I chose to wear the bracelet of Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski for two reasons.
I was asked by a friend of the Toscylowski family to participate in a golf outing last year, honoring his memory and service to our country. I partnered with one of Montgomery County’s finest District Attorney’s, Bob Sander, and we had a great day on the “links” golfing in honor of this hero who lost his life in Iraq in 2005.
Fast forward to 9/11/08. Montgomery County PA held a memorial service for “9/11”, including the unveiling of banners to memorialize the servicemen and women who lost their lives in the Iraq war. Captain Jeffrey P. Toczylowski was one of those honored.
After a very emotional service, I was conversing with the former district attorney, Bruce L. Castor, Jr. and we happened to be standing under “Toz’s” banner. His family walked over to admire the banner, struck up a conversation with us and told us of Jeff’s commitment to our country and how proud they were of his service to our country. They shared that they missed him terribly, but that they believed that he was a hero, and that his death was not in vain.
I was a bit overwhelmed and blinked back tears as we spoke…they weren’t bitter, they weren’t angry…they were proud. Proud of their son/nephew and proud of our country.
Fast forward to the presidential debate last Friday. Watching another hero, John S. McCain rattle off the name of the serviceman whose Hero Bracelet he proudly wore on his wrist, like it was his own name, inspired me to purchase and wear one myself.
I chose Captain Jeffrey P. Toczylowski because I felt that I had at least a small but significant connection to the Toczylowski family and would be proud to wear his name on my wrist, as John McCain is proud to wear the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley.
I haven’t received my bracelets yet, but when I do, I will be gifting the second bracelet to Montgomery County (PA) Commissioner and former District Attorney, Bruce L. Castor, Jr., as he was there with me when I met the Toczylowski family on 9/11/08, and shared, in some way, the connection that I felt when they spoke so proudly of their “Hero”.