commission for active duty into the United States Air Force at that time. I wanted to be like Dad and the other brave men and women with whom he served so proudly.
My dad, like many veterans, reservists, members of our National Guard, and active-duty military members and their families, sacrificed so much. My mom always stood by Dad during the difficult times in which he struggled as a result of both his seen and unseen wounds. Both of them possessed a great sense of honor, devotion to duty, love of their country and their children. My Dad’s example led me to serve on active duty for almost 23 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1998. It was one of my dad’s proudest moments to attend my military retirement. While on active duty, I found no finer Americans than those who served as my comrades in arms from the various services, with whom I was privileged to work and lead as we focused on America and Americans. As military people know, we always focus on mission first and producing successful outcomes.
What I learned from Dad was priceless. Dad was always quite critical of my studies and sports playing but, like most of us who have served, he lived the motto of only settling for excellence. I didn’t fully appreciate this until I served in the military. Dad’s moto, which my brothers and I heard and to which we’ve all abided as we grew up and throughout our adulthood, was “We never quit in our family!” Never quitting has allowed me to preserver and produce successful outcomes where others have given up the fight and failed. This has been one of my father’s greatest gifts to me.
Like most of us who have served in the military, we’ve learned the importance of supporting our fellow Americans who serve, as well as those who we serve and protect. We’ve also learned the importance of having goals and objectives. At the end of every operation, the military taught us to review lessons learned to ensure we would do things better next time. Those of us who have served learned to focus on common sense solutions that produce successful outcomes. It’s always about “mission first”. And almost without exception, those of us who have served always focus on doing the right things, even when it’s challenging, difficult or when others try to force us off that path. What’s wrong in America today could be easily fixed if the politically elite, who are currently running the show, understood the military ethos of service, sacrifice, patriotism, and striving for mission success and successful outcomes.
I am committed to ensuring that our military veterans and those who are currently serving are supported and taken care of well. No one who served or who is serving should have to wait for years, as my dad did, to receive the care they need for their wounds, both seen and unseen, and the hard earned benefits for which they and their families fought and sacrificed. As a veteran myself and as my dad’s son, I understand better than most, your sacrifice, including the demons many of you still fight, and most of all your selfless love of county and the love you have for your fellow Americans.
My comrades in arms, it is time to take back our state and our country from the tyranny and socialism that has crept into our way of life that we have all fought to preserve for our families and the generations to come. You and I, along with our families, have sacrificed much for our freedoms and our country. We cannot allow both to be stolen due to the ineptitude of the politically elite who have little regard for the sacrifices we have made to keep America safe and free. Most of the politically elite have celebrated the subtle and not-so-subtle changes they have ushered in to the country we love and they fail to understand how many of these changes have proven to be just as evil and dangerous as the enemies we have fought to defeat.
When I am elected your Governor, I intend to fix our misplaced priorities and broken system of government, such as our government’s ongoing and multiple blunders, loss of freedoms, spending that is out of control, inflation worse than we have ever seen, teaching CRT and Marxism in our schools rather that our American history and patriotism. But more dangerous is the politically elite who are currently in charge and whose focus is on keeping their jobs rather than doing their jobs. We need to return America’s focus to the commitment veterans and military members know far too well; that of America First and “mission accomplished”!
And most importantly, as every veteran and military member knows, we must ensure that those in elected office understand what we live by – to selflessly serve our nation, so every American can realize their American Dream!
The sacrifices our veterans and military members have made, like you and like my dad, shall not be made in vain when I am your Governor. We will take back our state and our country from the throws of Marxism and return our lost freedoms to our fellow Americans. We will work together to keep America and Nevada strong and free.
My military experience taught me what it’s like to work with the best of the best and has lead me to believe that given today’s political climate and failures, it will be our veterans and our military members as well as their families who will once again step up to ensure our freedoms are restored and our fellow Americans are able to pursue their dreams, unhindered by government over-reach and incompetence.
I am asking for your support and your vote to make me the NEXT Governor of the Great State of Nevada. I know that when military members and their families team together, we will take back our state from socialism and return our freedoms to those we serve, our fellow Americans.
I know the sacrifices our veterans, military members, and their families make every day in service to America. Finally, I want to thank all veterans for your service and your sacrifice to keep America free and strong. God Bless and God Speed!
Please Vote TOM HECK in the June 14th 2022, Republican Primary.
For more information, please go to www.ElectHeck.com or you can call me at 775-393-0500. I actually answer my phone and look forward to talking with you!