Veteran's Day Post script

Bookstore Jim helping cadets

Volunteerism is a way of life at the Academy.  It may start as a Freshman requirement but it eventually becomes a habit. It’s not just cadets that volunteer their non-existent free time. The staff do it too!

One volunteer example lives in the Follett bookstore and is the brainchild of the Jim Callan who started his relationship with the Academy as a neighbor.  “I chose to work at Mass Maritime because I wanted to share my life experiences, both personal and professional, with the cadets. I am an alumnus of Norwich University, built a very successful sales force and retired at age 50. My wife and I bought a house on the Cape Cod Canal seventeen years ago … six houses from the front gate of MMA,“ he reminisced.

The couple has enjoyed watching the cadets pass by their house and love to say that they never had children of their own but now they have over sixteen hundred of them! “I decided I wanted to work at the Academy because these young people are our future and in a small way I wanted to be a part of it. I tell everyone

they are the type of young people that you want to marry your son or daughter or be very proud of if they were your son or daughter,” Callan said.  So, for the past five years he has worked for Follett Corp, the company that runs the MMA Bookstore where is responsible for all the uniforms at the Academy.

Callan had planned to become a Marine but life had other plans for him.  The senior Callan had entered the U.S. Army as an infantryman at age sixteen and saw action against the Germans where he earned the Bronze Star and the equivalent of two Purple Hearts.  This spurred the younger Callan to become a lifelong advocate for veterans. This love eventually grew into his Bookstore Project, “Say Thank You to a Veteran.”

Today, Callan proudly displays his father’s medals and other wartime memorabilia in the bookstore along with some thank you cards and a list of suggested recipients. “We’ve sent over 250 cards to the Veteran’s Home. Currently, we are writing holiday cards to 2nd LT. Kyle Downing who is serving in S. Korea. He is a 2017 MMA graduate that I have known since he was a freshman here,” Callan reported.  According to him, every day is Veteran’s Day at the Academy. Making time to give back, is a healthy habit.

Jim welcomes folks to share their story, volunteer with the project, or send letters of thanks - he can be contacted directly at: jcallan@maritime.edu or next time you are on campus, stop in at the MMA Follett Book Store and ask for Jim!