Norman W. Jolin enlisted in the Army in 1986. At Fort Bliss, Texas, he completed missile and artillery training to become a qualified member of the 8th Patriot Missile Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery.
The battalion deployed to Germany, where Jolin served for three years. He returned home to Maine in 1989 after sustaining a head injury. Denied the opportunity to rejoin his battalion in combat, Jolin joined the National Guard and served until his retirement from the service in 1993.
Disabled, Jolin’s dream of becoming a professional boxer were abruptly halted. He struggled to re-establish his life in Maine. Years later when he learned of various benefits offered to disabled Veterans. Life improved immensely, and he yearned for a new challenge. After hearing an old neighbor recount his adventures on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,190-mile trek that extends from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, Jolin knew he had found his challenge.
Upon informing his sister, Aline Love, of his goals, the duo founded My USA Veteran, an organization dedicated to honoring Veterans through his hiking of the Appalachian Trail. Veterans that sign up online will receive a virtual mile of the trail that they can “claim” after Norman has physically passed the mile marker.
Norman began his journey in Georgia on March 29, 2019, reaching the 600-mile marker on Memorial Day, May 27. On June 11, Norman’s pursuit was suspended due to injury, and he is currently recovering at home. In the meantime, My USA Veteran continues under his and Love’s leadership as they look to tackle the issue of Veteran homelessness.
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Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Writer: Paige Laughlin
Editor: Barbie Carranza
Graphic artist: Sarah Kowalewski